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Food Brand Tests New Flavor Combinations Through Retail Concept

Chobani trails new yogurt combinations with a fresh-serve cafe concept in New York's SoHo

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
Piers Fawkes, PSFK on July 28, 2012. @piers_fawkes

Upstart yoghurt brand Chobani have just opened the doors of a new retail experience that they hope to roll out across the US. PSFK was invited to experience the brand at a small pre-launch party yesterday at the cosy, corner cafe at the junction of West Broadway and Prince Street in New York’s SoHo.

From the outside, the store fits in well with the fashion boutiques, eateries and art galleries close by. As I approached, one shopper stopped as if she had discovered a new apparel brand for the first time and exclaimed to her friends, “What’s Chobani!?”

With its wide windows and simple modern logo adorning an aged metal boarding, strangers should be excused for thinking the store belongs to something more like a high end Italian fashion label.

Inside though, the experience is designed to bring new appreciation to yogurt. A kitchen doles out fresh and creative interpretations of yogurt dishes. The servers took great pride in explaining that the peanut butter and jelly in the p&j dish were made in-store and included fresh grapes.

More striking is the serving of yogurt in savory dishes. You can see how the founder Hamdi Ulukaya’s Turkish roots creep into the menu. Items include yogurt and olive oil with pepper which you eat with pita chips.

Another savory dish is yoghurt with salted cucumber. Somehow it all works well and at a price that is about three times less than you would find in a local cafe.

The company’s press release says about the store offering:

The Chobani store’s carefully crafted menu features a collection of non-frozen, yogurt-based creations mixed with seasonally-inspired, hand-selected, gourmet ingredients. Two offerings currently on the menu include Toasted Coconut + Pineapple, featuring toasted coconut flakes, fresh pineapple, agave syrup and hazelnuts, and Pistachio + Chocolate, featuring Turkish pistachios, dark chocolate, clover honey, oranges and mint leaves.

Each creation will be made-to-order by in-house Yogurt Masters who will handcraft the perfect combination of yogurt and select ingredients to deliver an exquisite flavor profile in each and every bite.

Guests can also purchase a variety of Chobani flavors in 6oz or 32oz containers in addition to featured seasonal fruits from the Harvest Table, which is located prominently in the center of the store. Chobani SoHo will also curate a rotating assortment of Mediterranean specialty oils, nuts and more from its Mediterranean Pantry. These items will be available for takeaway purchase, allowing guests to experiment with their own creations at home.

Over the last 7 years since Hamdi bought an abandoned factory in upstate New York and channeled his Turkish appreciation into the product, Chobani has seen meteoric rise, and today it charges towards annual sales of over a billion dollars. With distribution across major retailers like WholeFoods, this tastemaking brand seems intent on helping people explore new ways to enjoy one of the world’s oldest foods.

View all the images we took on our trip by clicking through the thumbnails below:

Chobani SoHo can be found at 150 Prince Street at the intersection of West Broadway in SoHo, New York and is open 7 days a week from 9am-8pm.

Chobani

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