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* Pinkberry - Marina Del Rey *

w
WandererLA Mar 28, 2007 02:23 PM

I finally went to the new Pinkberry in MDR which is near my office. This would be my 6th Pinkberry that I have been to. Overall, I can say that I was very disappointed with my visit.

The place is tiny. There is only one table inside and it was occupied by this employee and 3 of his female friend. While I waited in line, I did notice that same employee went to the back and made several Large Yogurts and he gave it to his friends (I know they didn't pay for it because they were surprised).

Anyways, there is two lines, first you get in line to pay. Most people in line today were newbies and didn' t know what to order. So that slowed down the line.

After ordering, you cram into this second line to wait for this one employee to make the yougurts. The other employee was most likely on his break.

Anyways, the medium yogurt seemed smaller than I usually recall. I noticed the employee did not scoop fruit into my cup but rather he used a tong and was counting how many pieces of fruit he put into my medium order. I counted 7 blackberries and 15 blueberries. He did scoop in my mocchi which was nice. Well when he was done, he slammed my yogurt on the counter so the few toppings that I had fell on the counter. I asked, do you have any dry green tea power? "No".

Oh well.

Anyways, I think I'll drive a bit futher to try out the one on Sawtelle. I don't think I'll go back to the MDR because of the skimpiness with the topping and the tight location.

  1. r
    raconteuse Oct 23, 2007 05:11 PM

    I just went to the Marina Del Rey Pinkberry - my first visit to any of their locations. I was skeptical given the unfavorable reviews above, but it was just a block from my hotel and I am a *big* fan of old-school tangy frozen yogurt.

    The line was okay when I got there - about six people in front of me, and it moved quickly even though, as mentioned, it's near impossible to see what's in the toppings section before you get to the front. The workers were in their 'teens, and not friendly or unfriendly. I ordered a medium plain yogurt with kiwi, mangoes and pineapple and it was ready in about two minutes. The size seemed generous enough, and you'll be happy to learn that they are scooping the toppings now! They were so liberal that the toppings were actually overflowing.

    The fruit and yogurt were both quite good, and I'd polished it off within the one-block walk home. Still, $5 for frozen yogurt is not within my budget on a regular basis. I prefer to visit Shy Giant frozen yogurt where I live: Seattle. Or make it myself with Nancy's plain yogurt and sugar (so simple and inexpensive and TART).

    For anyone who hasn't experienced Pinkberry, I'd say give it a shot if it's convenient. Otherwise, there are plennnty of knockoffs, including in Seattle, that taste about the same.

    1. l
      LisaStitch May 21, 2007 06:11 PM

      I live across the street from this Pinkberry and finally got around to it this weekend. Like entering an odd dimension with the weird happy music and the display of cute little kitchen supplies they have for sale. Very small place, and this was my first time at any Pinkberry, so I don't really have anything to comapre it to.

      I do think they should have the toppings on a menu near the door for people to look at, so you don't just have to decide when you get to the counter. Kind of like how Chipotle has little menus to look at while you wait in line so you know what to order... Then newbies like me wouldn't hold up the line :)

      I was surprised their toppings were so limited - no raisins, flaxseed, peanuts, anything interesting... I got just fruit toppings and the guy did use the tongs, but I think I ended up with a very fair proportion of fruit to fro-yo.

      I guess since you have been, they now have a little shaker of green tea powder on the counter for anyone to use.

      I don't think I will go back though, I'm just not a fro-yo fan.

      1. a
        adrocky Apr 11, 2007 05:49 PM

        I know which guy you're talking about. He's really miserly with the toppings. I got banana as one of my three toppings one time, and he gave me three half slices. It probably amounted to about a tenth of a cent worth of banana. I was kinda pissed. There's a girl there that is more generous with the toppings.

        1. e
          emilymm Mar 29, 2007 04:59 PM

          I was disappointed to find out that the one on Sawtelle and Olympic charges $2 for parking if you're more than 15 min. And theres never parking in the little lot and the line is usually longer than 15 minutes.
          Why do they keep putting a new pinkberry in areas where parking sucks?

          12 Replies
          1. re: emilymm
            b
            bulavinaka Mar 29, 2007 09:50 PM

            It seems two schools of thought have formed about this. One is that they choose areas where there is a higher degree of foot traffic, which usually means that parking is going to be tight. The other school of thought is they are trying to create a scene, with all the cars circling around creating havoc. I think it may be a combination of both, but lean a little more towards the second one. The Marina store isn't in a high foot traffic area, but parking is horrible at this strip mall.

            1. re: bulavinaka
              Pei Mar 30, 2007 01:23 PM

              Yeah, the Olympic Collection on Sawtelle isn't exactly high foot traffic either.

