Waiting for the Cronut

The cronut is the latest craze to hit New York. People are waiting hours in line starting in the wee hours of the morning to get them, and there’s even a black market of cronut delivery services that charge upwards of $40 per cronut. But seeing as how I was up at 5am anyway due to jetlag, I figured I might as well read outside while waiting for a cronut instead of read inside, and made my way to Dominique Ansel when it was still dark out.

Before the cronut craze, though, I knew that I wanted to stop by Dominique Ansel when I was in New York. The last time I was here, the kouign amann was perhaps the best pastry I’d ever eaten, and I wanted to eat it again. So it’s not just about the cronut at Dominque Ansel (although the almond croissant that I had last time was terrible; far too wet).

I got to the storefront at 5:43am. There were already 2 people waiting at this point. For a point of reference, the bakery opens at 8:00am.

6:00am. 19 people in line already.

6:00am. 19 people in line already.

At 6:17am, two people run by, who are clearly much better people than the people like me who are waiting to stuff their faces with a croissant-donut frankenmonster. I hear one of them exclaim to the other, “fucking donut”.

6:20am. Line hits corner of the block.

6:20am. Line hits corner of the block.

It’s interesting to see how people are amusing themselves. Most people are on their phones. Person who arrived first is watching a downloaded TV series on his laptop. Person #2 is attempting to use Grindr surreptitiously, but not being very successful at it.

6:34am. Dominque Ansel arrives at the bakery.

6:34am. Dominque Ansel arrives at the bakery.

The man himself arrives in a cab. Is it surprising that a pastry chef who made a deep-fried croissant is so thin?

6:50am. Line extends well past where I can see from my place at the beginning of the line. Website says that getting there at 6:45am means you have a good chance of getting a cronut.

6:50am. Line extends well past where I can see from my place at the beginning of the line.

The website says that people arriving by 6:45am have a good chance of getting a cronut. Since they only make 300 and each person can buy 2, it’s entirely possible that people arriving now will not get cronuts. Shortly after, another person runs by and exclaims expletives at the fat-assery of the line.

8:10am. Line wrapped around the block. Doubtful that all of these people will get cronuts.

8:10am. Line wrapped around the block. Doubtful that all of these people will get cronuts.

The bakery opens slightly after 8am. I get my 2 cronuts, a kouign amann, and a canele for $19.87. Since I don’t actually want to eat 2 cronuts, I go to the back of the line and ask if anyone wants to buy a cronut off of me. One woman offers $20, and I accept.

The cronut. July's flavor is blackberry lime.

The cronut. July’s flavor is blackberry lime.

So the verdict: definitely tasty, but definitely not worth the wait and/or paying $20 (or more) for it. My opinion might be different if they offered freshly fried cronuts, but it’s otherwise just a really good, slightly unusual donut. My recommendation would be to go later in the morning and just get a kouign amann and a canele. Both are decidedly more delicious than a cronut, and there’s no crazy hype around those (I have not had a comparable kouign amann to those from Dominique Ansel; the canele from Boulette’s Larder at the Ferry Building in San Francisco is comparable to the canele from Dominique Ansel).

It was kinda fun to wait in line, though, more as a anthropological case study than anything else. What compels people to wait in line starting at 6:00am for a pastry? And who are the sorts of people who are willing to do this?

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