By grace.g.yang · January 28, 2008
Under: Desserts,FRO-YOLYMPICS

The first annual fro-yolympics took place on December 9, 2007 in New York, New York. On that bone-chilling day, seven wonderful friends (and one baby!) joined me for my wonderful tour around New York (there was even a facebook invite! We contemplated making shirts!). We thought of the fro-yolympics a while ago; Pinkberry started the frozen yogurt trend in LA/NYC (although Red Mango started this whole craze back in Korea) and after trying it and getting hooked, I researched what else was out there and wanted to do an across the board comparison. There are lots of interesting articles about the fro-yo obsession that is sweeping the nation; here’s an interesting article about how crazy it’s gotten in LA). All frozen yogurt consumed during the tour was purchased by Fro-Yolympics judges, so you should read and trust that our reviews are unbiased. To give you an idea of the diverse group of qualified judges that attended, here are helpful bios:

1. Grace, (aka GNN) founder and all around cool person.

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Last summer, Grace discovered plain frozen yogurt and her life will never be the same. She is considered a Pinkberry Groupie (an accomplishment you can only achieve by signing up for their e-mail list). She is known at her local Pinkberry for getting 4 toppings for the price of 3, being offered free Pinkberry on her birthday and greeting every server by name. As much as she owes her interest to Pinkberry, she is keeping an open mind (and mouth) for this tour. She hopes to someday open her own frozen yogurt shop called GRACEBERRY!

2. Chris, boyfriend and frozen yogurt enabler:

What happens when Chris finishes the last bite of Grace’s frozen yogurt.

Chris shares Grace’s passion for frozen yogurt and encourages Grace to try different recipes on her ice cream maker. When asked how he felt about frozen yogurt, Chris responded, “yogurt yogurt.” Chris would like to thank his half-white genes for not being lactose intolerant.

3. David, Grace’s brother and e-waste management Interweb entrepreneur:

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David, feeling a certain…emptiness before frozen yogurt entered his belly.

David is the eco-friendly transplant from the west coast. Since moving to New York, David has slowly joined the frozen yogurt bandwagon, but wishes more places used biodegradable containers. David has a weak spot for berry and mango toppings and cute yogurt servers. He’d like to thank everyone for recycling – save the earth!

4. Justin, sole fan club member and co-founder of the fro-yolympics:

Justin, with two girls he lured back to his apartment after a frozen yogurt run.

The first time Justin tried frozen yogurt, he was in the middle of K-town with his girlfriend (Justin is quite the ladies man). Since then, they have broken up; his girlfriend made him choose between her and frozen yogurt (no-brainer). Since breaking up with his girlfriend, Justin has continued troll K-town on the hunt for some beautiful and enticing….frozen yogurt. Go Justin!

5. Ariel, enthusiast, friend of Grace:

Me and Ariel dancing during a barcrawl (yeah, it was for being an accounting tutor, but who cares?!)

Ariel recently moved to New York to begin an illustrious career in finance. He’s known for doing long division in his head, calculating the cost of frozen yogurt by the ounce, and predicting the stock market in relation to frozen yogurt dispensers and plastic yogurt containers. Ariel doesn’t buy gold to hedge against inflation. Gold buys Ariel to hedge against inflation. Based on the results of this tour, Ariel presented his MD with the frozen yogurt shop he’d like to IPO.

6. Gloria, aficionado, Patent attorney:

No, this is not Gloria.

Gloria flew in from Los Angeles for this frozen yogurt tour and brought samples from the west coast. Surprisingly, frozen yogurt does not travel well. Gloria braved the harsh conditions of a New York winter to spend the day eating frozen yogurt. She later announced that she would leave early because she is lactose intolerant. What a trooper and a friend!

7. Dan, Chief Yogurt Yahoo:

Dan and Faire SCREAM for frozen yogurt.

Dan is a fitness and health fanatic and is known to bike and rollerblade all over the tri-state area. He joined us for the yogurt tour and vowed to not let the sugar get to his hips by running a marathon after it was over. Dan believes frozen yogurt makes the world a better place.

8. Bethany, reader, scholar:

Bethany and Faire, discussing frozen yogurt. Bethany talking, Faire mostly listening.

Bethany is a graduate student studying the effects frozen yogurt has on people’s happiness (preliminary lab results: it makes people REALLY happy). She is a new follower of GNN and thinks the grace face’s added to the site are better than sliced bread.

9. Faire, youngest reader, baby:

Faire, the cutest GNN reader.

Faire, Dan and Bethany’s economically-named baby, enjoyed being carried around on the tour. Although she is too young to partake in eating the delicious frozen yogurt, she appreciated the fact that she did not have to judge the yogurt – it’s a tough job! She outlasted Ariel and Gloria, an accomplishment she will speak about when she applies for nursery schools on the Upper East Side.

There you have it! Each of our judges brings something unique to the table.

