Love Cafe Closing at 15th and U St, NW

Love Cafe is located at 1501 U St., NW. From Cake Love’s Web site:

“After 8 wonderful years, Love Cafe will be closing at the end of this month. Our final day of business will be Sunday January 29th.”

Washington Business Journal got the reason from owner Warren Brown:

“Brown said increasing rents that the restaurant could not sustain drove the decision to close the cafe’s doors. Brown will still have an operations base on U Street, as there is a CakeLove location there at 1506 U St.”

Were there any fans of Love Cafe?

36 Comment

  • I don’t understand how this place stayed in business this long. I made a large order with them about 2.5 years ago for about 6 dozen cupcakes (ordered two weeks in advance – paid), and when I went to pick it up, they claimed I never made the order (even though I had the receipt). After some fumbling, they gave me random cupcakes, most of which were gross.

    Every other time I’ve had a cupcake form there, it’s dry and overly sweet, hard frosting, uneven batter. Just allover gross, and given that Giant has better cupcakes, it’s expensive.

    Good riddance, and I hope they all close soon. You can get significantly better cupcakes just about anywhere, including Safeway or Giant, not to mention all of the cupcakeries all over the city…

    • I also don’t really care for their baked goods. Also, the place was never really crowded.

      I only had them once but the frosting was hard and the cupcake really heavy. It felt like the cupcake was a few days old. I ate it but my wife threw part of her’s out. Not the kind of reaction that makes me want to go back despite walking by it several times a week.

    • The frosting is buttercream, and they have to refrigerate the cupcakes per health code. So you’re not supposed to eat it right away because otherwise it will be hard like butter. The frosting gets nice and soft at room temperature… they tell you that when you buy them. Yes, a hassle if you want a cupcake right away, but if you’re picking it up for later or hanging around the cafe a while it’s not a big deal.

      Sort of sad to see them go, but never spent a lot of time there (don’t live near U) and I guess not a lot of other people did either? It was never busy, but I also only ever went at odd times at night.

  • Seems like the businesses are starting to become just as transient as the people here.

  • talula

    As much I love coffee houses and cupcakes, this place was pretty awful. Absolutely the worst cupcakes I’ve ever had. Hopefully this space doesn’t stay vacant for too long though.

  • We went to Love Cafe frequently the first few years it was in business. But I don’t think I’ve patronized the place for three years. It always had a nice atmosphere and convenient location. Unfortunately, the food quality was less exemplary. The flaws in the signature cupcakes — particularly dryness and poor flavor balance — could be more easily overlooked when there wasn’t much competition. But Love Cafe’s products didn’t fare well in comparison with later entrants such as Hello Cupcake or Red Velvet, or even the nutella-filled crepes at Point Chaud three blocks away. The owner, for his part, has seemed more concerned with self-promotion and expansion than with improving the quality of his products.

  • I don’t usually chime in when people get down on a local business, but in this case I feel like I should. I’ve had cupcakes from Cake Love a few times and each time it was (1) expensive and (2) very dry, almost stale. When I have complained about the quality of the cupcakes the staff at the store end up blaming me for not letting it come up to room temperature or some such nonsense. I don’t remember ever buying a cupcake at G’town Cupcakes or Baked & Wired and being told to let it come up to room temperature and yet there’s were pretty damn fine.

  • I agree…dry cupcakes have been my experience over the years. There are better places out there. I’m a fan of Hello Cupcakes and Baked and Wired. Yet it’s a treat not someplace I frequent often. Don’t know how these cupcake shops stay in business for so long!

    • baked and wired–now that is a mean cupcake and some awesome coffee. it would be awesome if they opened in the old Love Cafe space.

  • Were there any fans of Love Cafe?


  • I ate there a few times. Same experience as the other commenters: dry, stale cupcakes with nasty frosting.

  • I for one am absolutely astounded that they stayed in business as long as they did. The cup cakes and baked goods were downright bad. The coffee was underwhelming.

    The location and space are nice and I think that a similar business would be quite viable if only they are able to fix these short comings.

