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What's With The 6 PM Line Outside Sprinkles?

jeffrey Jun 8, 2007 11:02 AM

I drive past Sprinkles on Little Santa Monica every evening on my way home from work. Inevitably, there's a line 20 deep outside the place. What gives? Are they giving away/discounting the day's remaining stash? Do that many people need a 6 PM sugar fix?

Thanks for the scoop!

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  1. o
    Obessed Jun 8, 2007 11:11 AM

    I don't know, but it's definitely not worth the wait . I picked up Sprinkles cubcakes once during an off time (there was hardly any line)...they were good, but nothing spectacular. I prefer Auntie Em's cupcakes, especially the red velvet ones.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Obessed
      liu Jun 8, 2007 08:06 PM

      Auntie Em's carrot with raisins...MMmmmmm...

      1. re: Obessed
        Muhlyssa Jun 9, 2007 08:12 AM

        I highly suggest Leda's. Because they are smaller, there is less cake to be dry, plus many of them have fillings.

        1. re: Muhlyssa
          Diana Jun 11, 2007 11:26 AM

          I second the rec...No I mean, don't go to Leda's. Avoid Leda's!! No reason to crowd Leda's! Stay Away! ;)

        2. re: Obessed
          twobitesUH Jun 9, 2007 05:07 PM

          Auntie' Em's does have the best cupcakes, I agree. However, for Red Velvet cake...nobody beats Doughboys.

        3. c
          Cucinamore Jun 8, 2007 11:37 AM

          The line is there all day long, from what I can tell. Having tried Sprinkles dry and overly sweet product, I find it hard to understand what draws these folks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cucinamore
            Capybara Jun 8, 2007 01:27 PM

            Yep, the line is there pretty much all day. I'm with most of you -- I sometimes think the cupcakes are good but not great, and other times worse: when worse, the cake is tasteless and a little dry, and the frosting overly sweet. I'm not sure it is so much which cupcake I've had as inconsistency in the preparation. (The frosting is always sweet, but sometimes the cake is better than other times.)

            The line moves relatively quickly, btw.

          2. k
            kinipela Jun 8, 2007 01:09 PM

            my question is.. what's with the apparent cupcake phenomenon??? am i missing something? i just don't get it...

            1 Reply
            1. re: kinipela
              zoomchic Jun 8, 2007 02:46 PM

              I agree that Sprinkles is waay overrated. Too much sickly sweet frosting and the cake is too sugary as well. They have a great PR machine. I much prefer Jamaicas cakes cupcakes.

            2. ceejoi Jun 8, 2007 02:55 PM

              ok, i'll speak for the people in the long line. (even though i've never waited in a line for a cupcake)
              if you take away the overrated-ness and take away the fact that there might be something better down the street, you've got a sweet delicious cupcake that you didn't have to bake yourself and you've got something to do like wait in a line instead of sitting at home.

              1. j
                js76wisco Jun 8, 2007 06:46 PM

                No discounts. I drive by there on my way home from work every day. I think people are buying cupcakes for dinner parties and the weekend. The line is always longer on Friday and Saturday. Maybe they don't live near Yummy Cupcakes or Buttercake Bakery where the cupcakes are moister and better and cheaper.

                1. katkoupai Jun 8, 2007 07:01 PM

                  Maybe people go directly after getting off work.

                  1. Woolsey Jun 8, 2007 08:24 PM

                    I think it's a combination of good marketing and Proustian positioning. Sprinkles has the slickest website, a store in the most exclusive retail district on the West Coast coast, and they're positioned between Century City, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and West Hollywood - very affluent markets. Moreover, they're appealing to Gen X, Gen Y, and younger on a Proustian level. He had his madeleines, they have their cupcakes. Cupcakes were brought to the birthday parties, end-of-school parties, various holiday celebrations - it's an item that sparks a deep childhood chord of happiness with the most psychoanalyzed generations in history. So put a store selling these items in a the area with the people with the most disposable income and BAM! Long lines of people wanting to shell out money for boxes of instant childhood regression at a ridiculous markup.

                    Maybe I should open a Kool-Aid store next door...

                    1. Pamplemoose Jun 8, 2007 08:51 PM

                      This is the latest hang out for LA's legions of "Food Fad Lemmings".
                      One more overhyped dessert.
                      All Sprinkles has to do now is sell a cupcake with a green tea yogurt filling and riots would break out around their store.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Pamplemoose
                        Woolsey Jun 8, 2007 09:41 PM

                        If Sprinkles and Pinkberry merged, it would be the end of life as we know it.

                        1. re: Woolsey
                          weebites Jun 9, 2007 02:57 PM

                          too funny!

