Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Cupcake Bakery in Chicago!

A new bakery in the Block37 mall just opened in Chicago not too long ago. The bakery is called Magnolia Bakery and it was originally opened in New York City’s Greenwich Village. They are infamous for their delicious cupcakes and other yummy treats. And last Friday, my roommate Rosalie and I finally had a chance to try out what the new Chicago chaos was about.

Before I made my visit, I did the usual review look up on And what I found was that the Chicago location wasn’t rated that well compared to the original one in New York City. It had a lot of negative reviews rather than positive. And a few friends of mine that have already been there, pretty much had the same negative response as well. So I wanted to just check out this place myself.

At the Block37 mall, most stores have two entrances, one through the mall and one through the front (outside on State St.). In the reviews, someone mentioned about these entrances and how it might be a little confusing. The line forms through the front entrance, so when you go through the mall entrance you might think the line starts as you enter. Rosalie and I were already in the mall; we came through the mall entrance and like how the reviews said it was confusing! As we entered, there was a long line wrapped around towards the front. And walking down, people may give you mean looks thinking you are going to cut them in line! 

As you wait, you get to see the many employees bake the cupcakes. The line wasn’t too bad but when we finally were about to order, we noticed that none of the cupcakes were labeled. Not only that, but there were not that many flavors to select from, and most of them were plain flavored cupcakes.

We asked this one lady behind the counter to inform us the kinds of flavors they had today, and she seemed like she wasn’t aware of the flavors. She talked really softly and every time she would name a cupcake, she would turn her head slightly to the side, as if she didn’t know what she was talking about. We asked her what type of flavor was the icing on one cupcake and I swear she responded, “Its icing.” Rose and I told her to speak up but she clearly was not very knowledgeable of the cupcakes. Finally, another worker that was just frosting a new batch of cupcakes came to the front and gave us a brief description of each cupcake. She was much more helpful than the other lady, and knew what she was talking about. Honestly, if you work at a bakery or any place in fact, you should know your product well. Otherwise, don’t stand there behind the counter and think that nobody will ask simple questions like that, especially when there is no labeling on the cupcakes.

Anyways, Rosalie chose two cupcakes: plain chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and ‘the hummingbird’, which was a banana cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans on top. I, too, bought the hummingbird and I decided to try their banana pudding, on the reviews many people had recommended it. I was a little disappointed because I really was hoping to try their pumpkin cupcake, but they didn’t have any that day. Each cupcake was pretty pricey for the size you get. Plain cupcakes are $3.00 and specialty cupcakes are $3.50. The small banana pudding was $4.50, it also comes in a large size too (not too sure the price of that).

When we were paying, Rose and I had separate cashiers, and of course my cashier was so rude. She didn’t even have a smile on and all I felt was a very unfriendly vibe. My total came up to be almost $10. I honestly was so irritated at that point that I only hoped for the cupcake to be at least okay. The bakery had mini tables spread throughout the bakery, and luckily we were able to find a spot to sit at. To my surprise, I actually really liked both things that I chose. The banana cupcake was very moist and the cream cheese frosting helped to add flavor to the cupcake. I also really liked how they topped it with pecans too. The banana pudding was delicious! It came in a small ice-cream shaped container that was filled up and enough for two people. At first, the pudding looked almost like frosting, but as I placed that spoonful in my mouth, I was in heaven. It was a sweet, but not too sweet dessert. It had the right texture, and was very filling. Rose’s on the other hand, her chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting was not good at all. The cake was very dry and fell apart very easily. Even just peeling off the cupcake liner, it looked dry. The frosting, however, was very light and not the usual thick frosting. Rose actually liked the frosting part, but I thought since the cake was too dry, they should have added more frosting to it since the frosting was not as heavy.

Overall, Rose and I decided that out of the two, the ‘the hummingbird’ was definitely our favorite. I would probably recommend the specialty cupcakes, rather than the plain ones. They didn’t really have much of a selection to choose from. There were probably like 5 different flavors to choose from, and only one or two specialty cupcakes. I would rate my visit a 2.5 out of 5. I gave it half stars because the customer service was very poor but the cupcakes I bought were all right. I don’t think I wouldn’t necessary recommend this place to anyone and it’s definitely not worth the wait either. This place is always busy and disorganized. I wonder how long the lines will take to eventually cool down.

Well until next time cupcake lovers!

Nancy <3

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