Monday, February 10, 2014

Cake Unloved


Last Wednesday Silver Spring's Cakelove location closed with little notice or fanfare. There was nary a mention of the closure on Cakelove's Twitter feed and only a last-minute notice sans explanation on their Facebook page. Cakelove had been in downtown Silver Spring for seven years, initially in FrozenYo's current spot, eventually moving around the corner to Fenton Street in 2011.

Will it be missed? I'm sure there were some loyal customers, but the store never seemed particularly inviting or busy when I passed by. I had one or two of their cupcakes over the years, and was unimpressed. Mediocre ratings (at best) on sites like Yelp! and Urbanspoon seem to show that my opinion wasn't outside of the norm. Given the proliferation of cupcake bakeries in recent years, it would seem that there's still money be made in the "overpriced urban bakery" segment if you're doing it right. As much as the place annoys me, if there were a Georgetown Cupcake in that spot I'd begrudgingly patronize it - provided I didn't have to wait in line.

So, what's next? Knowing DTSS, it's likely they already have a tenant lined up. I'm surprised no one has attempted to open another coffee shop - I'd think one would do quite a bit of business. Does Starbucks have an exclusivity deal with Peterson? Just don't let it be another mobile phone store. I believe Verizon is the only major carrier without an official store downtown, and I'm sure it's just a matter of time until they set up shop.



32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience. Wanted to like it, but cupcakes were overpriced and very mediocre, I thought. Honestly, you were better off crossing the street and buying better, slightly cheaper desserts from Whole Foods. Hope the new tenant is good.

Pit Boss said...

I have to say this makes me happy. That store-and the whole chain and concept-needed to go. I can't tell you how many times I've been in DTSS after dinner and said I could really go for something sweet but not ice cream-and begrudgingly got a starbucks brownie. I just couldn't give them a penny for their lackluster food. Here's hoping for something fun there.

Barry Cohen said...

You want to go head to head with Starbucks??? go for it...

Sligo said...

That Starbucks is overflowing with business. Just taking the people not wanting to wait in line for Starbucks would probably be enough business to sustain a second shop. A lot of people would probably prefer an alternative, it's just that Starbucks is the only option right in DTSS. Also, having a Starbucks around helps 'mom and pop' coffee shops.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Cool concept, cool owner, and sadly mediocre cupcakes. Best coffee, wifi and dessert in DTSS now...Kaldi's Cafe, by a mile. But I'd take a Georgetown Cupcakes or a new bakery at the epicenter on Ellsworth.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised they lasted this long w/such a mediocre product in such an expensive space. Won't miss them; excited to see who their replacement to be.

Anonymous said...

They seemed to do OK in the old location (although I agree that I was never impressed by their product). I wonder if it was another example of expanding too much when it wasn't warranted.

Than again, Fractured Prune didn't do well there either. Of course, they were inconsistent in their service.

Anonymous said...

It could be Verizon, both of the Verizon non-official stores on Colesville Rd. have now closed. Or it could be nobody. The running store, the Quizinos, the old M&T branch near Qdoba, the old Golden Flame restaurant, and the nails place near the Fillmore are all vacant right now, not counting the new retail spaces near Georgia and Cameron. I hope these start to fill up soon!

Anonymous said...

Peterson originally listed the Cakelove space as being 1400sqft in size (which sounds right), but now they're listing the available space as being 3400sqft in size...wonder where the 2K space is coming from. Building out into an alley behind? Stealing space from City Sports or Men's Wearhouse? Or maybe one of them was just a typo.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they are including space from the old Borders somehow? I think part of that space is still vacant.

Anonymous said...

retail fail

Anonymous said...

You say retail fail as if it's a bad thing. Mediocre places folding so new places can move in sounds good to me.

Anonymous said...

"The running store, the Quizinos, the old M&T branch near Qdoba, the old Golden Flame restaurant, and the nails place near the Fillmore are all vacant right now,"


....more proof DTSS is a death spiral. some of these locations have been vacant for more than a year. Not exactly signs of a "thriving" downtown.

