Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cupcake Crazed Boston

The biggest food story of the weekend HAS to be the absolute insanity over a cupcake bakery opening on Newbury Street. I was in Cambridge covering another story this Saturday when I started to receive texts that I really needed to get over there and witness it. There were literally hundreds of people in a line snaking around the block, all there for a cupcake.

I thought friends were exaggerating but oh no.  Why would people do this? I took my place in line and was told that it would be about a two hour wait before I got to the door of Georgetown Cupcake. It was a gorgeous day but everyone seemed to be willing and I really wanted to find out why.

An incongruous mix of people were around me. Artsy types, the well-heeled, college kids, hipsters, families - the whole range. Behind me were two young Asian girls who talked incessantly, and loudly, about absolutely nothing: where they were going to eat after their cupcakes and manicures, their T Pass foibles, constantly updating their friends on where they were, texts, calls, blah blah blah, non-stop.

In front of me was a mother and daughter, self-professed foodies. The mother asked me: "Do I really want to wait two hours? I could just come back tomorrow and pay the $2.75 for a taste of one." Good point. I told her I was tempted to do the same but did not want to miss out on the experience of this weirdness. She chatted me up and I explained that I was a food writer so this was just not just a waste of two hours. I was actually at work. She loved that idea, that this could be a job.

It was clear that I was not the only one working. It must have taken an army of PR people and a team of very dedicated staff to pull this off. The event organization was incredible and impressive.

The young man at the door told us he went to school in D. C. and worked at the Georgetown location, but spent summers at home near Boston.  The DC Cupcakes TV show they host on TLC explains some of the mayhem, he told us. People like cupcakes. His favorite was the red velvet, the lavender one, the salted caramel and, oh yes, the Boston Cream. I had wanted the vanilla (would it be Madagascar or Tahitian) but instantly changed my mind to that Boston Cream. How was I getting sucked into this? Was it the TV cameras swirling around us.

Once you got inside it was more like a fashion show than a bakery opening. Bright lights, everything choreographed and beautiful.

Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne, the sisters who run this entrepreneurial spectacle, actually recognized me as The Boston Foodie! They even wanted to pose for a pic of them handing me my Boston Cream cupcake. Talk about knowing how to sell!

The verdict: the cake was very moist, obviously a perfect batter. The frosting was gooey chocolate and the fondant clover like a piece of candy. I was secretly hoping to not like the cupcake so I could write about how to waste an otherwise fine two hours of one's life. (It was actually one hour.) It was a good cupcake but what really impressed me was the marketing. Absolute genius.

Georgetown Cupcake
83 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

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