Saturday, July 20, 2024

Pinkberry, the chain that launched our nation’s latest frozen yogurt craze, is coming to Cambridge.

It’s famously been called “crackberry” and “the taste that launched 1,000 parking tickets” (because Los Angelenos double park to run in and get some) and has spawned dozens of imitators and challengers — including Cambridge’s own BerryLine, which has stores in Harvard and Porter squares and the Fenway.

Its tangy flavors, most often topped with fresh fruit, should be in Harvard Square in the spring, said Anderson “Trippe” Lonian III, a Cambridge resident and partner in the company franchising from Pinkberry. The partners are talking to landlords and have a few other carefully chosen spots in mind.

“It’s been a long time in coming,” Lonian said today. “It has been a phenomenon everywhere it’s opened, and we’re very excited to be bringing it here.”

Along with the spring Harvard Square opening, Lonian’s company should be setting up shop in Boston’s Back Bay and in a suburban setting such as Dedham, then firming up more area sites — “I’m pretty sure we’ll think about eventually opening at the CambridgeSide Galleria, but we’re starting with Harvard Square,” Lonian said — before tackling the rest of New England. Unlike companies such as Subway that might have multiple franchisees in an area, Pinkberry tends to find one company to develop a region.

The company — less than five years old — is expanding from its Los Angeles and New York bases into Dallas, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami and Orlando, Fla., Colorado, New Orleans and Mexico, Pinkberry spokeswoman Michelle Lockhart confirmed today. (A franchisee just launched sites in Kuwait and Dubai.)

Lonian’s team benefits from having a lot of local knowledge, he said, and includes experts in financial services, consulting, music production, food service and hospitality. Among them is the inevitable Harvard Business School grad.

BerryLine was founded in 2007 by Pok “Eric” K. Yang and Matthew A. Wallace, postdoctoral students from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, although neither were business students.

Wallace didn’t answer a Nov. 3 e-mail seeking comment about his company’s competition. In addition to ice cream stores with frozen yogurt, such as Cambridge’s Toscanini’s, the Red Mango chain has two announced Boston locations, although only one — at the Symphony stop on the green line — is identified as “coming soon”; there’s a boYo (for Boston Yogurt) on Cambridge Street in Boston; and a Yo! Berry at the 1095 Commonwealth Ave. Super 88 food court.

There is mild nutritional controversy over what frozen yogurt is and is not, with the mystery best (and most ridiculously) summed up by Gary Goldman, the owner of a frozen yogurt shop in Wellesely and quoted in a June article in The Boston Globe. “It’s not frozen yogurt,” Goldman says in the story. “It’s a frozen dessert.”

The name of Goldman’s store? Truly Yogurt.