Googa Mooga is ALL SOLD OUT. Lobster Roll Rumble is ALL SOLD OUT. But there are still a few tickets available for next weeks Tasting Brooklyn, AND we’re going to have another big event announcement soon!
And it may involve this picture. 30% chance it’s Matt dressed as Cher.
In the meantime you can still only find us through the shops we wholesale to, private delivery in NYC (including event catering!), or via mailorder- Matt and I have decided not to do any weekly markets this year so we can actually see our kids on their days off. The entity and popular internet search result known as the DeKalb Market was demolished last year- and by demolished, I don’t mean “relocated” or “not open for the season just yet” or “on hiatus”. I mean big construction machines were brought onsite, everything was smashed to bits, the land was ripped up and a huge skyscraper with a Century 21 and perhaps a Jamba Juice is being put in it’s place. So PLEASE stop telling us “you haven’t been down there but have been meaning to go”, or worse yet calling us to tell us that you’re at the address but you can’t find anything but a giant hole in the ground. It’s impossible to delete DeKalb from the recesses of the internet, and Matt and I feel horrible with every single phone call we answer that involves a bunch of lost tourists or people who have traveled for over an hour on the subway just to find a big, dark hole in the ground. It’s gone forever. Don’t go there.
Will we ever have a storefront again? I can’t even think about that question right now because the only thing I can think of is blowing up buildings so they can be replaced by Jamba Juices. And what could possibly be better than blowing sh*t up? Why, blowing sh*t up to the strains of a smooth EZ listening instrumental featuring ample amount of pan flute solos, that’s what!
I’m not going to say that I’m SURE videos like this are the reason the internet was invented, but I will say that it’s highly probable. It’s still between that and this:
I really need a playlist of YouTube soundtracks. Someone get on that.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter or regularly read this blog, you may have known for a bit that there were some major life decisions going on here in the Robicelli’s household.
Heads up if you couldn’t tell, this is going to be one of my longer posts, and though it’s chock full of news and super-exciting developments, I know some of you just come here for a few laughs and dirty pictures of cupcakes. So for you speed readers, may I present this video of the Sanford & Sons theme song: press play, dance a little in your chair, then just scroll down to the bottom for flavors and get right on along with enjoying your Friday!
For the rest of you who have decided to come along for the ride- back to major life decisions!
As I’ve alluded to in the past and mentioned in countless interviews, we always said that we wouldn’t consider opening a “real store” again until our kids were in school. When we had our old shop in Bay Ridge, we barely saw our kids or each other, our marriage nearly fell apart, and true to the old saying, the store owned us more than we owned it. We were very happy running our wholesale bakery, having our stuff not in one place but in dozens of places, but people continually asked “where’s your store?” as if being a wholesaler wasn’t a legitimate direction for a bakery. We opened DeKalb last year as a sort of experiment- it let us test the waters, see how it felt to have our own retail outpost again while simultaneously running wholesale and catering, doing markets and events, writing a book, and raising two little boys while finding time to also be husband and wife.
In two weeks comes the moment we’ve been talking about in theory for almost three years as if it was some far off date that would never actually happen: our boys are starting school full-time. For years, I fully expected us at this moment to announce that we were opening a traditional brick-and-mortar store, just like every food truck or artisinal jellybean maker is pushing to do.
But here’s what I didn’t take into account in this plan: our kids are AWESOME right now, and they keep getting better. Toby is 4 and Atticus is 5, and they are bright and funny and wonderful, and we have all sorts of amazing adventures together. This summer we’ve searched for chipmunks and poked frogs with sticks, built sandcastles and bonfires, explored museums and zoos - we’re even teaching them to cook (Mommy brag: Atticus butchered his first lobster yesterday! *sniff*).
We also learned that frogs really don’t like being poked with sticks.
Thing is with kids, there’s no way to pause them. There’s no “Stay right here and don’t age at all while Mommy and Daddy build this company- we’ll be right with you once we’re set!”. And if there’s anything we’ve learned since we’ve started this company, it’s that there’s absolutely no measure of success or amount of money that is more important than the family we’ve built together.
