Atlanta Dining

A New Swirl in Town

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Swirlers at Pinkberry are trained in creating the perfect swirl so yours will look just as pretty. Until that first bite.

I’d been told that people are passionate about Pinkberry. But to stand in line for an hour and a half in the heat for a free scoop? Well that’s what they were doing for hours last night at the opening of Atlanta’s first Pinkberry location.

Less than five years ago, the folks at Pinkberry set out to sell their proprietary formula of premium frozen yogurt with fresh-fruit toppings. Now with locations across the country, the company has attracted legions of fans. Lots of celebrities have jumped on the Pinkberry bandwagon including Rob Lowe, Simon Crowell and Megan Fox who celebrated her birthday there.

I’ve been way in the loop with the whole Pinkberry explosion as my daughter got a job there for the summer. A recent graduate of Duke, she is heading to DC as a Star Fellow with Running Start in the fall. But faced with the double whammy news that the parental bank has now closed and that I need help around the house with such fun activities as refrigerator and attic cleaning, she immediately sought outside employment.

Nope, that's not a line for the iPhone. Crowds patiently waited their turn for a free scoop of Pinkberry last night at the grand opening of Atlanta's first location.

But a job is not so easy to come by these days – she said that Pinkberry received more than one thousand applications to be a swirler at new location. After filling out an application, providing three references, and making it through a two-hour audition, she got the job.

“Who would have thought it was more competitive to get a job at Pinkberry than to get into Duke?” she said.

After 20 hours of training during which she learned how to greet customers properly, cut up fruit and work the cash register (where the job title is Last Impressionist,) she was ready for the Grand Opening last night.

We’d received invites to the VIP tent so were able to bypass the long lines and sip champagne along with our Pinkberry samples. My son opted for pomegranate yogurt smothered with Cap’n Crunch cereal. Earlier that day he had a vanilla milkshake from OK Cafe that he declared was “like getting a hug from God.” So after enjoying the pomegranate Pinkberry, he declared June 24, 2010 as the best food day ever.

I tried the original, the mango and a bite of the coconut. All the flavors were creamy and delicious and I had fun checking out the various toppings, which ranged from delicious, fresh seasonal fruit to chocolate chips and gummi bears. This was our only chance for free Pinkberry – My daughter has warned us that no freebies are allowed for friends and family. Apparently there is not even a “she-gave-birth-to-me” clause for just a few additional raspberries.

Here’s a fun fact: the owner of this location is David Beall, whose family owns and operates the exclusive Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, where I spent two glorious days on my last anniversary. His family has a history in the food business – his parents founded Ruby Tuesday.

The new location is at Akers Mill Shopping Center, close to Cumberland Mall and just up from Parkway Pointe. Don’t look for lines to be short any time soon, but you’ll want to make your way up for your own taste. In addition to perfectly swirled cups, Pinkberry is available in cones, called One-Handed Pinkberrys, and smoothies.

Here are a few deals to check out:

• Download the Foursquare app, check in at Pinkberry and get 10% off

• Go during Happy Hour, 5-7 PM, and get half price

Check out the fun website where you hear the Pinkberry song. Soon be singing along: “Sorry, ice cream, I’m on my way to Pinkberry.”

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