Monday, September 27, 2010

Red Mango Hopes to See Green in Crowded Intown 'Hood

When it rains it pours, and so goes the flood of Fro-Yo's intown. More specifically, near Emory University. Red Mango will open their second Atlanta area location at the corner of North Decatur and Clairmont Roads. Originally based in South Korea, Red Mango USA is based in Sherman Oaks, California. While the chain had been slow to expand in the states, its South Korean parent company is credited with the creation of the concept of Fro-Yo today. Domestically, Pinkberry has been the industry leader with Red Mango now playing catch up. The first Atlanta area Red Mango opened earlier this month in Dunwoody on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. In Dunwoody, there is far less competition for frozen yogurt, though many chains have plans to expand in the area.

Near Emory, Red Mango will join local fro-yo eatery (and one of my favs) The Yogurt Tap, located on Church Street, just off Decatur Square. About a mile down North Decatur, another local fro-yo joint, Yogli Mogli, opened a location in Emory Village in August and across from it, Sprouts Green Cafe continues to offer a rather modest variety of frozen yogurt in addition to fresh salads and sandwiches. Lastly, Los Angeles based Menchie's opened at Toco Hills shopping center in August, and is already attracting crowds with promotional offers and special nights for Emory students.

It should be noted that Yoforia and Juicy Green are both in Virginia Highlands and both attract Emory students, but their yogurt is sold by size rather than by weight. In terms of weight, the local standard had been 39 cents per ounce but that has varied somewhat of late. Months ago, with no competition in the immediate area, Sprout's saw an opportunity and priced their product at 56 cents per ounce. With Yogli Mogli now a stone's throw away, they knocked their price down to match Yogli Mogli at 39 cents. In Decatur, The Yogurt Tap opened at and has remained at 39 cents, but Menchie's over at Toco Hills is charging 44 cents per ounce. Red Mango Dunwoody is charging 45 cents, which figures to be the price for the new North Decatur location as well.

For me as a lifelong resident of the Toco Hills neighborhood, this emergence of Fro-Yo is especially interesting as many years back, Toco Hills was home to local chain Freshëns, next door to the upcoming Goldberg's Bagels (a few doors down from Menchie's.) Freshëns also had a location up LaVista near Northlake and in Buckhead among others, but all of them closed years ago. Another frozen yogurt joint, TCBY, still has a location at Loehmann's Plaza on Briarcliff Road but is in need of a remodel. In June, TCBY unveiled plans for rebranding and changing its existing service model and plans to expand its brand based on a new, younger, more vibrant look. I have fond memories of visiting both Freshëns and TCBY as a youngster, and to this day I prefer my yogurt just as I got it then, simply the yogurt, without any extravagant or inventive toppings. Call me a purist, but heck, I eat my cereal without milk too!

Red Mango Decatur is set to begin construction today with a planned timetable of two months before opening. Red Mango will join local burrito joint Willy's Mexicana Grill and Eagle Eye Bookshop in the same shopping center, both popular with Emory students, so although parking is limited, it's likely this will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. ToNeTo Atlanta

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1 comment:

SB said...

The other Red Mango in Dunwoody Village is in an awful location. I eat at the Moe's next door for lunch every week since starting to work up there... which I couldn't find the first time I went earlier this year. That corner of the plaza is hidden with no visibility and paying premium rent I'm sure being near Publix. This one near Emory will do significantly better.