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May 20, 2009 03:13 PM

Kickass Cupcakes is sensitive to criticism

From a post found on Universal Hub this afternoon:

They get points for admirable chutzpah, but...your cupcakes do kinda suck, folks. At the very least, they're nowhere near worth the prices you charge.

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  1. Why do I think the guy is a lawyer?

    1. PROUD to say people hate them on Yelp? I'm sorry, but millions of people a month use Yelp as a resource. Businesses should monitor sites like Yelp, Chowhound, etc., to better cater to the wants and needs of their customers. Rather than being PROUD of being hated/disliked, why doesn't Kickass do something about it? Listen to their customers? Make changes to their product based on feedback?

      This sticker is the prime example for why people hate them.

      5 Replies
      1. re: SaraASR

        Putting up a sticker is lots easier. Everything else would take...y'know, work.

        1. re: SaraASR

          I agree that Kickass cupcakes really do NOT kick ass, especially with a tasty but limited selection at Petsi down the road. My initial reaction was the same as Sara. But Sara's post assumes that the great 'we' of CH and Yelp are there customers, and maybe in fact that isn't their customer base. It occurs to me that you can still have a successful business selling a mediocre product if enough people like it enough (not to mention that they must have a massive profit margin on those tiny cakes). So perhaps that is their formula?

          1. re: SaraASR

            I think it was on Livejournal Davis Square community, or maybe another one, where the owner of KAC herself was nastily responding to any constructive criticism of the place, around the time of its opening. Made me NEVER want to patronize the place. I did end up trying a cupcake, but it was so unmemorable and ordinary, I don't even remember it. :)

            1. re: Prav

              Your memory serves you well sir. She was a real biotch and I too decided to give them a pass. For GOOD cupcakes in the Davis area, head over to Dave's Fresh Pasta where they have cupcakes made by the chocolate tarte, another Somerville pastry maker.

              1. re: yumyum

                Gotta say it, I love Dave's but I was not a fan of their cupcake. The cake part was fine but the icing had that kind of whipped cream texture versus the thick, sugary texture that I am partial to. But my husband thought it was good!

          2. Oh what the hell, I might as well add a contrarian voice to the thread:

            I can't quite jump on the Kickass vitriol bandwagon. I kind of separate my feelings about this place into three buckets: quality, value, vibe.

            Quality - after a bumpy first few months (and what business doesn't need to work out a few kinks at the outset?), I actually think the quality here is outstanding. The cakes themselves tend to be a little denser, and the flavors more concentrated, than in an average cupcake. And in terms of frosting, I think they nail both the traditional flavors (chocolate, vanilla) and the more exotic (mojito, Guinness).

            Value - awful. As I've said before, $2.75 per ass-kicking is, well, an ass kicking. I tend to be annoyed by large portions, so I don't mind that the cupcakes are small, but the smallness coupled with a silly price tag is not cool. (See also: $3 tiny plain croissants at Sportello)

            Vibe - honestly I just don't care. They're trying to cultivate an irreverent, bad-boys-of-baking kind of vibe. This is where you get both the name and the "We’re Proud to Say People Hate Us on Yelp" sign. If that's your thing, fine, if that's not your thing, fine. But when it comes to the sign, it strikes me as more of a self-conscious cultivation of image than anything else. The economy is tough; if this gets more people in the door than it annoys and drives away, more power to them.

            12 Replies
            1. re: finlero

              i'm with fin. i think the cupcakes are great, though i have favorite flavors and ones that don't do as much for me. i'm particularly fond of the fancy chocolate one.

              my impression is that a lot of the animus towards them is directed at the image (generated by the name as much as anything else) rather than at the product, especially when people who rant about them then go on to endorse lyndell's (as in the linked to post.) lyndell's has got to be the worst cupcake this side of a 7 year old's birthday party in far suburbia.