We’ve been talking a lot about the future this month, and then once Katie died on Sunday, we sort of cemented our decision.
Robicelli’s at DeKalb Market will close next Friday, August 31st. We will not be doing any long term markets like Madison or Union Square. And we are not going to open a brick-and-mortar location.
Now this is the part where it gets mildly tricky, and I want you all to pay incredibly close attention to the next part, because I’ve been through this with people and the media before and they always get important details messed up. I’m even going to outline this as a Q&A to try to make it as clear as possible:
Q: So if you’re closing your store and not opening a new one, does this mean you’re going out of business?
A: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Not only are we continuing to wholesale to existing retail partners, but we’ve picked up over 6 more in August alone (with more to come), and will be focusing our energies on developing an alternate style of retail presence for us that will benefit our customers and small businesses. We’re also going to be packaging our hot cocoa mix this year (named one of the five best in New York!), and hopefully start shipping that along with brownies come Columbus Day weekend. See? You thought for a minute we were going to run off and go join some sort of nudist colony in Upstate New York where we’d spend our days playing hackysack and wouldn’t be driving ourselves nuts. We’re still going to be ridiculously busy- just in a different direction.
Plus, remember we were being evicted by DeKalb on September 30th anyway so they could build a giant skyscraper on the property. Progress!
Q:But why wholesale? Why not just open a cute little shop somewhere with a retro-40s motif? I mean, we really need more cupcake stores in Manhattan. There’s only, like, two in DivaliStoDi.
A: Because we honestly love being wholesalers. Let me put it like this- say we had a shop in DivaliStoDi (for all of you who aren’t real New Yorkers, that’s the “DVD and Lingerie Store District from 37th to 40th Street btwn 7th & 10th). Now if you’re from South Brooklyn like we are, you need to get on the R and schlep your butt aaaaalllll the way up there to grab them, then schlep them aaaalll the way back. And more importantly (at least to us), we’ll only employ maybe 4-6 people at that store.
However as a wholesaler, we can be almost everywhere- provided that there’s not such ridiculous traffic that our driver can’t get the product there (sorry, Midtown). Currently, we’ve got shops all across Brooklyn, parts of Manhattan, and even out in Patchogue Long Island. Best part? That’s dozens of stores hiring more people. And when people go in specifically to buy our products, they’ll start frequenting those shops for other things as well, and the stores begin to do better across the board, meaning that those small businesses stay in your neighborhood and don’t turn into a Subway. Sort of like how a monkey will bang, like, TONS of female monkeys to increase his chances of having his genes live on.
Should I have brought up promiscuous monkey sex in a post about baked goods? Probably not. But it’s really late and I have a lot more info to cover, and I’m way too tired to delete that and think of another metaphor. Plus I’ve been to the zoo twice this week and I’m having a hard time thinking about anything non-monkey related.
In a nutshell: less stress for us, better for our community, more locations for you to be stuffing your face in. Win-win-win.
Q: But without your shop, I’m not going to be able to get my hands on the whoopie pies or brownies, or the Chicken n’Waffles, or your hot cocoa once it gets cold, or all the other stuff that’s not in the rotation!
A: Many of our locations are starting to pick up the whoopies and brownies as well as the cupcakes, and if your nearest location doesn’t and that makes you sad, just ask them. Our hot cocoa is currently on the menu at Bergdorf Goodman, and we’ll be shipping bags of the mix (and putting it on store shelves) when the temperature finally drops. As for the Chicken n’Waffles and our other off-rotation flavors, they’ll still be available through our new retail model…..
Q: Ok, what the hell this “Alternate Style of Retail Presence” crap you’re talking about? Is this like another flash local artisan market like the Times was warning me about?
A: This is actually the part I’m worried about people not understanding, even though I’m sure you all shop in this way at least once a day.
