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Scoop From TonyC--85°C Café Opening Branch in Hacienda Heights This Summer

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Since they opened their Irvine store a little over two years ago I've wondered why 85°C Café hadn't also established a foothold in the San Gabriel Valley. When they first opened there were literally lines out the door of people just waiting for the privilege of purchasing their baked goods. Since I don't get to Irvine that often I figured I better wait in line too, even though I don't believe in lining up for food. At the time I thought the line-up was due to looky loos wanting to try out the new bakery, and that things would eventually settle down. Wrong. To this day there's a continuous line of people waiting to get into 85°C. Now as far as the lack of a SGV branch goes, I guessed perhaps they didn't want to pay for the traffic control that would be necessitated by a SGV location, but I guess they were just biding their time. The corner of Azusa and Colima is going to be very very congested in a couple of months.

http://la.eater.com/archives/2011/05/...

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  1. I believe this has been rumored for about a year now. Had to work through the Byzantine labyrinth that is City Hall zoning permit schemes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      yeah the rumor has been around awhile....azusa/colima suck pretty bad already :(

    2. They originally wanted the space in the Earthern/99 Ranch that I think used to be an El Torito but that didn't work out. Apparantly, the owners of the Irvine location didn't expect business to be SO booming which is why that bakery's setup doesn't seem to accomodate its massive clientele very well and it looks like there's nowhere for that location to expand. The lines look akin to getting into a popular club!

      1. Does anyone if the location is going to open pretty soon or have an exact date when it's going to open?

        8 Replies
        1. re: silverplego

          still not open? bummer!

          1. re: dlew308

            I've sent 2 emails to the PR rep in TPE, to no avail... *shrug*

            1. re: TonyC

              I drove by yesterday...no signs yet but looks almost done.

              1. re: dlew308

                August 13. Who's gonna line up?

                1. re: TonyC

                  Not me. This will be the real Carmageddon.

                  http://la.eater.com/archives/2011/07/...

                  1. re: TonyC

                    I kinda sorta have to. Which means I will be observing the chaos, documenting the lines and...

                    Promises to be a long day in RH for me. Think I'll take a lawn chair, sunscreen and get some teas to drink while kicking back to watch it all unfold.

                    1. re: JThur01

                      I went to several locations in Shanghai where usage is normal and feel no need to go back here.

                      1. re: dharmathug

                        The ones here are probably different then in Asia. I never even noticed them in Taiwan. They're more known for their breads here then the drinks.

          2. Can somebody explain why this bakery is so popular? What does it offer that is unique and what stands out among this chain?

            17 Replies
            1. re: Johnny L

              I'd say it's a combo of the fame of the parent in Taiwan, the hype (2000 Yelp reviews) and unusual good bakery items (e.g., giant purple taro bun). But I'm not going to wait in a line of 100 people for the stuff.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                I like the custard brioche bread, but everything I can find just about everywhere else in SGV.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  What about their coffees, i.e. their "sea salt latte"?

                  1. re: JThur01

                    Really? Would you really go to 85C just for that/

                    Can't you just bring your own sea salt to Starbucks, or better yet to a place with an Intelligentsia setup?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I didn't like the sea salt latte. I do enjoy their coffee jelly milk tea...yummy

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Would I?, no. It doesn't come off like some of the stuff I truly drive for and I haven't been to the Irvine location. That's why I asked.

                        There must be some reason(s) why the Irvine one is so packed to the point of sometime traffic nightmare. Any idea beyond the purple taro bread, custard brioche and coffee jelly milk tea.

                        I surely hope so as I am sort of committed to opening day.

                        1. re: JThur01

                          The reason they are packed--style of pastries are light and with lots of butter and great taste. Many unusual flavors such as taro and the squid ink garlic bun is outstanding. Most of the baked goods are extremely reasonable in price. The other thing is it is so small a line will always form. It moves quickly however and they are very efficient. Almost as good as NYC for speed.

                          1. re: JThur01

                            enter thru the church lot and park in the structure, less headaches ^_^
                            I only go there on trips to the OC, the drink lines aren't as long as lollicup's lines.
                            Even guppy house is crowded there, just not much choice for the UCI kids ;)

                            1. re: JThur01

                              There must be some reason(s) why the Irvine one is so packed to the point of sometime traffic nightmare. Any idea beyond the purple taro bread, custard brioche and coffee jelly milk tea.

                              ______________________________________

                              Feng Shui.

                          2. re: JThur01

                            I thought it was OK. If I was in the area and there was no line, I might stop in for one. However, I found the condition of the espresso station to be most unappealing. Dirty beyond belief.

                        2. re: Chandavkl

                          I don't see this as much in Taiwan, but this scenario reminds me of the Korean/Japanese penchant for queuing for hours for what turns out to be painfully ordinary food. Good food perhaps, but not worth the wait. My wife's Taichung parents would be baffled to see hour long waits and lines out the door of an 85c shop since it's really an ordinary bakery/teahouse chain in Taiwan. As others have said, it's not like there's a shortage of good to very good bakeries and teahouses all over the SGV. Consider me one of the befuddled. (Though that custard brioche sounds awfully good, ipse)

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            Could say the exact same thing about Din Tai Fung.

                            -----
                            Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                            1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Six years ago I would have disagreed with you. No longer.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Time wisens us all.

                            2. re: Mr Taster

                              I would say its a combination of hype that Asians tend to buy into such as the hype for Boiling Crab. Honestly I would think that the mentality of having a popular chain come over from Asia is a big deal in itself to most people who might be yearning for a misplaced sense of "home"?

                              People can be strange in that they always want what they can't easily get.

                              1. re: Johnny L

                                Most of their clientele (in Irvine anyway) are folks who have never been to the 85C in Taiwan, with a large part being second generation Gen-Y'ers.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  It's called retro-acculturation... a more refined version of Azn Pride... ;)

                                  --Dommy!

                        3. Only an hour and a half wait to get into the bakery? Sounds tame. I was expecting a riot.

                          http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            Everyone was remarkably cheerful and well behaved. It was like a crowd waiting in line for a movie. They knew they'd be getting some taro buns, and I guess that was enough. Wonder what this will do for drink sales at Guppy House?

                            -----
                            Guppy House
                            17188 Colima Rd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

                            1. re: JThur01

                              The taro buns are unquestionably good, but I think the versions at Chiffon de Pasty (sic) Art in Arcadia are just as good, with no waiting.

                            2. re: Chandavkl

                              We went Saturday afternoon, the wait wasn't overly long. The line did grow long after we arrived. But sadly, not much bread was left, they couldn't get em out fast enough and I wasn't waiting 40mins for the mocha bread. I got some other breads and my favorite coffee jelly milk tea drink.

                            3. 85°C Café was just written up in the latest issue of Westways. Just great! Now I'll never see the inside of the Rowland Heights branch.

                              1. According to Yelp, the HH location opens at 7am (except for Sundays when it's 8am). Does anyone here know if getting there early (i.e. before 8) is a good way to beat the crowds? Because I'm thinking of integrating it into a morning bike ride through the hills there but really don't want to stand around waiting for an hour in cleats.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Bradbury

                                  I've heard that works in Irvine.

                                  1. re: Bradbury

                                    A coworker of mine who lives in the area has been going there early on her way to work. She says that the selection is limited that early in the morning. Some of the more popular buns don't come out until around 9-9:30am.