Here’s a cool fact for hot times: The number of frozen-yogurt servings sold worldwide increased by 11 percent in 2011, according to the NPD Group. I’ve got to believe that drought-addled Texans contributed much to that increase.
How else to explain the ever-increasing number of do-it-yourself frozen-yogurt stores. Nearly a dozen recently have opened or will open in the next few weeks. Here’s a look at the frozen terrain:
Pinkberry, the California-based chain that is credited with making frozen yogurt cool again, marked the grand opening of its The Woodlands store earlier this month. Located in The Woodlands Mall, 1201 Lake Woodlands, it’s the second Houston-area store for the high profile fro-yo maker; the first opened in Webster in October.
The first Pinkberry in Houston proper will open in at 3838 Westheimer in Highland Village later this summer.
Menchie's continues its plan for frozen-yogurt domination. The California-based franchise chain is opening three more Houston-area stores this summer. The first will be in the Bellaire Center at 5122 Bissonnet. When it opens later this month, it will be franchisees Andrew Martin and Andy Brantner’s eighth store.
And in July, a new Menchie’s will open in Sugar Land at 3363 Highway 6 and in Kingwood at 2021 Northpark.
Dallas-based Red Mango, which has two Houston-area stores, is opening a third in the revitalized Woodlake Square, 9664 Westheimer.
Another big fro-yo player, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, opened a new location on Galveston’s seawall last month. It’s west of 61st Street at 6606 Seawall. The Oklahoma-based chain will open new stores soon in Pearland (Broadway at Dixie Farm Road) and Clear Lake City (CLC Boulevard at El Camino Real).
OK, it’s not frozen yogurt, but close enough. Kansas-based Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is opening its first Houston-area store any day now at 15518 Spencer. In addition to burgers and hot dogs, the franchise chain specializes in vanilla and chocolate frozen custard, which is richer and creamier than ice cream. You can customize your “concrete” with mix-ins ranging from toasted coconut to Oreo cookies.
And lastly, frozen yogurt’s old-timer, TCBY, is opening a new store soon at 11700 Westheimer in the Royal Oaks Centre.
Editors note: Getting opening dates from these players is like pulling teeth. No one wants to go on record, lest something happens. And something often happens. If being the first in the door is important to you, the best place to find grand-opening news is the individual stores’ Facebook pages.