Is Crumbs Worth Another Try?

Crumbs - Banana Pudding CupcakeAmid the frosting and frills, one may forget that cupcakes are business – serious business.

A company cannot withstand years of losses, a dwindling cash supply, and diminishing demand without change. Such was the case of Crumbs Bake Shop.

In July of this year, it closed its doors. 

As a consumer, I knew there were plenty of places remaining in the saturated cupcake marketplace. Still, their absence felt like a casualty.

Then, came word that Crumbs was making a comeback…

Thanks to Marcus Lemonis and Fischer Enterprises, in October, 26 stores were reopening nationwide, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, and Washington, DC.

Thrilled my Larchmont store made the cut; I dropped by this week to see their revamped menu.

Atop the display case, I spied new baked goods, the Baissant, a bagel-croissant hybrid. Inside were brownies, a vast array of cupcakes, and pie – that was new too. 

By excluding old favorites, I stayed focused on the mission and made my selections.

Later that night, I started with a new cupcake flavor, Sweet Pete’s Salted Caramel Chocolate. It’s a chocolate cake with a vanilla buttercream center, topped with caramel cream cheese frosting, garnished in mini chocolate chips, then drizzled with caramel and a sprinkle of salt.

Crumbs - Chocolate Salted Caramel CupcakeSince Crumbs cupcakes are so large, I split it in half, starting on the side with the most filling.

The chocolate cake was Devil’s Food. Nothing special. It was better with the frosting than alone. In relation to the cupcake’s size, the sweet filling was more of a dollop.

By contrast, there was ample, caramel cream cheese frosting. Its rich flavor complemented the soft chocolate chips. 

I was enjoying every drop, until the first hint of salt. 

My mouth puckered.

There’s a fine line between salted and salty. This cupcake crossed it. 

I continued. Perhaps that spot had extra?

But alas, the saltiness persisted. I put down my fork and went to sleep disappointed.

The next day, I approached the Peanut Butter Mini Pie with optimism. At the store, two other pie varieties were available, each in full size or mini. It seemed worth a try. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

The filling wasn’t pudding or custard, instead more like a Cool Whip mixture. Most of the pie’s flavor came from the sprinkle of peanuts on top. I’m not sure what comprised the whipped filling. But I didn’t care for it or the crust. In fact, there was a slight aftertaste.

Crumbs - Peanut Butter Pie MiniOnce again, I put my fork down and stopped eating.

Devastated, I looked towards my last choice, the Banana Pudding Cupcake. It was intended for another day. However, perhaps it could salvage this review.

With an air of discontent lingering, I cut the cupcake in half. 

My first bite became a smile, as the moist banana cake settled upon my taste buds. Fresh and flavorful, it was good on its own. The filling was like a scoop of banana custard. When combined with the creamy frosting, it was reminiscent of real banana pudding. 

Eagerly, I reached for the second half of my cupcake. This was the Crumbs I remembered. I relished each morsel, saving the delightful sugar cookie with residual frosting until the end. 

With an empty plate before me, I ruminated.

Of my $12.40 purchase, nearly $9 was wasted. That’s not what I’d call a successful comeback. I was happier with a classic flavor, though it was new to me.

Now don’t get me wrong. I fully understand why changes to their business model are necessary.

Nonetheless, I’m not confident when I’ll return. Crumbs is no longer a sure thing for me. 

I will likely go where satisfaction is more certain, first.


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