You wont find that in Bethesda....you may stores close(though not for long) because of ridiculously high taxes, but not because of lack of traffic.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, a death spiral where in the last year we've lost (and I use that term VERY loosely) Quiznos, Macaroni Grill, Stage, and Golden Flame and gained Urban Butcher, Pete's Pizza, BurgerFi, Kaldi's, Sweetgreen, La Madeleine, Zen Sai, and Scion with Citizen's Brewery, Nai Nai, Pho Tan Vinh, 923 Sligo and more opening within months.

Try again, Bethesda-douche (yes, I know that's redundant).

Grits n Gravy said...

Its too bad that Olazzo's owners decided to open their new Mexican joint Gringos & Mariachis in Bethesda instead of DTSS. I would think DTSS would be a better fit.

G. Money said...

As someone who grew up in Bethesda, lived in Silver Spring for the past seven years or so, and now at least temporarily lives in Bethesda again, I'd like to go on record as saying Bethesda-douche seems about right for the quality of terrible people that inhabit Bethesda these days.

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna need a more detailed definition of Bethesda-Douche...

Anonymous said...

Actually, between Crumbs, Georgetown Cupcake, and Cakelove, Cakelove is the worst. I was not impressed with their product. Every time I walked by, the store looked either empty or awkwardly decorated (old and new locations). If another cupcakerie replaces them, I vote for Crumbs (they're all over DC, and G'town cupcake is already in Bethesda). Crumbs is the best.

Anonymous said...

"Does Starbucks has [sic] an exclusivity deal with Peterson?" That ought to be "Does Starbucks *have* ..."

Also, "if there was a Georgetown Cupcake in that spot" should be "if there *were* a Georgetown Cupcake ..." The subjunctive mood is called for here, to express a condition contrary to fact.

I only appear to be a humorless grammar scold. I really do enjoy the blog -- just trying to give back to the community.

Sligo said...

Thanks, your right, their are mistakes! I wouldn't want to loose readers due too bad grammer. That might effect my self-esteem. Better to take more time to proofread then have all these mistakes! Lets hope next time there are less errors.

Lee said...

I admit - I never ate at Cakelove. Everytime I walked by I would think, "I've heard their food isn't that good," and, "Do I really want to spend that much money?" Still sounds like I didn't miss out.

Anonymous said...

Bethesda-douche. I like that.

Can we come up with something for Silver Spring?

SilverSpringS-Hipster?

Sligo said...

Or just "Bethesdouche".

Anonymous said...

The vendors at the Saturday Farmer's market are not allowed to sell beverages that would compete with the brick and block tenants on Ellsworth. They can't sell coffee, tea or lemonades. As if 4 hours, one day a week will really cut into Starbucks business. Personally, if I want coffee I'll go to Kefa or Kaldi's - my dollars will stay in the local community.

Anonymous said...

That seems to be a totally reasonable rule Peterson has in place to protect the stores that are paying big $$$ to actually rent space. It'd be completely effed up if Peterson undercut their own tenants like that. Common sense says it never would or should happen.

ForestGlen said...

Tried Cakelove in DTSS once, never went back.

Also, to the list of newish restaurants that have opened in DTSS don't forget Zensia sushi. That place has really good sushi, especially the spicy jalepno tuna roll.

G. Money said...

Some noted Bethesdouche characteristics I've witnessed recently:

- will honk at you when you're crossing the street in the crosswalk, with the light, if they want to turn.
- will leave their empty grocery cart in the check out aisle.
- will attempt to enter grocery store, with cart, through a check out aisle, and then act as if you've gotten in their way as they run into you while you're checking out.
- always dress to make the above behavior seem expected.

Anonymous said...

Zensia sushihas been there for, I think, about 4 years now.

Anonymous said...

No, Zen Sai is where Stage Burger (tear) used to be. Maybe six months?

Anonymous said...

I was confusing it with the IKKO Sushi on East West Highway.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

CakeLove was my go-to place for actual cakes, not cupcakes. If you follow directions and let the cake warm up so that the icing is soft...OMG fantastic. I'll miss CakeLove at every birthday and holiday.

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