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Hello Cupcake, Owner Penny Karas on Connecticut Avenue in South Dupont Circle - Barracks Row Location Has Come And Gone - Closed


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I feel like the resurgence of the cupcake could be stemmed from nostalgia and possibly the "Lazy Sunday" sketch from SNL a few years ago in which Magnolia Bakery's cupcakes were prominently featured. Whatever the case, this place is opening across the street from my office, so this spells trouble for us all....

ETA: Apparently the owner is Greek, so NEXT ON THE LINE FOR CUPCAKES!!!

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I don't get where all this cupcake bitterness is coming from. I do think the general cupcake bashing should be in its own thread, however. (Give the guys a chance, willya?)

I, for one, love them, and it's not because I ever got to eat them in my youth so it is certainly not nostalgia. After looking at Hello Cupcake's website, I'm looking forward to their opening and conducting several taste tests!

The Ingredients: Only the finest and freshest. Real citrus zests, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, fine chocolates and cocoas, fresh eggs, real creamery butter, crunchy nuts. And no shortening. Ever.
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While I'm not usually that huge on the cupcake trend. I fully agree we need more dessert places in DC. Also, I think HelloCupcake with its good metro location and interesting variety of flavors has a good chance at being a hit. It looks like they gave considerable thought to coming up with a mix of traditional and innovative flavors. Kudos for good website design too. Now I'm hungry and can't wait till they open.

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i wish them the best of luck, how in the world they plan on paying DC rents, selling 4 dollar cupcakes is beyond me, They would have been better going to NYC for the same rent and a gazillion more people walking by night and day. Get em quick , they be gone in a flash.

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i wish them the best of luck, how in the world they plan on paying DC rents, selling 4 dollar cupcakes is beyond me, They would have been better going to NYC for the same rent and a gazillion more people walking by night and day. Get em quick , they be gone in a flash.

Even though DC retail rents are high (and Conn. Ave. around Dupont has some of the highest), Manhattan retail rents are typically 2-4 times higher. And Krispy Kreme seems to be doing fine selling for less than $4 right across the street...

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Even though DC retail rents are high (and Conn. Ave. around Dupont has some of the highest), Manhattan retail rents are typically 2-4 times higher. And Krispy Kreme seems to be doing fine selling for less than $4 right across the street...

Actually, thats the rub, i've been scouting the dc market for retail space for over a year, honestly the rents are the same in certain parts of NYC. Its crazy, retail rents have topped 100 psf after maintenance and taxes in DC. Krispy Kreme is a differet story, just because the are open doesnt mean they are making money, every chain has a flagship that loses money and you can bet its the Dupont store.

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Penny of Hello Cupcake very generously delivered TWO DOZEN cupcakes to our office today around 4 PM, which was masterful timing, because the moment I sent out the email to some of our attorneys and staff, it was like a Lord-of-the-Flies-esque rush to my desk to get cupcakes. It was quite possibly the funniest thing I have seen in a while.

Among the flavors sent included the 'Heart of Darkness' (chocolate), 'You Tart!' (lemon), 'Princess' (vanilla w/ pink frosting), Triple Coconut, and 24 Carrot cupcakes. I had the opportunity to sample the coconut and carrot cake cupcakes and liked both of those quite a bit. The cream cheese frosting is very rich, but the cakes are quite light and airy, unlike another purveyor of pastries. Also, my carrot cake sample had a big ol' chunk of walnut, which I'm a fan of. The only miss seemed to be the chocolate one, but it's early on enough that there's plenty of time to fix that.

They're also going to be serving coffee and other drinks in the store, so I think it's going to be a very welcome addition in our neighborhood.

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I stopped by today over lunch and I can't say that I was impressed. I tried the You Tart! which was dry but the lemon frosting was nice and not overly sweet. I also tried the Prima Donna (chocolate cake w/ strawberry buttercream frosting) and didn't like the frosting (think toothpast consistency but strawberry flavored) but the cake was moist. They only had about half of the cupcakes they listed on the menu b/c people were buying them by the box.