Ever go to the Cellar at Macy’s and hit the little Godiva chocolate shop, or even the MAC counter? Those little “stores within stores” where brands represent themselves in a much larger retail space, where you can get lots more than just that brand alone can provide you with? Or what about when you go to a deli that sells EXCLUSIVELY Boar’s Head products, so even though Boar’s Head doesn’t own the joint, you still know you’re getting a quality product.
That’s EXACTLY what we’re going to be doing.
We’ve been quietly rolling out our cupcakes at Gourmet Guild in Williamsburg over the past few weeks, and upon the closing of DeKalb, we’ll be moving all our equipment up there and opening “Robicelli’s Williamsburg”! Not only will you be able to get all the stuff you’ve been finding at our DeKalb shop, but you’ll also be able to sit and grab coffee from the Brooklyn Roasting Company, sit on your laptop or play a board game with your kids, and then on the way out pick up some meat and pantry staples for dinner that night. The owners of this place are fantastic, and we couldn’t be more excited about piloting this program with them. Expect to see Chicken n’Waffles, Bourbon Bacon brownies, and more off-rotation flavors there.
And thanks to a year of prototyping our bakery case model at our 125 square foot space at DeKalb Market, we can now start bringing it elsewhere. Down in Park Slope, we’re taking over the dessert case at Bagel World. We’re popping our heads up in DUMBO for the first time at DUMBO Kitchen. There’s going to be more coming up over the next year. If you’ve got a business and would like to partner with us, check out our wholesale page. And as always, if there’s a place you’d like to see us in your neighborhood, tell them about us! In all the retail shops I’ve worked at, our top corporate buyer was our customers- never be afraid to give any store you shop at your input (politely!), as their goal to provide you with the best possible service.
Q: But I work in Metrotech and this Williamsburg stuff doesn’t help me! What am I supposed to do?
A: There’s no way we’d get you guys hooked and then just up and leave, Metrotech. All our stuff has moved over to Gold Street Eatery at 306 Gold, only three blocks from our current location. It’s actually there right now, so you can start making the transition before we even close. And I heavily suggest you also order the French Dip once you’re there- it’s amazing.
Q: I love seeing you and Matt! I mean, yeah, you guys were almost never at the DeKalb store, but you were there sometimes, and we liked hanging out!
A: We love hanging out with you guys too! But the problem with hanging out is that I don’t actually get any of my real work done, and as I’m currently writing a cookbook that’s due out next year, I really need to sequester myself indoors for a few more months. You’re always welcome to hang out with us virtually over Twitter, and we may be launching a few Google Hangouts over the next couple of months so you can chat with me face to face and watch as my cat eventually takes the whole thing over and plops down for a nap on the keyboard.
A: Not necessarily. It means not right at this very moment. If some big fancy financier came strolling into town and said “Hey Allison & Matt! I’d like to open up a whole chain of Robicelli’s and all you’ll have to do is bake and look pretty!”, then yeah, we’d do it. We just can’t personally handle doing any of that ourselves without contemplating arson several times a day.
In the event that scenario were to ever come true, I would like big fancy financier to be a Texan who only wears white, chews a cigar, screams “YEE-HAW!” every time he gets a good idea, and is constantly accompanied by a pet cougar. It will make meetings all the more bearable.
Q: I still have more questions that you haven’t answered yet!
A: Here they are- AND until we close, we’re doing our 2 for $5 deal every weekday at the DeKalb shop. More exciting news next week! Or pictures of monkeys doin’ it. Depends on how tired I am before I have to write the Tumblr.
Clockwise from front: Chocolate Caramel Pretzel, Bellini, Lime in de Coconut, Tres Leches
My internet came back just in time for me to see that we now have over twenty thousand Tumblr subscribers! TIME TO WANG CHUNG!
