Way back in 2005, SoCal socialites were raving about their ‘Crackberry’ adoration for Pinkberry. A year later we were living in Seoul enjoying South Korea’s über popular Red Mango (read our experience here) frozen yogurt. I remember thinking (as is the general consensus) that the company seemed like a copycat of the famous American Pinkberry craze.
In reality, Pinkberry, founded in 2005 by Korean-Americans in California, is the real copycat in this dessert game: Red Mango‘s first location opened in Seoul in 2003. However, others claim both chains are actually knock-offs of Iceberry, a South Korean patbingsu dessert chain.
Situated in the historic Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, this Pinkberry location is in the Hard Rock Hotel building. Incidentally, one of the Nobu restaurants (their Malibu location was made-famous-by-celebrities) is also at the Hard Rock.
Since this particular location was quite small, it didn’t provide a lot of seating. The tables that were available were mod bright white, and the interior had a funky fresh green color scheme. Upon entering, we stepped onto their pebble flooring, which was quite unique and reminded me of being on a rocky beach.
This was our very first Pinkberry experience. Unlike similar shops that charge by weight, Pinkberry charged by cup size: mini/ small/ medium/ large, and by either original or flavored (seasonal varieties of mango, lychee, chocolate, and pomegranate) frozen yogurt. Their wide selection of “never frozen, cut daily fresh fruit”, candies, cake bits, cereals, nuts, chocolates, seeds, cookie bits, flakes, etc. were impressive. We ordered their signature, original flavor frozen yogurt – tart, sweet and tangy. Compared to Red Mango’s strong ‘yogurty’ taste, this fro-yo’s flavor was more subtle.
Overall, the shop was very clean, cashiers were exceptionally helpful and friendly, and this Pinkberry was the perfect location to grab some fro-yo and wander the lovely streets of the Gaslamp Quarter.