I covered the opening and posted about 7 pictures on Panache Nosh: http://panachenosh.blogspot.com/

Fox News was there covering a piece on the 'recession' which will air tonight at 6pm.

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I went across the street from the office to meet up with my girlfriend while she waited in line to get her first cupcake from the establishment, and of course, I began receiving death stares from the 20 some odd ladies in line for cupcakes. Not one to incite a riot among cupcake-fiending ladies, I promptly made it clear that I was not in line but merely waiting for my girlfriend to buy a few cakes.

I should note that the store had run out of cupcakes at around 2 PM and had to shut down for a bit to prepare the 2nd batch that was due to come out at 3 PM. When I grew tired of waiting for the cupcakes to be put on display and went back to my office to wait, it was now 3:15 PM and the line had stretched up Connecticut to the Suntrust.

15 minutes, the gf called with the cupcakes and I had a chance to sample the seasonal flavor - the root beer float. The root beer cake is really nice, but again, it struck me as a bit dry. But the flavor was root-beery and not completely overpowering. The vanilla cream cheese was nice and not tooth-achingly sweet. The gf simply described her peanut-butter cup cupcake as "so yummy" so she was clearly happy.

I'm looking forward to letting the lines die down, but so far, I think HC has been pretty good. I think I could do with less frosting, but that's my humble opinion.

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I phoned at 2:30 to find out if the line was still 50ppl deep, and was told that they had run out of cupcakes but had a new batch coming out at 3pm. So I walked down there thinking if they ran out, maybe I wouldn't be waiting so long! I got on line around 2:50, and watched as everyone waited and waited, seeing the 'cakes sitting on the counter but no movement. I guess they were waiting for more flavors to come out of the oven. And by the time we could purchase, the 4 item limit was in effect.

Guess it was around 3:20 or so when they started selling and the line started moving. I ended up purchasing 4, so I could bring them back to the office and taste a bit of each. Actually, since they handed samples out while we waited in line, I got to taste 5. Listed in order of favorite to least.

Hello Cupcake Original--Chocolate or Vanilla cake, chocolate or vanilla buttercream frosting and colorful confetti sprinkles.While the cake on this one was a bit drier than the others,**the frosting was a nice complement and made up for any lacking. I had the vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. Now THIS is what I would definitely go back for. It really was my favorite type of chocolate frosting...kind of fudgy tasting.

**ETA...I brought a taste home for my husband, and snuck another bit of cake...by itself without frosting. This time I could taste the sublety that was lost on the cupcake as a whole. The cake tasted like a very light delicate and delicious sponge. Quite nice on it's own, but with the icing the flavor was hidden and appeared to be not as moist. Still my favorite, though next time I might just eat it deconstructed! :lol:

You Tart!--sassy lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. This was the sample I had while waiting in line. Cake was very moist, and the frosting was light and fluffy. The frosting had a very nice tartness to it, but the lemon cake was not a very strong flavor, I wouldn't have chosen sassy to describe it at all, but it was very refreshing and I would have chosen this as my first choice if I hadn't ever tried the chocolate frosting on the original.

Heart of Darkness--Deep dark moist devil's food cake toppped with a chocolate ganache frosting and real chocolate sprinkles. The cake was definitely moist and tasty, but the ganache paled for me in comparison to the HC original.

Triple Coconut--Coconut cake, coconut cream cheese frosting, crunchy toasted coconut topping.Now I love a good toasted coconut cake, but this one just did not have the enough flavor. It was neither here nor there. (ETA..my husband liked this one very much, but said it had too much frosting. That's where we differ)

Root Beer Float--flavor of the month. My least favorite. Too strong root beer flavor--almost too birch beer like and not very balanced. Kind of medicinal. Cream cheese frosting was a bit pasty and just didn't do it for me.