  • I only went there for the slices of cake, which I like, but I am more of a frosting guy than a cake guy.
    The few times I sat down there to eat the coffee service was universally slow.

  • So, what is going to replace CL on this corner???

  • agree with all. hard to imagine a bad cupcake, but they managed it. my biggest gripes: bad frosting (tasted like a stick of butter, not buttercream) and cupcakes sitting in glass cases overnight. baked goods should be sold same day, or at least within 1-2 days. i’d rather them run out of something than sell me stale goods.

    • “It’s hard to imagine a bad cupcake.”

      It’s hard to imagine a bad pez either, but yet, one would be surprised to see a store that sold only pez.

      I don’t get the cupcake thing. I am not surprised by cupcakeries and truffle-essence-chactuterie cafes going under. I’m just surprised that there are enough customers to support even an exemplary example of such a business.

  • There you have it.

    This Cake Love location sucked, and the others do too.


  • So the Oprah affect is wearing off?

  • I liked the spot cause it was a nice place to meet a friend on a lazy day, but I only had cake there and it was just OK.

    • It was a nice spot, and they never cared if you sat there all day and used the wifi. Granted, I would feel obliged to eat something, though there was nothing worth eating.

  • LOL. Yes. To me, a cupcake can do no wrong. But given the choice of cupcake companies around here, Cake Love is somewhere near the bottom. The whole waiting for it to warm up was just nonsense. Who does that?

  • I’m pretty sure the whole “it needs to warm up first” is a case of the Emperor’s New Cupcake. People fall for it over and over again. “Oh, you didn’t wait for it to warm up to room temperature.” And once they finally do and discover it’s still a hard, tasteless mass of yuck, they’re too mortified to admit that they sat around waiting somewhat-eagerly to eat the worst cupcake in DC.

    (The sad thing is that I do love a good cupcake. But Cake Love’s empire was built on an excellent PR campaign with big endorsements, and never on a good cupcake. I won’t miss Love Cafe one bit.)

  • rents are too high? Everything in there was at least $2 overpriced.

  • Is this the first time POP has ever had unanimity on a restaurant (and for the record, I agree with the other commentators …)?

  • I live near here and agree everything they sold was barely edible. Also I hope DC gets rid of half of their cupcake stores, I was never a big fan of the fad.

    Now if they start making brownie stores, I’m in.

  • Lately I have been going to Cafe Collage on 14th and T. Its atmosphere is no frills, but they have great hot chocolate and chai latte. It is family owned and run. You really have the neighborhood coffee shop feel.

  • Gotta agree with the universal dissing on the cupcakes. When I get a pastry from Sticky Fingers, Poupon in Georgetown or Praline Bakery they are always yummy and already the right temperature to eat! Cake Love got a lot of publicity for unique flavors and cooking from scratch in the beginning, but the product can’t compete. If your customers are telling you your cakes are dry and the frosting needs work, you should listen.

  • For the first couple of years it was open the place was busy and the cake was good, but the quality has gone way down hill. The quality started to diminish once Cake Love started to expand. At one point, it was the only bakery in the area.

  • Folks- this post is about Love Cafe closing not the cupcake joint.

  • In the beginning they had some interesting pastries. I remember they had this hazelnut chocolate bar with meringues on top. It was delicious. But in the last few years the quality and choices have decreased. I agree with other posters that they were riding on good PR and the fact that it was fairly unique at the time it opened. But their products couldn’t compete when new options popped up.

  • Another coffee shop type cafe bites the dust. That is the one sucky thing about the U street area: no good places to go and read and have a coffee. Midtown closed, ACKC (the coffee kind of stunk) closed, U St Cafe closes at 4pm every day (how do they survive?)… the only thing left is caribou and the coffee shop on T, which was really kind of gross the last time I went in. WHERE ARE ALL THE COFFEE SHOPS!

  • I love cupcakes, and as someone who has lived one block away from both cake love and the love cafe for 8 years, it says a lot that I purchased my first and last Warren cupcake in 2005.

    Good riddance to Love Cafe and the waxen pucks they purveyed. Maybe the space will be taken over by what this u street really needs, a decent bagel shop.

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