NEW YORK—There were at least four people lined up outside 189 Spring St., before 6:30 a.m. the day before Valentine’s Day. It was dark and snowing heavily but no one seemed to bat an eye, except maybe to clear the snow. Passersby gawked at the line, which eventually grew to about 30 people by 8:00 am. One woman passing by waived and said “Good morning Cronut people.”
The dedicated Cronut customers were lined up outside the Dominique Ansel Bakery for the $5 raspberry lychee Cronut, the flavor of the month. The color coincides with apparently a favorite color of the bakery’s owner, French pastry chef Dominique Ansel.
The Cronut is a cross between a doughnut and a croissant. For Cronut diehards though, it is a lot more.
“It’s just filled with goodness. You can’t even speak while you eat it,” said Cronut customer Winson Lau.
The raspberry lychee Cronut is shaped like a donut with pink glaze and dried raspberries on the top. The texture feels exactly like what it is, a fried croissant, and inside there is a gooey mixture of cream and raspberry lychee filling.
Ansel trademarked the Cronut in November 2013. But trademark or not, it has not kept other bakeries from trying to copy it, with different names of course. The Doughssant, the Crumbnut, the Dossant, Crodough, Croissnut, and Doissant are all attempts to replicate the Cronut’s international success.
“There’s pretty much nothing like it. I’ve had some of the knockoffs and they don’t compare,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, a Cronut customer. She said she had heard of the real thing being sold on the black market for $60 and had considered buying one, but never did.
When Cronuts first came out over the summer, scalpers would sell them for over $100 each. That is when the line snaked around the block and when the bakery made two lines, one for Cronuts and one for everything else in the bakery. Now Cronuts are still available on Craigslist for between $20 and $30, and some posts even offer a monthly delivery plan.
It is possible to cut the line legally though and pre-order them (a maximum of 6, compared to a limit of 2 for waiting in line), but not for Valentines Day. Pre-orders at Cronutpreorder.com are booked through March 2.
“At 11:00 am on Monday there is a special website you have to go to,” said Cronut customer David Delosantos. “You make your order and within those ten minutes, before it gets sold out.”
On Valentines Day, all the pastries at Dominique Ansels will be pink, but if you want to get a pink Cronut, be there early. On good days, Cronuts usually sell out by 10:00 a.m.
After 10:00, the next best thing may be a “DKA” (Dominique’s Kouign Amann), something like a cross between a muffin and a croissant. Besides the Cronut, the DKA is the only other pastry to be featured on postcards sold at Dominique Ansel’s Bakery.
Holly Kellum is a special correspondent in New York.