                      2. q
                        QualityMart Jun 9, 2007 02:15 AM

                        I have to respectfully disagree with the cries of "overrated" ... Sprinkles' cupcakes are amazing. If you're curious about the line, just bite the bullet and try them out one day! I've tried at least a dozen places in LA and Sprinkles is far superior to all of them in my opinion. Dry? Um, no. Joan's on 3rd's are dry. Yes, there are some out that that are even more moist than Sprinkles (and perhaps there are occasional bad batches), but Sprinkles' are not dry. Overly sweet? They're cupcakes. They are sweet. If I wanted something not sweet I'd not be eating a frosted cupcake.

                        Worth the hype if you ask me!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: QualityMart
                          Woolsey Jun 9, 2007 08:29 AM

                          I didn't think they were dry, nor were they bad, but they weren't anything particularly special. (I had the vaunted Red Velvet and the Coconut - all the coconut flavoring was in the frosting.)

                          Overrated? Maybe, maybe not. Overpriced? Most definitely. But hey, you gotta pay for that expensive real estate somehow, right?

                        2. h
                          Hapafish Jun 9, 2007 03:01 AM

                          Agree with QualityMart, Sprinkles cupcakes are good! I know it can be annoying because they're so dam* trendy (i hear cupcakes are the new wedding cake trend as an aside) and kinda on the pricey side, but I haven't found them to be dry or overly sweet. They certainly beat the pants off the much ballyhooed Magnolia's in NYC which I tried for the first time last Feb. (talk about dry!) Although to be fair, and maybe this should be a different thread, I hear magnolia's changed in ownership or management right before i visited so this may be the reason for it's mediocrity.
                          Have heard VERY good things about Auntie Em's--must try them soon.
                          But oh yah your Q! Having worked in that area this past year, my speculation would be the same as Katkoupai's people get off work at that time and maybe they want to bring a tasty treat home for loved ones.

                          1. r
                            running pig Jun 9, 2007 09:11 AM

                            HAHAHA- why do I somehow doubt that Sprinkles EVER offers discounts?

                            I actually really like Sprinkles, but one thing is for sure...they don't last well. Second-say Sprinkles are not good. So...if I was getting the cupcakes at 6 PM, I would eat them THAT day, not the next.

                            1. s
                              sherpa50 Jun 11, 2007 11:23 AM

                              I' d keep going west to Buttercake - much better (but they close earlier, although it is easier to park).

                              Yes, cupcakes are supposed to be sweet - why would you eat a frosted cupcake & expect otherwise?

                              Have to admit that I had a Sprinkles coconut at a baby shower Sunday & it was good. A previous one a few weeks earlier had been dry, although it was "fresh" from the shop. Never had this problem with Buttercake Bakery.

                              1. omotosando Jun 12, 2007 07:24 PM

                                Lately, I have been having the cupcakes at La Provence on Olympic in Beverly Hills between Doheny and Robertson. I wouldn't necessarily say they are good, but they are strangely addictive in the way that I imagine crack might be. The first time I tried one I thought it was disgustingly sweet, but the next day I strangely craved another one.

                                I won't wait in line at Sprinkles - I have a thing about waiting in line to spend money (as opposed to waiting in line to receive money). The cupcakes at Sprinkles are also disgustingly sweet, but I would say they are better in their fashion than those at La Provence, but not that much better to merit the wait. For those into aesthetics, the cupcakes at La Provence are prettier than those at Sprinkles.

                                1. a
                                  Amella Jun 13, 2007 11:49 PM

                                  I love the cupcakes at Yummy Cupcakes on Magnolia in Burbank. I make any excuse to buy one for "a friend".

                                  1. w
                                    world eater Jun 14, 2007 12:13 AM

                                    all it is is HYPE. the icing is great, but the cake part is was undercooked and too mushy. Ding dong anyone?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: world eater
                                      Moka Jun 14, 2007 12:40 PM

                                      Sprinkles regular icing tastes and feels like it's pure sugar--way too stiff and sweet! They need to add more butter and salt to the icing, which would round out the flavors and give it a much better mouth-feel-- and cut back on the sugar. Same for the cake-- it doesn't taste buttery at all. The ones with cream-cheese frosting are almost tolerable. A friend offered me a lemon-coconut with lemon-coconut cream cheese frosting once and I didn't turn it down, but I wasn't impressed at all.

                                    2. omotosando Jun 14, 2007 12:50 PM

                                      I walked by Sprinkles yesterday afternoon at around 2:30 p.m. and there was a long line. So it is not just a 6:00 p.m. phenomenon. I wonder why competitors don't just open nearby. It really can't be that hard to bake those cupcakes and even with the cost of rent, the profit margin must be huge given the cost of ingredients and the minimum wage teenagers they hire.

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