              However, it is close enough to the other strip malls on Sawtelle, and to Beard Papa's next to Nijiya, that a lot of people are doing two dessert stops in one trip. We saw many Beard Papa's boxes waiting in line at Pinkberry!

              1. re: Pei
                b
                bulavinaka Mar 30, 2007 05:03 PM

                I'm still on the fence about Beard Papa and their whole perceived business plan... I've gone back and forth on them over the past half year, but all in all, they seem to constantly create negative buzz from many, but are defended by their staunch supporters...

                You may have caught a piece onKCRW's "Good Food," about a month ago... the interviewee made a statement that in my mind perfectly sums this phenomenon up: "As Yogi Berra once said, 'Nobody goes there - it's too crowded!'"

                1. re: kevinucla2000
                  s
                  spicychow Apr 12, 2007 09:34 PM

                  I tried the one in Jtown, and Pinkberry is definitely better. If you liked it there, I think you'll love Pinkberry.

                  Too bad the portions are getting smaller. I've noticed that too... at both MDR and Sawtelle locations.

                  1. re: spicychow
                    b
                    bulavinaka Apr 12, 2007 10:00 PM

                    They always have seemed to play this game of leaving one feel like they've been short-changed at PB...But this time, I strongly feel that it is because they are now feeling the severe wrenching cramp of growing pains... If they can spread out a gallon of yogurt mix or the slices from one banana amongst 2x customers instead of the usual x, and multiply this by the number of bananas they go through in one day, times the number of units they currently have operating... you get the idea.

                    The costs involved in stepping up from one store to a few more is pretty steep. The next step up to multiple stores around town is astronomical in comparison. Just securing funding from either venture capitalists or commercial banks can have upfront costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars - and that is before even getting one cent from any of these traditional sources. PB is feeling the squeeze - that's why you folks are as well...

                    1. re: bulavinaka
                      ronnie_gaucho Apr 12, 2007 10:17 PM

                      Wow...what a joke...I passed by MDR PB at 930 pm tonight... It had to be 47 degrees out plus wind chill...20 people in Line????

                      Really starting to get fed up with Pinkberry

                      1. re: ronnie_gaucho
                        b
                        bulavinaka Apr 12, 2007 10:25 PM

                        I've been there a couple of times around 1830-1900 with just one or two in line... probably dinner time for most... I've felt fed up with PB for a long time, but there is at least one young lady at this location who is very polite, helpful, and not so tight-handed on the toppings...

                        As others have suggested though, if you're a regular, maximize your dollars by only getting the froyo - get your own toppings at the market.

                      2. re: bulavinaka
                        s
                        spicychow Apr 12, 2007 10:24 PM

                        I agree with what you're saying... and they sure are popping up everywhere.

                        But PB is a franchise business, so each location is owned by individuals. They do pay franchise fee and a certain percentage of the profits, but they're not all owned by the same corporation. (my friend applied for a franchise a while back) So I'd think they're not feeling the heavy squeeze, but not sure since I'm not too positive about how these things work.

                        I'm sure they do have to follow universal rules. I often see them weighing out each serving to make sure the portions are consistent.

                        Oh well, I guess we'll soon find out if it's here to stay or just a fad... like boba juices.

                      3. re: spicychow
                        p
                        phant0omx May 21, 2007 08:52 PM

                        is the pb in jtown open yet?

                        1. re: phant0omx
                          b
                          bulavinaka May 21, 2007 11:06 PM

                          Not as of two weekends ago... the windows were still covered up... They're directly across the street from Fiore... The duel is soon to begin...

                          1. re: phant0omx
                            b
                            Bite Me May 22, 2007 03:23 AM

                            what is "jtown"?

                            1. re: Bite Me
                              b
                              bulavinaka May 22, 2007 06:41 AM

                              Jtown = JapaneseTown = Little Tokyo. Those that are close to this community, whether geographically, socially, or culturally, often call it Jtown... The term has been in use since at least the 70s but the jazz fusion group, Hiroshima, made the term popular with the song, "Cruisin' JTown." It's easier to say as well...

                2. chickenskin Mar 28, 2007 10:00 PM

                  I love the fact that frozen yogurt is this huge in California, I wouldn't want to rile any of ya'll but is the pinkberry that good? I get the take I might like it...will I drink less?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chickenskin
                    westsidegal Mar 29, 2007 01:50 PM

                    ya might drink less kefir. . . . .

                    1. re: westsidegal
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                      pkittie Mar 29, 2007 02:41 PM

                      I remember back in the 70's in Chicago, there was a thing called Frogurt (frozen yogurt). It was all soft serve cones and I LOVED it. I guess it was pretty advanced for it's time. Then in the 80's, in Berkeley, there was Humphrey Yogurt's. They served-you guessed it- frozen yogurt with a billion toppings. Cheap as hell.