Those of you expecting to stop by on your way home from work I doubt will see the lines shorten much, if any. I'll wait for the newness to wear off, or will special order the minis for our next office party and that way won't have to wait in line at all!

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I got one of the last four cupcakes. They ran out precisely at closing time, 7 p.m.

During the 30 minutes I hung around there, the line of 40-deep people consisted almost entirely of women the exact same age and height. Weird.

All they had left for me was the triple coconut. I'm not a member of the coconut fan club, but I will say the cake was pretty moist. I do not subscribe to the recent cupcake mania, but I would be willing to go back and try other flavors.

The owners told us the moved 2800 cupcakes on the first day. Nicely done.

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I don't know if this was the case when they opened, but they are limiting the purchases to four per person. Smart move.

The cake on the one that I tried - the root beer float was a little on the dry side for me. The frosting was pretty delicious, and unlike most, I think I prefer less frosting than what is on them. I dipped my finger into some of the frosting left on the box from a peanut butter blossom and it was delicious. I couldn't say as much for the strawberry or peppermint Penny, which I found a little bit bland.

I DID have a bite of my friend's gluten-free lemon, since he has celiac. It had a muffin-like texture, but I think when you're craving anything that resembles cupcake that's still pretty good. I think I would almost have preferred his cupcake texture compared to the one I tried. So seriously, if you know someone who has celiac, I'd point them in this direction and have them call ahead to make sure they have them and ask where they are. When we went the gluten frees were sitting in the back office, but since we called ahead we could tell the folks behind the counter.

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I DID have a bite of my friend's gluten-free lemon, since he has celiac. It had a muffin-like texture, but I think when you're craving anything that resembles cupcake that's still pretty good. I think I would almost have preferred his cupcake texture compared to the one I tried. So seriously, if you know someone who has celiac, I'd point them in this direction and have them call ahead to make sure they have them and ask where they are. When we went the gluten frees were sitting in the back office, but since we called ahead we could tell the folks behind the counter.

I tried to get a gluten free one for my wife on the way home yesterday, but they were already out (they were almost out of everything around 6:00, mostly coconut left). Buzz's GF cupcakes are the current standard to be measured by, so hopefully Hello's will at least match that, and it will be nice to have them so much closer to home. CakeLove also does GF, but, well, you know ...

I had the root beer one. The cake could have been moister, and I did get the almost medicinal flavor lingering, but I liked the "bite" that it had. Frosting was really good, but piled on a bit to high. I had to lick some of it off before I could even take a bite. Cupcakes are nothing that I would eat every day, and the price is a little steep, but for an occasional treat on the way home from work I like this place a lot. I'll just have to be sure to get there early enough to snag a peanut butter one

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We got cupcakes here today after our dentist appointment (where we were both complimented on our superb oral hygiene :lol:). There was a smallish line -- maybe 8 people out the door, plus the line inside -- and we were questioning how dumb we were for standing in line for cupcakes (after our iPhone...experience...lines are a source of true hatred for us), but the nice gentleman in front of us assured us that, indeed, it would be worth it. He worked in the area and had gotten cupcakes from Hello Cupcake several times, it seemed, so we discussed flavors a bit while waiting in line. By the time we got to the front, we were maybe 3 people past when they started rationing people to 6 cupcakes/person, which made me sad. They wouldn't even sell us a 7th cupcake to eat in the shop! At any rate, we got our cupcakes and a drink and sat down to sample. They were good -- really good. Tripewriter tried the peanut butter one, of which I got a taste -- peanut buttery, but light. Neither heavy nor cloying. I was glad that I held one in reserve for a later date! I had the chocolate and coconut one -- lovely. There was a slightly odd taste to the buttercream, perhaps, or maybe it was a remnant of having someone in latex gloves poking around in my mouth for half an hour. The texture was great -- light, again, and not at all greasy. The cupcake was beautifully moist.

