Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Normally, when a store closes in my neighborhood, there's a sense of sadness. There was that cute coffee shop, replaced by a useless knick knack store, then that Mexican restaurant, replaced by a fast-food-esque eatery.
But, when I saw the empty storefront that was formerly Choux Factory, I just laughed. Click read more to find out why.
Since it opened a few years ago, I never quite understood how a store selling just cream puffs could turn a profit in Chelsea, a neighborhood known for its ultra body-conscious gay men and ridiculous rents. Krispy Kreme had just closed its doors and so did Bruno’s, our favorite pasta store. Carbs were out. Didn’t they get the memo? I also never bothered to find out how to pronounce it, simply calling it "chokes factory."
The store itself was a bit unsettling, as if it were a front for something unsavory. It was ridiculously bright inside, like a K-mart. It had white painted walls and was manned by two constantly smiling girls who wore scarves on their heads. They were vaguely reminiscent of Laverne and Shirley in the beer factory, without any sense of irony or humor.
My favorite part was the blackboard outside the store, which featured memorable phrases like:
- Try!!! Our Cream Puffs
- Fresh Backed Cream Puffs
- Thirsty? Drink Smoothie.
I had successfully avoided going in there, scowling at the store on the way to and from work.
Until one fateful night.
After 6 beers each and a ridiculously odd dinner with an assortment of douchebags at Chelsea Grill, we found ourselves outside the Choux Factory.
“Want a cream puff?” I joked to Larry.
“Sure,” he said. I thought he was he was joking. We had vowed never to step foot inside this place, still seething over the loss of Bruno’s Pasta.
We walked in and were greeted loudly by the girl behind the counter. She gave us no time to look at the menu. I looked away, preferring not to make eye contact with the monster behind the counter.
“Can I take your order?” she asked, gigantic toothy smile. Larry took a look at the menu while my eyes wandered over to their failed attempt at Valentine’s Day decorating.
How not to decorate with food.
1. Acquire a large piece of cardboard.
2. Cut out and remove a heart, leaving the center open.
3. Glue about 100 cream puffs to the remaining cardboard. Spray the entire mess red.
Someone must have tipped them off as to this mistake as it ended up leaning up against the far wall in the store.
After taking a look at the menu posted on the glass, we decided on one custard cream puff and one chocolate cream puff. The girl opened a door underneath the counter, pulling out two large and heavy stainless steel devices. They were all tubes and levers. She selected two un-creamed puffs and injected them with the cream. This seemed like a lot of work for just two cream puffs. She sprinkled powdered sugar on just one of them and gently wrapped them in wax paper.
As we took our $4.00 purchase from the cashier, the other girl behind the counter screamed, “Enjoy your cream puffs!” so loudly that it could only have been taken for sarcasm. We walked out. “We are never going back there,” I said to Larry. We joked that they’d probably be so good that we’d become addicted to them. Luckily for us, they were not.
Thankfully there's still Billy’s Bakery - until it's forced out of business to make room for a nail salon or ATM.