                      The West Hollywood Pinkberry (the original one that started it all) used to give gigantic helpings of fruit, now they're pretty stingy. There is a frozen ice cream/yogurt place across the way on Santa Monica (used to be called the Cultured Cow, but now it's something like Angela's) serves just as delish stuff and it's less expensive. Doesn't have the neat decor though.

                  2. f
                    Frank_Santa_Monica Mar 28, 2007 08:19 PM

                    Well, guess what.
                    Pinkberry is opening 2 locations in Santa Monica: 3rd St. Promenade and on Main St.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica
                      e
                      emilymm Mar 29, 2007 04:57 PM

                      Also opening up one in the Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. Although I am a pinkberry fan, I was disappointed to find that out because I like how Farmers Market has mostly independent eateries.

                    2. a
                      allisonteal Mar 28, 2007 04:22 PM

                      I totally agree!! You should try Yoku Yoku on Sepulveda and Palms in the old Penguin's location - I think its better than Pinkberry and they aren't stingy with the servings!! Better yet go to Mondo Gelato on Pico and Westwood - super cheap and super huge servings!!

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: allisonteal
                        j
                        jenjunum Mar 28, 2007 05:39 PM

                        Westwood branch is also skimpy with toppings. They use the same tongs. 95 cents each and I got 4 raspberries and 8 blackberries. no seating inside.

                        1. re: allisonteal
                          b
                          bulavinaka Mar 28, 2007 08:03 PM

                          I enjoy both places as well... but I don't know if those addicted to Crackberry will find either tart or icey enough...

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            westsidegal Mar 28, 2007 08:39 PM

                            i recommend that you try the RED MANGO brand of korean frozen yogurt that they serve in the CALIFORNIA ROLL place on westwood blvd.

                            to me it tastes just as good as pinkberry at a fraction of the cost.
                            they price by the ounce, including the toppings.
                            what a delicious bargain.

                            1834 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 310.446.8070

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              b
                              bulavinaka Mar 28, 2007 09:03 PM

                              I've heard about this froyo, but to be frank, I prefer a smoother consistancy and something that is not so tart - at least during the cooler monthes. Who knows, when things start to warm up around here, tart and icey will hit the spot, and then I will have to give Red Mango a try... And I would venture to guess that the service would have to be better... just when I thought things were getting better at Pinkberry, more posters get slung with attitude pies again...

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                westsidegal Mar 28, 2007 09:48 PM

                                for the smooth/sweet/not tart yogurt, i like the stuff they serve at souplantation in the marina, the chocolate flavor.
                                unfortunately, i believe that they won't sell it separately --i think you need to pay for the full dinner.

                                1. re: westsidegal
                                  b
                                  bulavinaka Mar 28, 2007 10:02 PM

                                  Don't know - but we load up on it when eating there... use the soup bowls, and grab the cookies or "chocolate bread" as a base or embellishment in the bowl, then go to the dessert counter and have at it...

                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                    westsidegal Mar 29, 2007 01:45 PM

                                    we share the same method!

                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                      b
                                      bulavinaka Mar 29, 2007 09:51 PM

                                      One of life's golden rings that is within reach from this merry-go-round!

                              2. re: westsidegal
                                Pei Mar 29, 2007 08:51 AM

                                Red Mango prices keep going up, I feel. Now it's almost as much as Pinkberry, and they're very stingy with the toppings. Not a bargain anymore, as much as I like it.

                                Mondo Gelato is definitely the bargain. Look at all this yogurt for $3: as much as a Pinkberry medium, maybe more. http://www.chezpei.com/2007/03/mondo-...

                                1. re: Pei
                                  westsidegal Mar 29, 2007 01:48 PM

                                  my daughter and i went to red mango yesterday.
                                  we had raspberries, strawberries, and mango as our toppings.
                                  we definitley had larger portions than we get at pinkberry AND we got out of there paying MUCH less than we normally pay at pinkberry for their medium w/ three toppings.

                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                    Pei Mar 29, 2007 06:42 PM

                                    I feel like every time I go the portions shrink. Maybe it's just that they're inconsistent? My friend also got the feeling at Sawtelle Pinkberry that they're making portions a tad bigger to fend off complaints. So maybe some combination of the two is messing with my brain! I'm glad you and your daughter had a good time at Red Mango. I do like their yogurt a lot.

                                    1. re: Pei
                                      c
                                      chen36387 Apr 23, 2007 10:54 PM

                                      i think cefiore yogurt has bigger portion because they use bigger cups and use spoons for their toppings. i notice pinkberry is very skimpy with their toppings and counts every berry they put into it.

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