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Kickass Cupcakes is sensitive to criticism

BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 20, 2009 03:13 PM

From a post found on Universal Hub this afternoon:

http://thebostonfoodie.blogspot.com/2...

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. galleygirl RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 20, 2009 03:34 PM

    Why do I think the guy is a lawyer?

    1. SaraASR RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 20, 2009 04:18 PM

      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
        BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: SaraASR May 20, 2009 06:03 PM

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

        1. re: SaraASR
          c
          chilibaby RE: SaraASR May 21, 2009 05:21 AM

          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
            Prav RE: SaraASR May 21, 2009 07:57 AM

            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
              yumyum RE: Prav May 21, 2009 08:13 AM

              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
                Suze123 RE: yumyum May 22, 2009 07:29 AM

                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. finlero RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 21, 2009 07:27 AM

            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
              a
              autopi RE: finlero May 21, 2009 08:05 AM

              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
                enhF94 RE: autopi May 21, 2009 08:10 AM

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

                1. re: autopi
                  Bob Dobalina RE: autopi May 21, 2009 08:35 AM

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

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina
                    a
                    autopi RE: Bob Dobalina May 21, 2009 09:12 AM

                    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
                      chickendhansak RE: autopi May 21, 2009 09:16 AM

                      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
                        Bob Dobalina RE: autopi May 21, 2009 09:18 AM

                        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
                          Suzieg RE: Bob Dobalina May 22, 2009 05:41 PM

                          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
                      BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: autopi May 21, 2009 08:55 AM

                      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
                        pamalamb RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 22, 2009 09:41 AM

                        Amen!

                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                          t
                          the modern serf RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 28, 2009 09:09 PM

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

                        2. re: autopi
                          chickendhansak RE: autopi May 21, 2009 09:04 AM

                          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. re: chickendhansak
                            gansu girl RE: chickendhansak May 22, 2009 09:06 AM

                            well said!

                      2. g
                        Gabatta RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 21, 2009 07:32 AM

                        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.

                        1. jgg13 RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 21, 2009 08:31 AM

                          There was a thread on this over on Yelp:
                          http://www.yelp.com/topic/boston-glad...

                          1. b
                            BackBayGirl RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 24, 2009 11:10 AM

                            This part annoys me..."Here's a new twist. In the past few months there has been somewhat of a backlash against online sites such as Chowhound and Yelp where anyone with a mouth and a keyboard, basically, can fancy themselves a restaurant critic." So because one is not a "critic" working for a media outlet or if you're not a professional chef means your opinion doesn't count or isn't worthy? Um, who frequents the establishments??? US! Who do you need to cater to??? US!! If WE don't go to your establishment, will you continue to be in business? NO! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For sites like Chowhound and Yelp, the point is to read over all of the opinions, and you usually will start to see a majority in opinions. Yes, there will be some people who like a place and some people who don't. BUT, if the majority of people are saying a place is bad, you can usually expect the place to be bad and as an owner, you might want to take that seriously if you want to make money & have people come. Personally, I'm not going to rely on Boston Magazine or Improper or any of those other rags to tell me a place is good. That's all advertising $ talking. We are the real people who don't have to please advertisers, so I'd more likely rely on people on Chowhound or Yelp to give honest feedback. Yes, you'll have a few bad apples in the bunch who just bash places or overly hype places & can't give reasons why they dislike or like a place, but for the most part, if you're intelligent and can read between the lines, you can figure which reviews are doing that versus ones w/ honest feedback from actual clients of the establishment who do not have an agenda.

                            1. t
                              the modern serf RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 28, 2009 09:10 PM

                              Have anyone's pets had the dog/cat cupcakes? On the one hand, I find the very concept of a $3 dog treat ludicrous. On the other hand, I'm turing into an insane pet owner.

                              1. Guilty Glutton RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jun 11, 2009 12:38 AM

                                I'm not sure why people have such a visceral dislike of Kickass Cupcakes. I usually don't like cupcakes, finding them too blunt (cheap frosting and boring batter), but Kickass Cupcakes were fantastic. The mojito cupcake was one of the most memorable deserts I tried this year (granted, I like anything with rum in it).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Guilty Glutton
                                  c
                                  ChocolateMilkshake RE: Guilty Glutton Jun 11, 2009 05:44 AM

                                  G.G. - I love cupcakes, but I gave this place three chances over a matter of months. I went different times of the day and tried a variety of their product. Each time the cupcake itself was dry and the frosting unmemorable. Add to that their customer disdain in both price and attitude and the fact that I (and anyone, actually) can make better cupcakes themselves, means that I will be giving them a pass. Which is a shame really, because they're 5 minutes from my house and if they were any good, I'd be their biggest customer.

                                2. s
                                  somervilleoldtimer RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Oct 16, 2010 02:34 PM

                                  I'm not a vegan, but I can heartily recommend the chocolate vegan cupcakes at the Sherman Cafe on Washington Street in Union Square. A vegan friend pressed a bite on me, and it was great!

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