Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, February 24

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Openings Tue Jun 02 2009

Smash Cake Grand-Opening

cupcake.jpgSmash Cake, the bakery named for a birthday cake meant for a one-year old to smash, had its grand-opening party on Saturday. The space has been open for about a month, offering cupcakes kids can decorate themselves, sandwiches, soup, coffee, tea and juice. As with sister store Bleeding Heart Bakery, everything is organic, and the store sells not only foodstuffs, but a lifestyle as well. At Smash Cake, there are homemade aprons covered with little skulls and crossbones for kids to wear as they decorate their cupcakes or take part in crafts activities. Similar aprons are available, in children's or grown-up sizes and fabrics, from designer Kerry Vitali. Her cards are displayed, as are the cards of other local designers and printers, along with sample party invitations, so you can plan and prepare for an indie kiddie party in one stop. Artwork is for sale as well. Currently one wall is covered with paintings by Derek Erdman, featuring bright images of neckties, ice-cream cones and school buses.

I hit the grand-opening with my 12-year old son and his friend, both of whom felt too big to be mingling with the toddlers roaming around the colorful space, sipping from juice boxes and leaving trails of cupcake crumbs. But they both loved the cupcakes and pizza, and changed their minds about the party once they met the balloon artist Mr. Smarty Pants, a man called "Chicago's ultimate balloon twister" by Time Out Chicago. His balloon cupcake is in the photo above, from Bill Lambert's Smash Cake Flickr set. When he spotted the boys towering over the other kids in line for balloon creations, he took it upon himself to erase the cynical looks on their faces. And he did. They each left with three-feet tall alien-themed balloon creations on their heads. One had a gun-wielding alien atop an orange planet, and the other, a three-eyed creature with a twisty tongue popping out of its mouth. They recommended Smash Cake to the gaping toddlers we met on the way home.

The shop is open Monday through Friday for snacks and cupcake decorating. Throughout the week there are story times, crafts and other activities. Weekends the space is closed for semi-private parties.

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the 12-year-old son / June 2, 2009 2:06 PM

I am 11, got it mom!

Smarty Pants / June 2, 2009 2:53 PM

It was a pleasure to entertain at this grand opening. Michelle and Vinnie Garcia are fantastic people that are devoted to the Chicago community - they are one of the small businesses that make this city a great place to live.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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