Seriously, thank you all so much for following. We’ve seen this blog grow our business, lead to opportunities with television and big events, and it’s even helped us nab a book deal. And no matter what it is that I’m writing, it’s the fact that you guys actually read this nonsense that has made the magic happen, so THANK YOU. (side note- you can follow us other places, too! Check Facebook for daily flavors and business updates, and Twitter for 10% business, 80% of me screwing around, and 10% “other”).
Now to conclude the news I began on Friday……
Next Sunday, Robicelli’s will be holding a one day only pop-up at Castello di Borghese Vineyard! In July of 2005 Matt asked me to marry him, and we celebrated with a trip to Long Island’s North Fork, with Borghese being one of our favorites. Now seven years later, we get to return as the married parents of two children, two cats, and one bakery. *sniff*
Man, I wish I hadn’t cued up that Wang Chung song so early, because I would totally cue up some Kenny Rogers right now.
Oh screw it. It’s my freaking blog- and besides now you’re all humming Kenny Rogers to yourself so let’s just do this.
Coincidentally, I’ve just realized there’s an excellent chance that in 20 years, Matt is going to look exactly like Kenny Rogers. It’s way too soon to know how I feel about this.
Now back to the point, which is that next Sunday, we’ll be at Borghese with wine inspired cupcakes, and oodles of our “absolutely so good that your eyes will roll into the back of your head” Chocolate Merlot Brownie. If you’ve been saying to your friends “You know, we should totally rent a car and take a trip to the North Fork!”, this weekend coming up is that weekend. Stop putting it off and come take over the East End with us!
You should also go out and eat some of these cupcakes RIGHT NOW, because who wants to wait for the weekend?
Clockwise from front: Root Beer Float, Chocolate Cashew, Peach Melba, Lime in de Coconut
In case you weren’t there, about 4 billion people came to DeKalb Market this weekend. We sold out of Chicken n’Waffles cupcakes by 1:30 on Saturday, and out of just about everything else by 5. We restocked the best we could for Sunday, and sold out of everything by 4.
We were expecting a good turnout- but we weren’t expecting that. I mean, we had lines out the door and going down the block at points. Bananas! Fortunately, since we’ve already baked the cupcakes the line moved really really fast, but we still felt awful telling people stuff was “sold out”, especially when they had traveled all the way down to Brooklyn to try it. And this is why…..
WE’RE GOING TO MAKE THE CHICKEN N’WAFFLES CUPCAKES AGAIN NEXT WEEKEND, TOO!!!
We never do this one two weeks in a row because as a bakery, we don’t own a fryolator and do all the chicken on a stove in a very small pot. And also because Matt comes home smelling like the dumpster of a KFC and I have to put his clothes out in the hallway, and then the neighbors complain. But no matter how long it takes us or how stinky my husband gets, we will take it to the wire next Friday night and stay til the wee hours of the morning making our famous Chicken n’Waffle cupcakes for all the good little boys and girls of NYC!
Now for the bad news- since we ran out of inventory, we’re closing today and Tuesday. We’re closed Mondays anyway for the first few weeks, but we need to take care of same back-end stuff to amp up production of all our products in the kitchen and train some of the new hands we’re taking on.
For all of you who are confused (and I’ve learned there is a lot of you), I’m going to put some more stuff in bold so you know it’s important to read. Imagine me cupping your hands into mine, staring deeply into your eyes, and saying this with so much passion and conviction that you actually start to get a little uncomfortable and you think “Is she trying to make a move on me? I mean, she’s great and all, but she’s married and this is really weird”. I promise I’m not making a move. Now you can let all that go and concentrate on what I’m saying:
DeKalb Market is open 7 DAYS A WEEK. This is not a weekend market. This is not the Flea, or Smorgasburg, or Hester Street, or the West Williamsburg Underwater Funtime Jamboree or any of that. DeKalb isn’t even really just a “market”. It’s our version of a town square- where people all over can come and eat, drink, shop, listen to music, meet their neighbors, take a workshop, engage in a project, play some games, and, at least this past weekend, pet a llama.
