I’m sure you’ve probably wondered, at some point, when this whole cupcake fad was going to die out. The answer, apparently, is not anytime soon. While Little Rock has seen the passing of at least one dessert shop, Sweet Things Bakeshop on Bowman, within the last few months, newer establishments continue to spring up all over the city. This past weekend, Little Rock saw the opening of Gigi’s Cupcakes on S. University. Founded by Gina “Gigi” Butler in 2008, Gigi’s is based out of Nashville, TN and is America’s largest cupcake chain with over 65 locations in 22 states. After months of promoting their pending arrival via their Facebook page, Gigi’s finally opened their doors to the public. I stopped by this weekend to see what all the commotion was about and to determine how Gigi’s stacks up against some of our homegrown cupcake shops in central Arkansas.
One glance at a Gigi’s cupcake and it’s fairly clear what they’re modus operandi is: lots of frosting…a whole lot. If you have issues with the general overabundance of frosting found on most haute cupcakes today, this would definitely be a place you’ll want to avoid. I’ve never actually eaten a cupcake so heavy with frosting it was nearly too top heavy to stand on its own, but Gigi’s was just that. Careful cross-sectional analysis revealed that the frosting to cake height ratio was at least 1:1, and in some cases greater. Biting into this behemoth of sugar and flour without the aid of a plate and utensils would likely only end in a filthy, sticky disaster.
Lastly, I sampled one of Gigi’s mini cheesecakes. Wrapped up and packaged like a standard cupcake, the cheesecakes come in a handful of flavors including chocolate, cookies and cream, raspberry and cherry. I chose the cherry-topped cheesecake and found this to be surprisingly pleasant. The cheesecake was light and creamy, and thankfully, not overwhelmingly sweet. The graham cracker crust was delicate and complimented the cheesecake and cherry well.
With the plethora of local bakeries we have here in Little Rock, it would be difficult for me to forsake them and overspend again on cupcakes at Gigi’s. However, I’m guessing they will do well…chain restaurants never seem to be hurting for patrons. For myself, I’d prefer the ingenuity and craftsmanship fueling local bakeries. That said, Gigi’s is by no means terrible, but there are many more bakeries in Little Rock that will be cleaning out my wallet before I let Gigi get her hands on it again.
416 S. University, Ste 120
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