One added, and unexpected, bonus was that -- despite their deceptively small size -- these cupcakes are seriously filling. One and a beverage was absolutely enough to completely sate two people who hadn't had lunch.

We have a 12-year-old boy coming to visit tomorrow, so I can't imagine that we'll get to try many more of the flavors we chose, but I'd say that this place is definitely worth another trip into town.

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I made the first visit today about 3ish... line was maybe about 6-8 people out the door... no limitations on the number of cupcakes... very few people staying to eat there. Most were carrying 4-packs... with some getting 6-packs (or multiple 6-packs). I got 2 originals (vanilla on chocolate, chocolate on vanilla; vanilla gorilla (banana bread), and 24 carrot. My gf and I consumed a couple of them (the vanilla on chocolate and the 24 carrot). Both very moist... nice icing (and I'm not a big icing fan), and not too sweet. When I left about 15-20 minutes later, the line was closer to 20-25 people out the door.

They were out of peanut butter blossom and black and white, which were the other two I wanted to try. They had a lot of vegan selections available today. One minor gripe is that the 4-pack box seems too big for the cupcakes... I couldn't get them home without a couple of them falling over in the box or into each other.... perhaps they need little inserts in the boxes to keep them still?

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One minor gripe is that the 4-pack box seems too big for the cupcakes... I couldn't get them home without a couple of them falling over in the box or into each other.... perhaps they need little inserts in the boxes to keep them still?
I had an insert in my box. Maybe they were out or they just decided not to set it up. I found that with my inserts, the frosting still ended up getting smeared all over the insert, and made it hard to pull them out of the box. And I hand carried them flat. They're just... messy.
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We, too, had an insert and didn't notice any problems with frosting spreadage -- of course, we haven't opened the boxes since yesterday, so we may have some humidity-induced melting going on without our knowing. Think my boss will buy it if I tell her I have to go home to check on my cupcakes?

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I had an insert in my box. Maybe they were out or they just decided not to set it up. I found that with my inserts, the frosting still ended up getting smeared all over the insert, and made it hard to pull them out of the box. And I hand carried them flat. They're just... messy.
I agree with synaesthesia that even with the insert, the cupcakes were messy to pull out of the box. I think the inserts were way bigger than the cupcake, both in diameter and almost in height.

But still, I had to join in the festivities of a new opening and follow the masses. At 3:30pm on a Saturday afternoon, the line was about 10 people long, with another 15 following after. The line was almost (1 person short) to the door when I left. Most of the flavors were out, it seems like, with only You Tart! (gluten-free and regular), Vanilla gorilla, 24 carrot, Triple Coconut, Vanilla with Strawberry Buttercream, and Peanut butter Blossom (vegan) flavors available. Bought a pack of 4 of the You Tart! (gluten-free), Vanilla gorilla, 24 carrot, and Strawberry, and ate the You Tart! with gebaby at the store. There was no limits set on number of cupcakes purchasable at 1-time that I noticed.

Gebaby rejected the frosting for whatever reason. It was a nicely flavored lemon cream cheese frosting, but may have been too rich for him in taste. I had to take some of it off myself. The cake is denser than G'town cupcakes, and I think that may be why it tastes dry to some folks. I think the cake had a good lemon tartness to it. Will see how the others fared after it sits awhile.

ETA: Tried the 24 Carrot 5 1/2 hrs after buying. Again, I think because it's a cream cheese frosting, it was too rich and much for me. I like the texture and heartiness of the cupcake, and because it's dense, it's not as moist as one might expect a cupcake to be. Just my $3. :lol:

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Stopped by Hello Cupcake today and I was pretty impressed. Nice design, friendly staff and awesome cupcakes. My wife, my boys and I all picked one to eat in the shop we and then we took a dozen to a friend's barbecue. They were a big hit on all accounts.

I like how they have all of the classic flavors and also some fun, adventurous flavors.

