The word is out in Santa Barbara about the new Pinkberry store that opened this week on State Street and hordes of frozen yogurt fans crowded the sidewalk yesterday looking for a sweet fix.

The trendy franchise – colloquially known as “crack-berry” due to its addictively flavorful frozen treats – advertises low-fat yogurt in pomegranate, green tea and original tart flavors, as well as a wide selection of toppings. Other products offered include shaved ice and two flavors of smoothie.

The new store has opened its doors in the space recently vacated by Jamba Juice, across the street from the Paseo Nuevo shopping center, at the corner of State and De La Guerra Streets.

Born in West Hollywood four years ago, the fruity brainchild of Shelly Hwang and Young Lee has expanded rapidly in recent years and is now a staple of Southern California shopping centers. There are currently over 60 Pinkberry stores throughout Southern California and New York.

Despite its widespread popularity, the company received considerable flak in 2006 when the Los Angeles Times reported that the frozen delight served by Pinkberry did not contain enough live bacterial cultures per ounce to meet the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s definition of “yogurt.” The company has since changed its recipe to meet these standards.

The frosty franchise was under fire again in 2008, when a class action lawsuit was filed against it for deceptive marketing. Although the company had long advertised its product as a nonfat, all natural ice-cream alternative, it was discovered that the frozen yogurt included a number of non-natural ingredients, including artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors.

The case settled out of court, and Pinkberry no longer advertises an all-natural product.