Over the course of the day, the fro-yolympics committee visited nine different yogurt shops and sampled ten different frozen yogurts (and a smoothie!). We sampled different flavors, putting the frozen yogurt to all different types of tests, which are explained below:


Listen, this tour was no joke. Justin and I spent countless hours developing a series of questions we had for each yogurt shop. After coming up with questionnaires, I PRINTED THEM OUT (do you understand?!) We made it even more official by adding barcodes for each shop (this is no easy task, TRUST ME. It involves going through every font in MS Word and finding the coolest one that resembles barcodes). Then, to make it even MORE official, I put everything together on a CLIPBOARD. Here are the questions we asked:

1. Approximate size of hole. Have you ever noticed that every time you go to a frozen yogurt shop, you’re somewhat disappointed in the amount of frozen yogurt you get? I mean, when you get to the middle of the tangy dessert, you’re shocked to see a gaping HOLE. We investigated and have picture proof of every frozen yogurt’s “hole size.”

2. Tanginess vs. creaminess. This category drew its fair share of controversy. How can you put these in the same category, right? Some people believe that tanginess should be opposed to milkyness and creaminess should be opposed to iciness. Well, when Justin and I came up with our metrics, we determined that frozen yogurt can be tangy and tart or creamy and smooth. If you don’t like it, then OKAY.

3. Topping variety. Most frozen yogurt places have the same assortment of toppings (which usually includes fresh fruit, cereals, chocolate), but special recognition will be paid to those that have something different and/or interesting.

4. Fruit quality. There’s no point in having a lot of toppings if they’re not going to be fresh, right? We’re applying this category strictly to the fruit.

5. Calories per ounce. An important metric for every frozen yogurt eater, please reference Seinfeld episode 71: “The Non-Fat Yogurt” if you need more details. Everyone’s counting calories these days and yogurt is no exception.

6. Price per ounce. The importance of this should be obvious; how much yogurt are you getting for your money?

7. Atmosphere/quality of service. There’s nothing more frustrating than eating great food with crappy service. We investigate which frozen yogurt shops have great customer service and which shops fall short.

8. Iciness vs. smoothness. An icier sample of frozen yogurt is one where you can taste the tiny granules of ice whereas a smoother frozen yogurt is more like the one produced by McDonald’s; no icy taste!

9. Flavors. No one could live off of one flavor of frozen yogurt for the rest of their lives – we need variety!! We didn’t judge yogurt shop’s based off their flavors because different places have different flavors (and it would’ve been impossible to compare all of them), but the one flavor every place shared was plain. However, we noted how many flavors each yogurt shop carried.

10. Resilience to heat. This category is especially important to me; I thought of it after having a terrible experience at a Pinkberry on the Upper East Side. Basically, the place was packed, so they were dispensing the frozen yogurt and letting it sit on the production line while other orders were filled. By the time my frozen yogurt was put together, it had the consistency of a soupy mess. From that day, I vowed to eat the frozen yogurt before it started melting. To test the resilience to heat, we asked for a sample of frozen yogurt and set it on the table for exactly five minutes. After exactly five minutes (we had a timer), I took a picture of the evidence.

11. Topping quantity/Presentation. Another important category because we eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths. Who wants to eat some hot mess?! We have picture proof of each frozen yogurt, which will be documented in each post.

Over the next 10 days, I will be sharing our reviews – you might be surprised! Follow me and my friends as we navigate our way through New York in search of their best frozen yogurt. We start in Brooklyn, then head to Soho, Greenwich Village, Murray Hill, and finish in Koreatown, where the New York frozen yogurt craze started. Everyday will reveal a new frozen yogurt post with lots of interesting details, grace faces, and gracenotesnyc coins, and the final results will be posted on the last day. I hope you enjoy the photographs, comments, and revelations in the coming days!

*****EDIT: Here are the posts in order*****
Day 1: Oko
Day 2: Pinkberry
Day 3:Red Mango
Day 4: Yolato
Day 5: 40 Carrots
Day 6: Very Berry
Day 7: Flurt
Day 8: Berry Wild Smooth and Kindy Icy
Day 9: Crazy Bananas

Reader Comments

I am excited, frightened and downright confused — but I’m ready to start this thing!


Written By Brian on January 28th, 2008 @ 1:11 pm




Written By David on January 28th, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

this post is so funny – I can’t stop commenting.

Gold buys Ariel to hedge against inflation!!! HAHAHA

AND WTF WHY do clipboards make everything OFFICIAL?? ITS TRUE

Written By David on January 28th, 2008 @ 10:06 pm

“I’ve been living a lie, and she KNEW it. Now, I’m able to go out and enjoy some SERIOUS *fro yo*, guilt free. Yumma yumma yumma yumma.”

Written By Bunny on January 28th, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

Cant wait to hear all about your FROYO adventure!!! Wish I could have joined you…Lover of FROYO

Written By Michelle on January 29th, 2008 @ 8:01 am

I just read your entry in a discussion about Flurt on Chowhound.

Have you considered launching a frozen treats group on

Written By NYCinephile on April 25th, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

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