              (i'm sure some people dislike them solely on the basis of the product. but you know, the product is a cupcake. is there a reason people's opinions should converge here?)

              i don't mind the prices, either. given that it's an enormously expensive neighborhood, and that it's selling luxury once-in-a-while goods to people who can easily afford it, i'm inclined to be completely indifferent to $3 vs. $2 or whatever.

              1. re: autopi

                I tend to interpret the owner's persona as shy, rather than nasty.

                1. re: autopi

                  Davis is enormously expensive? Never really thought that.'ve come a long way, baby!

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    compare real estate prices for 02144 to other parts of metro boston sometime. it's not as bad as newton, back bay, cambridge, beacon hill, etc., but it's more expensive than the rest of somerville, allston/brighton, dorchester, mattapan, eastie, southie, chelsea, charlestown, jamaica plain, roxbury etc.. and part of the reason it's less expensive than cambridge in the aggregate is b/c there aren't the huge mansions in 02144 that there are in west cambridge. comparing apples-to-apples, my sense is that cambridge is still a bit more expensive--but not by much. and anyway the broader point is that rents in boston generally are high, so it should be no surprise that things like cupcakes cost more here than they would in lower rent areas.

                    re: lyndell's image--i get it, i agree for a lot of people, the authenticity of the experience is more important than the product. that's totally reasonable. i happen to not care one bit about authenticity, and think pretty much everything i've had at lyndell's is terrible, but be that as it may, you're agreeing with my point--a lot of the preferences here have nothing to do with product and everything to do with other things.

                    of course, as barmy suggests, there are also lots of people who just don't like their cupcakes. that's fine too. i like them, but you know, let a thousand flowers bloom, let the market decide, etc., etc..

                    1. re: autopi

                      Yes, I was absolutely agreeing with your point. And in fact I personally think authenticity, in a lot of matters as well as in food, is overrated.

                      I actually like the cupcakes at Lyndell's and at KAC, but I would almost always go to Lyndell's because I think it's the best value for money.

                      1. re: autopi

                        Will you be my realtor? ;)

                        Hipster or yuppie, at least Kickass seems to cultivate the aloof customer service vibe for which many places in the 02144 is renown.

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          I agree with Chickendhansak about the correlation between real estate and pricing of other items; Davis Sq and all of "West Somerville", Cambridge, Arlington and even Medford Hills are hot hot hot. Areas of Cambridge have continued to increase, albeit slightly, in this market over the past year!

                          And, Bob, I'd be happy to be your realtor as I am an agent in Davis Square. I walk by KAC every day and never see anyone in the shop! I have purchased a scone at Lyndells (see below), but it was terrible. Perhaps the cupcakes are better. I have yet to try the bread pudding at Pigs Fly, which is next to KAC. Looks good, tho!

                    2. re: autopi

                      I actually love the name, and my reaction to the place is more disappointment than vitriol. If you're gonna be ballsy enough to name your place Kickass Cupcakes, your cupcakes need to kick ass.

                      The cupcakes do not kick ass. It's really just that simple.

                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                          "Adequate Cupcakes" would be more accurate, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.

                        2. re: autopi

                          I'd like to put in a word of support for Lyndell's, borrowing your argument about image.

                          The cupcake is a prime example of a foodstuff eaten with a large helping of cultural context, and that affects the taste bigtime. Lyndell's surely make a very traditional cupcake, at more egalitarian prices. If people like this, it may be because they don't need everything turned up to eleven, and get as much satisfaction from the atmosphere of the place, and the sense of tradition and authenticity, as from the cupcake itself.

                          In short, Lyndell's pulls in the opposite direction to the (ironically rooted) modern cupcake revival. They _were_ doing it in the 50s and 60s and they are _still_ doing it, and when you have that, and a good tasting example of what in my mind ought not to be a very fancy cake (less is more and all that), then you will attract admiration.

                      1. I think someone on this board (may have been you) referred to them as S*ckass Cupcakes. I think that pretty much sums it up.