I’m in New York City on business for a few days this week. Somehow all of my meetings worked out to be staggered perfectly around each meal time on a single day. It was positively gorgeous outside, so I walked about 60 blocks throughout lower Manhattan to get to each meeting. My second-to-last meeting was with the nice folks from Chobani and it timed out perfectly for a post-lunch dessert / mid-day snack.
“A first-of-its-kind Mediterranean yogurt bar in NYC’s SoHo neighborhood- this is @chobani like you’ve never had it before,” is how the @ChobaniSoHo Twitter page describes itself. It’s dead on. I was invited to meet the Chobani team at their six-week-old yogurt bar. I’m a total Chobani fanboy; a significant part of my grocery budget goes to their Greek yogurt. So of course I’ll meet you there!
The shop is nestled on the corner of a likable street in SoHo, just a few blocks from the brand’s NYC office. It’s got all the allure of most fro-yo shops, except this isn’t frozen. Barely. They say they keep the yogurt chilled to about 34 degrees, where grocery stores only manage about 41 degrees.
Since we eat with our eyes, the bright LED board displaying their ten menu options pulled me and my appetite in. Even with a simple menu, it was not simple to make a choice. Finally, I committed to the Pistachio + Chocolate. The brand’s tagline is not a lie… this was nothing but good. Frankly, nothing but amazing and truly indulgent.
Each cup is served in a souvenir glass bowl that is a replica of their distinctive plastic yogurt cups. You can give the bowl back or keep it. If you bring it on a return trip you’ll save 50 cents on your next order.
My glass Chobani bowl was filled with their 2% plain Greek yogurt and beautifully topped with crunchy green pistachios, rich dark chocolate pieces, drizzled honey, plump bites of orange, and just enough mint leaves to let you know this is something special. I savored each bite, just as I would a frozen yogurt treat. It’s no wonder this place is hoppin’!
Less than two months after opening their doors, the Chobani team told me they’ve yet to see it empty. While I was there during mid-afternoon a steady stream of yogurt lovers took their time enjoying a pina colada look-a-like with the Toasted Coconut + Pineapple and the Peanut Butter + Jelly. The Cucumber + Olive Oil was ideal for snacking on the complimentary pita chips that accompany each bowl.
At the front of the store is a cooler case stocked with Chobani and Chobani Champions; it sells for about a nickel less per cup than at my Kroger store. Jars of some of their ingredients, including honey, olive oil, and pistachios, are also on display for purchase.
The brand is happy with the success of the shop so far and could see the possibility of expanding… later. Right now their expansion focus is on their new plant in Idaho opening this fall, as well as the expansion of their original Upstate New York plant. They’re the leading Greek yogurt brand … so there are a lot of yogurt orders to keep up with!
It’s not that dessert experiences don’t abound in New York City, but none are anything like Chobani SoHo. Health conscious, foodie, or just in to trying something new, if you’re visiting or in the area, put this on your Foursquare to do list. And go just hungry enough!
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September 20th, 2012