Popular Los Angeles frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry is set to open a store at 2400 Telegraph this winter. Pinkberry will be entering an already crowded market in Berkeley where fro-yo, as it is commonly referred to, has taken off big time in recent years. The three most popular destinations seem to be Yogurt Park, Yogurtland, and Yogurt Harmony. With school out and the warmer months ahead of us, Berkeleyside decided to some some taste-testing.
Yogurt Park: Yogurt Park’s longevity (it opened in 1977) and proximity to the Cal campus make it the stalwart of the Berkeley frozen yogurt scene. There are six flavors on the menu, four of which change daily, and range from the ubiquitous (strawberry) to the more adventurous (red velvet cake batter). Chocolate and Vanilla are permanent features.
Unlimited free tastes are an added bonus. Staffers dish out the creamy stuff and mix in toppings for you, adding a more personal feel to the experience. Though there are fewer outlandish toppings to choose from than at Yogurtland, portions are generous. The cookie dough topping is a must.
A major pitfall of Yogurt Park is the lack of space. There are a few park benches inside, but on a busy evening, there is little choice but to grab your yogurt and head outside to slurp and walk. The mini size is enough yogurt for almost anyone, and costs $2.75. A generous topping is 40 cents extra. Yogurt Park also closes the latest of the three, an added bonus if you are looking for a midnight study break. Yogurt Park, 2433 Durant Avenue, Monday-Sunday 11 am to 12 am.
Yogurtland: Admittedly, this west coast chain and newcomer to the Berkeley scene is fun. Grab a big container from the dispenser and pull the handles yourself to make any combination of flavors you want. Then, follow the line (there always seems to be one) past the case of dozens of toppings, and mix in anything you can imagine.
Proceed to the cash register, and weigh your creation. At 30 cents an ounce, the average order usually comes out between $3.00-$4.00.
There are about a dozen rotating flavors to choose from, including plain tart, chocolate, green tea, and tart peach. Free tastes are available, but ask an employee for a taster cup.
The quality of the yogurt itself varies wildly depending on the day, and is not nearly as creamy as Yogurt Park’s product. Toppings range from sprinkles to sugary cereals and fresh fruit. The Shattuck location has more seating and shorter lines than its Bancroft counterpart. Yogurtland, 2516 Bancroft Way and 2236 Shattuck Avenue, Sunday-Thursday 11 am to 11 pm; Friday-Saturday 11 am to 11:30 pm. [Photo: Kristel Yoneda.]
Yogurt Harmony: Located just across the street from the Shattuck Ave. location of Yogurtland and the least talked about of the three major fro-yo joints in Berkeley, Yogurt Harmony always has an organic flavor on the menu, something the other two can’t boast. In addition, the tart frozen yogurt here is the best anywhere.
The toppings consist of mostly fruit, and if that is what you are in the mood for, Yogurt Harmony has the freshest and the widest selection. Yogurt Harmony offers four flavors each day, and one is always their signature plain tart.
Board games are available to play while you eat out of compostable bowls, and there are more than enough tables for every customer to find a seat. The portions, however, are significantly smaller, and a serving is more expensive than at Yogurt Park or Yogurtland. Yogurt Harmony, 2259 Shattuck Avenue, Monday-Thursday 11:30 am to 10:00 pm; Friday-Saturday 11:30 am to 11:00 pm; Sunday 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm.