CITRUS PARK — Mark the calendar: Hillsborough is finally hip enough for Pinkberry, the frozen yogurt shops of the stars.
The first Tampa Bay area franchise hosts a grand opening Thursday evening at WestShore Plaza, near P.F. Chang's.
The Citrus Park location at 7002 Gunn Highway, near Westfield Citrus Park mall, is scheduled to open around June 3.
All flavors and toppings are free during the WestShore grand opening from 6 to 10 p.m. for what the Los Angeles Times called "the taste that launched 1,000 parking tickets" when West Hollywood starlets and wannabes jostled for a Pinkberry fix. The shop will officially open April 8.
"Back when we launched in January 2005, there was nothing like it,'' says CEO Ron Graves. There are more than 100 Pinkberrys operating now.
"Success breeds competition. I do think there will be a shakeout over time,'' he said, "and quality and authenticity will win out."
Graves attributes the Pinkberry mystique partly to distinct taste and physical aesthetics.
"Quality over quantity, so there are just six flavors," he said, listing original, pomegranate, mango, coconut, chocolate plus one seasonal flavor, which will be lychee in April. Mini-cones start less than $2.
Ten fresh fruits are hand-cut every day. Dry toppings — more than 20 — range from granola to Belgian shaved chocolate to organic gummy bears.
"Bright, clean and energetic stores enhance the product,'' he said.
Store hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and till 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For information, visit pinkberry.com.