The world just can’t seem to get enough Hello Kitty. Sanrio opened a Hello Kitty Mini Café in the Westfield Santa Anita Mall on Friday, April 7. Lines wrapped around the mini café three times around. Fans stood in line for six hours prior to opening to get a taste of the cute Hello Kitty-emblazoned pastries, beverages, and merchandise.
Don’t let the name fool you though, the new mini café is actually about twice the size of the Hello Kitty Shipping Container Pop-Up that opened in 2015 at the Irvine Spectrum. However, unlike the pop-up, the Hello Kitty Mini Café will be a permanent fixture.
As for the food, all the Hello Kitty pastries and food are made fresh daily in their commercial kitchen. Although there will be special seasonal items constantly being rotated in and out of the mix, the mini café will start out with the same classic menu as featured at the pop-up container in Irvine. For those looking for something new, there will be a citrus Hello Kitty pastry tart making its debut in the near future.
The most popular items to date include the Birthday Cake, Mamma’s Apple Pie, and the Hello Kitty Pocket Pie. Instagrammers will be delighted to find out that the pastries not only look cute, but taste good as well. I found that the tastiest item from the menu to be the Hello Kitty Pocket Pie, which is essentially a freshly baked strawberry pop-tart in the shape of Hello Kitty’s head. The strawberry filling has a tangy, tart taste and is topped with some icing and sprinkles.
Another solid pastry is the birthday cake as well as the apple pie. Both cakes tasted good, albeit a bit too sweet (although I’m sure the average teen or child in the line probably finds the sweetness just fine).
The hot coffee drinks feature Hello Kitty latte art on top and come in a pink Hello Kitty cup plus Hello Kitty sleeve and drink stir. The cold beverages come in a Hello Kitty clear cup with a different design. Popular drinks include strawberry mint lemonade, blackberry mint lemonade, and passion fruit iced tea, which were also on the sweeter side. I suggest adding extra ice to dilute the drinks or asking for less sugar. All bags and pastries boxes of course, are Hello Kitty as well. The most Instagrammable favorites include the 5-piece Hello Kitty macarons, Hello Kitty bow shaped bottled water, and the Hello Kitty butter sugar cookies.
Co-owner Allen Tea said that the opening of the mini café would free up the two Hello Kitty food trucks and allow them to simultaneously be on the East and West Coast. Tea, who helps manage both Hello Kitty cafes and the Hello Kitty trucks hinted that there would be something very special coming soon in 2017 “that will throw a lot of people off… in a good way”, he added.
For those wondering, the Hello Kitty Pop-Up in Irvine is not permanent, but will continue to operate there through 2017. The Arcadia mini cafe’s hours are Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Hello Kitty Mini Café is located at the Westfield Santa Anita Mall at 400 South Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia on the first floor across from Kiehl’s.