Crumbs has opened in the Shaker Building, where Barbara’s used to be, right next door to Potbelly.
On Saturday, January 7, Crumbs gave away 1,000 free cupcakes; there was a long line out front for most of the day. People will queue up for anything that’s free, though at $4 or so a piece, these cupcakes are comparatively high-value and thus may merit a few minutes in line.
I went the following Sunday and had the Candy Cupcake (pictured). It was pretty darn good, but because I’m trying to minimize the gluten products I consume, I had to dump it after trying just half (okay, maybe a little over just half).
When I was there, mid-afternoon, the storefront was filled with people waiting to buy cupcakes. This seems like a concept with a lot of appeal in Oak Park.
Crumbs is a franchise operation that started in Manhattan (which is why some cupcakes have names like “Artie Lange” and “Baba Booey,” references to Howard Stern sidekicks that will likely not resonate with many of the young girls who were waiting in line for cupcakes the day I was there).
Crumbs has around 200 locations, including Chicago, and the spread of the business has been fueled by a trend (now slightly fading) toward “gourmet cupcakes.”
Crumbs is growing fast; it trades on Nasdaq.
We certainly do have a lot of bakeries in downtown Oak Park now: in addition to Crumbs, there’s Bleeding Heart, Cheryl’s (also recently opened, right next to Lake Theater), Bruegger’s, and Sugar Fixe. Oak Park is becoming quite the place for baked goods and Asian food.