The Food Biz: Red Mango mojo

One of the largest frozen yogurt chains has teamed up with a veteran local restaurant entrepreneur

Major national frozen-yogurt chain Red Mango has awarded its first franchise for the Nashville market to a veteran local entrepreneur.

Red Mango is teaming with Farzin Ferdowsi, who runs more than 80 Taco Bell locations around the Southeast through Management Resources Co. The actual site of Nashville’s first Red Mango hasn’t been finalized, but a deal is reportedly in the works for a high-profile Midtown location.

The Red Mango franchise announcement seems to indicate the “tart yogurt” craze in Nashville still has legs. For anyone who’s somehow missed it, tart yogurt is a newer twist on frozen yogurt that boasts lots of live, active bacterial cultures (said to be beneficial for digestion and the immune system) and which is whipped up at super-cold temperatures to produce a nonfat or very lowfat product that nonetheless tastes smooth, rich and creamy.

It can be a remarkably healthy snack, especially when topped only with fresh fruit, but most purveyors also allow the customer to up the decadence factor with toppings like chocolate chips, cookie dough nuggets and candies.

With 130 stores, Red Mango is one of the better-known national chains, though Pinkberry — which came to West End last year — is probably still more famous. And Nashville’s own local froyo juggernaut is Sweet CeCe’s, which in just a couple of years has launched scores of locations in several states.

(Locally owned Krave in Green Hills, which opened in 2008, may have the distinction of being first on Nashville’s tart yogurt scene, but at least half a dozen other froyo names have sprung up in the region.)

So what about Red Mango? It’s actually best-known not for its mango flavor (which it only recently introduced), but for its pomegranate version. The company teamed up with POM Wonderful to create that one. In total, Red Mango has around 40 flavors.

Red Mango has also rounded out its menu with smoothies, made-to-order fruit parfaits and probiotic iced teas (that also has to do with those beneficial bacteria).

Given all the competition, does Nashville have room for more froyo? Red Mango obviously thinks so. The key will be the right location, so we’re curious to learn that sweet little nugget of information.

Butchers tweak plans

Back in May, I reported about Porter Road Butcher, an artisan butcher shop that two accomplished young chefs planned to open in East Nashville. Chris Carter and James Peisker aimed to kick off their business in July in a space on Porter Road.

Well, as often happens in the food biz, plans got complicated. The original location didn’t work out, and Carter and Peisker had to look for a new spot. In the meantime, they’ve been providing charcuterie for Holland House and selling their pork products at the East Nashville Farmers’ Market. Mitchell Delicatessen stocks their sausages in the freezer case.

Now Carter and Peisker have found a new place to open their bricks-and-mortar shop: 501 Gallatin Road, the former home of Tom’s Elite Carryout next to The Groove record store. They plan to open there this winter, keeping the name Porter Road Butcher.

Carter says the location is a great fit, despite some expected confusion over the name. Not only is the shop on a highly trafficked thoroughfare (with a decent-sized parking lot), it’s not too far from East Nashville’s entertainment epicenter, Five Points.

Porter Road Butcher is eagerly awaited by foodies, and not just because Nashville currently lacks a freestanding butcher shop. Carter and Peisker are classically trained chefs and who met in the kitchen at the Capitol Grille and ascribe to the artisan movement returning the butcher business to its roots. Their focus is on high-quality, locally sourced meat and using the whole animal, minimizing waste.

Carter says they definitely plan to be open by the first of the year, but could launch earlier if all goes well.