You’d think Black Friday came early if you drove through Newark’s Lido Fair Shopping Center Tuesday afternoon.
In the middle of the plaza, two dozen people wait anxiously outside of the new 85 Degree Bakery Café.
The store opened Nov. 15 at 35201 Newark Blvd. to an overwhelming response. Readers told Patch that the line stretched around the corner on opening day.
It’s the first in northern California for the Taiwan-based chain, which specializes in Asian pastries, coffee and cakes. The store carries more than 50 types of bread items, 30 cakes and 50 drinks.
“I’m just following the hype,” said Union City resident Tom Nguyen, who was waiting outside of the cafe around noon on Tuesday.
It’s just as crowded inside, with more than 50 customers devouring or waiting to sink their teeth into the store’s variety of sweet and savory baked goods. Most hold trays piled with fresh baked puff pastries, moon cakes, cheesecake bites, custard tarts and hot dog rolls. Staff carry in trays of just-baked items like clockwork, but customers snatch them up before they can be placed in their display cases.
David Huyn, 35, has spent about 45 minutes total both outside and inside the store — and he still hasn’t reached the register.
“Everyone in my church is talking about it,” Huyn, a Milpitas resident, said.
The Newark location is the “first of many” 85 Degree Bakery Cafes coming to the region, manager George Agosto told Patch. Agosto couldn’t reveal where the other stores would open but said to expect more northern California locations in mid-2014.
The chain currently operates more than 100 stores in Taiwan and four in southern California. The fifth southern California café will open this Friday in Gardena, with a sixth slated to open in Garden Grove in December, Agosto said.
So what makes the store so popular?
“We pride ourselves in our quality and freshness,” Agosoto said. “And the prices are unbeatable.”
Most baked items range from $1 to $3, with coffees and teas around $3. Their sea salt coffee is a must-have, customers said. Their cakes are pricier, with 8-inch cakes priced at $30.
The keep up with the demand, the store has a staff of more than 100 pumping out hundreds of fresh baked goods on site — but that’s not enough, according to Agosto.
85 Degree Bakery Café is currently hiring for a variety of positions from kitchen staff to customer service, Agosto told Patch.
The store is located at 35201 Newark Blvd. and is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A tip for first-timers: The longer line is for the baked goods. If you want to purchase a drink or a cake, enter through the door on the left.