And our container is not our “stall”, it’s our semi-permanent flagship store. I say semi-permanent because in a year or so, DeKalb will be disassembled to make way for the eventual tallest skyscraper in Brooklyn, housing luxury apartments and retail (that has always been the plan- btw. We were built as a placeholder).
But that is the (near) future. Right NOW, some of the most creative minds in food, music, art, design, and events are coming together to create Brooklyn’s own version of Brigadoon (and if you were there this weekend, you’d know that it’s just as magical). And once the developers are finally ready, we will all move on and make room for progress.
So, you know, GO. Go often. Because when something this awesome is ephemeral, you really can’t sit home on your couch and take it for granted.
And go support these businesses around town who have these cupcakes in store today! They’ll whet your tastebuds for the upcoming weekend!
Clockwise from front: Lime in de Coconut, The Duckie, Caramel Macchiato, Tres Leches
Lime in de Coconut: Coconut lime cake & buttercream, roasted coconut, lime zest
We’ve been too caught up in crazy-ass jibbajabba lately- it’s time for a news update!
Things have been going great at our new shop at DeKalb Market, and things are about to get even freaking better. Beginning this weekend, in addition to all the cupcakes, brownies and whoopie pies, we’ll also have candy from Liddabit Sweets, stroopwaffels from The Good Batch, and more of the best marshmallows on Earth from Kitty Lee Thomas Sweets. We’ve introduced our new L’OrangeNoir brownie- made with dark and white chocolate, candied orange peel and Grand Mariner. We’re making new bourbon caramel pecan whoopies for the weekend. And if that wasn’t enough, thanks to the torrential rain storms earlier this week we ended up with a surplus of inventory at the kitchen, meaning we’ve been letting lots of cupcakes go at wholesale prices all week.
I just blew your mind, didn’t I. Why don’t you go take a break for a minute- maybe click over here and learn about unicorns or something to calm yourself down, like a sorbet for your brain. It’s cool- I’ll wait right here.
Always bringing it.
Done with the unicorns? Ok, back to us.
We’ve got a brand spanking new location in Bay Ridge! You can now grab a cupcake at Aloha Grinds on 77th and 3rd Avenue, either as an accompaniment to a freshly brewed cup of Kona coffee (roasted by local guys Brewklyn Grind), or as a dessert after some Hawaiian BBQ.
Now onto weekend plans for those of you who won’t be hitting up DeKalb Market to get diabetes and play some ping pong. This Saturday is the Delicious Sandwich Social in Prospect Park, which is sort of like a “Secret Santa” for sandwiches……pretty much, you make a sandwich, cut it in half, put it in a bag and then pick out half a “mystery sandwich” to eat. You have to eat half the sandwich you brought as well, so don’t think of being that jerk who brings a peanut butter, anchovy and Lego sandwich just to watch some poor schmuck have to eat it. But if by chance you do get a peanut butter, anchovy and Lego sandwich and survive, you’ll be rewarded dearly since Cupcakes Take the Cake is supplying the event with a whole bunch of our cupcakes for your desserting pleasure.
And finally, we’ve got two new events to announce:
We are honored to have been asked to participate in City Harvest’s Brooklyn Local Fundraiser on September 17th, and will also be parking ourselves in the middle of Manhattan for an ENTIRE MONTH for this fall’s Madison Square Eats! Because I’ve decided the three hours of sleep a night I’m currently getting is FAR TOO MUCH!!!
I just gave you a lot to take in- you’re probably already wiped. Maybe you should go out and get a cupcake and relax?
Clockwise from front: Lime in da Coconut, Romeo y Juliet, Hot Sunday, McFadden
NEW!!! Lime in da Coconut: Lime and coconut rum cake & buttercream, roasted coconut and lime zest
Romeo y Juliet: Guava cake, cream cheese buttercream, guava puree
Hot Sunday: Chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream, chocolate fudge, maraschino cherry
McFadden: Victorian lemonade cake and buttercream made with a splash of Pimm’s, hand candied lemon peel