Update 2014: Red Mango is now closed.
Yes, I know. A new chain has landed in Phoenix. And what a surprise, it has California tags.
Though it should be obvious, up until now I haven’t specifically addressed my own personal sentiments in regard to corporate chains or franchises.
My general tenet is not so much anti-chain, as it is pro-independent, and locally unique. In small defense of (some) chains, I do feel that there are simply too many exceptions in the anti-chain argument to be entirely stonewall about it.
In terms of sheer quality, flavor and general character, avoiding corporate outposts whenever possible, for the most part, is a standard rule of thumb for myself. With that said however, it can still frequently be a case-by-case basis, as I do occasionally find worthy chains out there presenting unique concepts and serving noticeably high-er quality food.
I often find myself enjoying places like Sauce, Chipotle, Gelato Spot or Pita Jungle. Though arguably watered-down culinary experiences in many cases, I don’t feel entirely ashamed to say that I patronize them.
One such chain I like is frozen yogurt heavyweight Red Mango. Founded in ’02, and originally harking from South Korea, the now California-anchored company is finally making its Phoenix area debut.
Though its upbeat and more health-conscious brand of fro-yo has been copied over the years by many (Pinkberry, cough), Red Mango does present some differences in product.
The company goes noticeably out of its way to serve not only non-fat yogurt free of any additives, but unlike some of its newer rivals, also a product that is certified gluten-free, and kosher.
Not to mention, it couldn’t be tastier.
Flavors include pomegranate, green tea, citrus and plain. You can then choose from a catalog of toppings, ranging from granola, fresh fruit, and those more lighthearted like Cap’n Crunch and Fruity Pebbles. Yes, children’s cereal alert.
For myself, I generally opt for the subtle tanginess of plain, as a neutral, complimentary base, and building up from there with varied toppings. I tend to feel too much “excitement” in the flavor-toppings department can often lead to jumbled mess of flavors. I’m much more conservative with toppings when choosing one of the specialty flavors, like green tea or pomegranate for example.
But hey, not here to preach about frozen yogurt.
Red Mango also offers “blenders,” their version of a smoothie, blending a fro-yo flavor of your choice with any number of selected toppings.
If its first outpost in NE Phoenix/Scottsdale performs well, Red Mango says they will waste no time in expanding statewide.
Though it makes me cringe a bit, the company hopes to eventually open an additional twenty stores throughout Arizona within the next three to four years.
Again, it’s always bittersweet when the product is good.
As long as a location Downtown (or Midtown) materializes, I will be happy.
Though it’s novelty will wane slightly, Red Mango is a corporate brand worthy of some of our praise and interest. It’s really, really good tasting stuff.
Red Mango quietly opened its doors recently, ahead of its official “grand opening” events, set for June 20th.
Red Mango | RedMangoUSA.com | 420 S. Mill Ave | Downtown Tempe | 480-966-9664