On Monday night at around 10PM, I passed 16 Handles Frozen Yogurt at 2nd Avenue and East 81st Street. It was 37 degrees outside and the place was packed. Contrast that to the also open, but empty, Pinkberry across the street.
16 Handles has changed the frozen yogurt experience for the better. They’ve “turned the counter around” so the consumer can self serve in three easy steps (yes, you can do it better than they can):
1. Choose from 16 flavors (Euro Tart is my favorite), take as many and as much (or as little) as you want.
2. Select from a wide variety of toppings (i like to mix in berries, cookie dough and Reese’s peanut butter cups), take as much (or as little) as you want.
3. Weigh and pay.
4. OPTIONAL – get your frequent yogurt eater card stamped for a freebee after 8 visits.
In addition to the two stores currently open in NYC (2nd Ave. and E. 9th St., 2nd Ave. and E. 81st St.), Eater reports that a new location is opening on the Upper West Side this Spring.
There are other open locations in Jericho, NY, Paramus, NJ, and Gaithersburg, MD. This Spring and Summer will also bring new franchises to Boca Raton, FL, Clifton Park, NY, Port Washington, NY, and Fairfield, CT.
Most locations are certified by International Kosher Council (Rabbi Zev Schwartz). He explains that the yogurts are all certified Kosher by mainstream Supervisors (like OU, OK etc.) and all the topping are Kosher EXCEPT as labeled (indeed there are some non-Kosher gummy toppings).
Rumor has is it the UWS location will be certified by National Kosher Supervision (Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman). This will accommodate a community where NKS is more widely accepted and recognized. However, this comes at a cost to the topping selection as certain berries and non-Kosher items will be excluded from the menu.
Please note: to our knowledge, Pinkberry is NOT Kosher (Pinkberry told us that).