Nothing like cupcakes to brighten up an emerging microhood, a proposition that neighbors of Actual Café should soon be able to test. James and the Giant Cupcake’s Eurydice Manning told What the Fork her first retail shop and bakery should be ready to open this Friday, July 8, pending final inspections.
Manning launched James back in 2008 as a delivery-only operation based in Berkeley — customers ordered from a daily menu of cupcake flavors, and got them dropped at their door within 24 hours. “It was a word of mouth thing that just took off,” Manning said, “especially here in the East Bay, where there aren’t that many cupcake options.” She named her business after Raold Dahl’s 1961 kids’ novel James and the Giant Peach partly because she likes Dahl, partly for the absurdity of it. “People said, ‘It’s too long, no one’s gonna type that address in,’” Manning said. “I thought, the fact that its’ ridiculous is gonna make it awesome.”
Manning’s taken over the space at 6326 San Pablo Avenue, near Alcatraz: four tables inside (she hopes to add sidewalk seating eventually), drip and French press coffee (she’s leaning Bicycle). “We want to stick to the basics,” Manning said. “We don’t want to be overwhelmed, not when we’re just starting out.”
Manning says she hopes to grow the variety of cupcakes she offers, once she gets the shop established. She’s currently making a single vegan cupcake (a gluten-free one, too), but wants to develop others, especially since nearby Donut Farm is a vegan magnet, another reason Manning says she feels good about opening in the Golden Gate District, besides the fact that Manning’s grandmother lived here.
“There’s a pretty nice art scene, people are trying to establish a Temescal feel over here,” she said. “It’s cool that Oakland I having more pockets.” Pockets filled with cupcakes — and businesses with awesome names.
Follow James and the Giant Cupcake on Twitter @giantcupcake to find out Manning’s actual launch date. [And thanks to Vegansaurus editor Laura Hooper Beck for the original tip!]
Get in touch at John.Birdsall@EastBayExpress.com, and follow me on Twitter @John_Birdsall.