The yogurt brand that convinced Americans they needed crushed Oreos, raspberries, granola, mochi and gummy bears on their frozen yogurt has landed in Montreal.
The chain has surfaced inside of five Second Cup locations. Most are in the suburbs (Laval, Pointe-Claire, Sainte-Julie, and Saint-Bruno) with two in the city proper, one at Van Horne and Victoria in Côte-des-Neiges and another outside the Faubourg Ste-Catherine downtown, near Guy and Sainte-Catherine. The premise is that customers pick a yogurt flavour, and then dump a pile of toppings on it, including fruit, nuts, and candy.
Pinkberry was founded in West Hollywood, Los Angeles in 2005, and could be considered something of a pioneer of mass-market frozen yogurt, but at the rather specific 2005 to 2010 period when frozen yogurt was much trendier. The chain has had minimal presence in Canada — it’s perhaps better known for its bit parts in HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, most notably as the setting for a Larry David meltdown over customers cutting in line.
In its early days it faced various scandals, most notably one wherein it was revealed that the chain’s frozen yogurt did not actually meet the California Department of Food and Agriculture standards for yogurt. (That was rectified, and Pinkberry’s product is now officially “yogurt”.)
Perhaps unbeknownst to some, Pinkberry is now part of a Canadian company — in 2016, Montreal operator of fast food restaurants MTY Group bought the fro-yo purveyor but has taken its time establishing stores within Canada. The same company owns a hefty number of predominantly Canadian chains, from Thai Express to sandwich chain Dagwoods and the more formal restaurant Bâton Rouge. As one Eater tipster notes, the company is even competing with itself by opening Pinkberry locations, as it already owns fro-yo chain TCBY, though it has just one location in Montreal.