Great addition to Dupont Circle and absolutely no help in my resolution to get in better shape.

jared rager | owner

sonoma restaurant and wine bar | sonomadc.com

redwood restaurant and bar | redwoodbethesda.com

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I don't get it.

I mean, they smell great, and look great, and all the employees are upbeat and perky and pretty and Very Serious About The Cupcakes... but the cupcakes are pretty darn uninspiring. the lime/coconut was inedible. The coffee one had good frosting (I don't like frosting) but dry cake. I had a bite and set it aside. The vegan peanut butter ... was probably the best of the bunch. The carrot one was merely ok.

At $3 a pop, I'm going to try throwing blandishments at porcupine instead, if I find myself in dire need of a cupcake.

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I was really prepared to hate this place, especially after some so-so experiences at Georgetown Cupcake and then plunking down $12 for a box of 4 cupcakes from here.... but I have to admit they were actually quite good. I tried some or all of the (1) carrot cake ("24 carrot") (2) vanilla cake/chocolate frosting and (3) chocolate with peanut butter frosting ("peanut butter blossom").

I happen to prefer a 1:1 frosting to cake ratio, so I liked that aspect. The cake was moist in all the ones I tried, but not too sweet, so it was a nice balance with the frosting. Maybe I just got there at the right time.

The only one I didn't care for was the peanut butter one; there wasn't anything wrong with it, but adventurous cupcake flavors don't really appeal to me. I grew up eating cupcakes from Italian bakeries in NJ, where your choices were basically vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, and vice versa.

I went around 6 pm on Saturday so no line to speak of and they had a decent selection of flavors - probably about 4 others in addition to the ones above.

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I really enjoyed the Peppermint Penny cupcake I had last weekend. It appears that the batches can be hit or miss, according to what Jamie said above, but in general, mine was very moist chocolate cake and the frosting was very refreshing, esp. with the fresh mint leaf on top.

Hey I got gipped! I had the Peppermint Penny Thursday and it didn't have the fresh mint leaf :lol:

I bought a dozen for my boss' bday, so everyone could have a taste. We shared the 24 carrot, vanilla w/choc icing, choc with white choc icing, triple coconut and choc wwith pb icing. Of the ones I tasted, the 24 carrot was really really good, moist and full of flavor. My favorite, the vanilla with choc icing, was a bit drier than the one I had before, but I still like it the best. The chocolate, while moist, does not have quite enough chocolate flavor for me. Everyone really enjoyed the pb iced choc cake, and the choc with white choc icing as well. All in all, they were a hit. My Peppermint cupcake, was good, just not enough intense flavor for me. (I'm a York PP fiend--slightly frozen, of course)

My guess is that it is probably more a timing issue, than inconsistency from batch to batch. As they bake several batches throughout the day, it appears if one gets a cake from an earlier batch it could have a significant effect on one's level of satisfaction with the dessert.

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Did you call the doctor?

Thank you for the biggest laugh I've had all week.

Syn, I've found that their cream cheese frosting just doesn't taste that good. My fave is the Princess: vanilla cake, strawberry frosting, pink glittery sprinkles. Perfect with a cup of coffee.

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I had a coconut cream cheese frosted chocolate cupcake today. The frosting was weird - some kind of acidity to it. At first I thought it was maybe the lime in the coconut and the lime juice was in the frosting, but I don't think it was. WEIRD.

I had the same impression. Very weird tasting coconut cream cheese frosting! A friend and I stopped by yesterday for a quick snack. I really liked the yellow cake cupcake, but found the chocolate icing to be a bit too sweet and not chocolatey enough for me. Still, the coconut cream cheese frosted chocolate cupcake was worse. We liked the place, had good service (with a smile :(, and found the atmosphere cheerful and laidback---all of this in contrast to the lines, cramped space, and pretentious service at Georgetown Cupcake. I should mention that I'm not a huge cupcake fan. But of all the ones I've tried in recent years, I like Baked and Wired's and Furin's the best.

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