First Look: Chobani Soho
Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
In case you didn't already know that Chobani dominates the Greek yogurt industry in the United States, you will if you walk down Prince Street in Soho and see the five-story billboard spelling out C-H-O-B-A-N-I. At the West Broadway corner, below the sign, there's now a Chobani yogurt shop open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
To clarify: this is not a frozen yogurt shop. They're serving the exact same Chobani stuff found at grocery stores. "It should taste exactly the same, too" said a Chobani representative.
Delivered daily from the Chobani plant in upstate New York—the same place where they commercially package all the yogurt tubs—the plain yogurt is available at Chobani Soho in 2% fat or 0% fat (though the default order is 2%), with toppings like granola, Turkish pistachios, and olive oil. This isn't a DIY toppings model; you order from the pre-created combos created by the Chobani "yogurt masters" (they actually wear white head scarfs that say "yogurt master").
A 7-ounce bowl here with toppings runs you between $3.50 and $3.75; the 6-ounce packaged yogurt, also available in a refrigerated case up front, is $1.25. What you're paying for is the toppings, which aren't the flavored fruit syrups (of which we tried all 21). Instead, they're adding dark chocolate flakes from Tcho Chocolate in San Francisco (68% cacao) with Turkish pistachios, orange segments, mint, and clover honey.
The menu also includes one with granola and diced strawberries, another with PB&J, which at least five people ordered during a 15-minute visit, a few other sweet combos and two savories: one with olive oil, salt, and pepper; and a tzatziki-ish riff with cucumbers, mint, salt, and pepper.
The olive oil, pistachios, and honey are also for sale from the "pantry wall," which is adjacent to the "constellation wall," which the Chobani rep said is a nod to the yogurt's Greek forefathers. There's a even a little blue evil eye poking out of the corner, and all the "yogurt masters" on toppings duty wear evil eye bracelets.
Another sign of Greek yogurt world domination.