It’s about time I did a post on all the Pinkberry knockoff’s that have sprung up in DC. and now that summer is in full swing I thought now would be good. I’m a huge Pinkberry fan, as my regular readers know. In the past year DC has been inundated with every tangy yogurt place possible EXCEPT Pinkberry, the original (or as some may argue Red Mango came fist, but whatever).
For everyone who has been on Mars for the past few years, the first Pinkberry opened in January 2005 in LA. The tangy frozen yogurt (at only 70 calories per 1/2 cup) soon attracted a cult following and the Korean-American owners began to expand around LA and then NYC. They now have 72 locations total, mostly in CA, but there are 13 in NYC.
Marc wanted to open one in DC, but Pinkberry said no (he emailed them and they emailed back). Unfortunately before Marc could just start his own TangySweet came on the scene. Their initial website literally ripped pictures off Pinkberry’s website. It tasted exactly the same, but when I met the owner on opening day and compared his product to Pinkberry he got angry, “WE ARE NOT PINKBERRY” he firmly asserted. Oh really? You don’t want to be anything like Pinkberry? Those pictures on your website look pretty PB to me, so does the store, the toppings, the (just see my review below)…
So readers, here are my humble opinions of the Pinkberry wannabe’s in the District!
Sweet Green: This salad place opened by some Georgetown Grads whose Daddy’s gave them money to start a business was the first place in DC to serve up tangy fro-yo. Their “sweetflow” as they call it is 80 calories per 1/2 cup and is much more tangy (or tart) than Pinkberry is and they only have one flavor. A small is $4 and a large is $6. They automatically come with 3 toppings and extra toppings are $.50. They have your general topping choices, but no mochi (almost marshmallow like balls, my fave topping). Fortunately their Daddy’s made sound business decisions when giving them money to start the place. Their salads are great too and they now have three locations in the area: Georgetown, Dupont and Bethesda. I like how they actually tried to be a little different than Pinkberry and made salads the focus, rather than the yogurt.
TangySweet: Even though Sweetgreen beat them to the yogurt punch, Tangy was the first all-yogurt place to open in the district. Though they claim to not be like Pinkberry EVERYTHING about the place screams it. I guess their recipe is more like the original Korean recipe that started it all (says the owner), but it tastes just like Pinkberry to me, right down to the topping offerings and the decor. Really, if you are looking for Pinkberry in DC, Tangy comes the closest. They have 3 flavors: original, green tea and pomegranate, a plethora of toppings, including mochi, as well as smoothies. Their prices aren’t online, but I remember them being just about the same as Pinkberry’s (surprise, surprise). They have two locations, Dupont and Penn Quarter.
My. Yogato: This guy sprang up right after TangySweet, on 17th street in the heart of the gayborhood. The lines were out the door at first, but their allure soon faded. They have a catchy website and ask you trivia questions in line (or at least they used to). What sets them apart is their flavor offerings. Every day they have tangy and sweet original options and then one or two weekly flavors, all with weird names, such as Kiramel (Caramel) and Razbellie (raspberry). Honestly guys, your names are weird and so is your concept. I guess they are trying to set themselves apart, but come on all the places are mostly the same. That said the one time I went the yogurt was good. I had original tangy and sampled a flavor, toppings were standard and included mochi. As far as prices, they charge $1 for one topping and $1.75 for two, but the base prices are a bit cheaper than say Tangy, so all in all their prices are in line with the competition.
Iceberry: This is the place I’ve been to the most because it’s somewhat near my office, in Georgetown. The yogurt is a little icier than Pinkberry, but still great. They have mochi and all your other standard toppings, as well as smoothies. It is the priciest of the bunch at $6.75 for a medium with three toppings, but they do have some good flavors, such as Honeydew (which tastes great mixed with original). If you’re in Georgetown it’s a great spot. I think I like it better than SweetGreen just because it is a little sweeter, but if you like tangy then head up the street.
Cali Yogurt: This place opened in January right on 18th street in the heart of Adams Morgan. They got the tangy/sweet combo just right. Their website is semi ghetto and still under construction even though they’ve been open for over 6 months now, but just go if you’re in the neighborhood. Prices are the same as the others. I like their atmosphere the best of any of the places in DC. Large, plenty of seating and not cramped feeling like Mr. Yogato and Iceberry can be!
Ghetto Place in the Asian Market on Columbia Rd: One day I was walking down Columbia Road and noticed a “yogurt” place had opened in a corner of the Asian Market at Columbia and Biltmore St (like literally inside the market). I have yet to try it, but their prices are super low. However, I have no idea what it tastes like and am not even sure if it has an actual name. If anyone has been let us know in the comments section.
Bardo informed me I needed to rank the places in order of favorites, these are my personal opinions based on taste (I prefer it on the less tangy side) so here we go:
3) Mr. Yogato
4) Cali Yogurt
6) Ghetto place on Columbia (since I’ve never tried it)