Tastes 4

Published on October 10th, 2005 | by Greg


The Puffy, Creamy Empire

Beard Papa- sounds like a Smurf, or maybe a punk band! Actually, it’s a Japanese chain with only one real product: creme puffs.

If it sounds weird, it is. From the weirdly Hemingwayesque logo to the strange assembly line that each choux pastry goes through, Beard Papa nonetheless manages to make a creme puff that puts all others to shame- and with more than $190 million worth sold each year, they had better.

They’ve built their reputation on freshness, making creme puffs the way Japanese make sushi- meant to be eaten immediately, no preservatives, served cold. Apparently, recently opened outlets in NY and LA have inspired Krispy Kreme-like devotion, with lines wrapping around blocks and people waiting hours.

Truly Obscure didn’t have to wait that long, but Beard Papa’s first outlet in Honolulu, which just opened last week, is very popular. Around a dozen customers were waiting, and since each puff is hand-assembled and each person wanted a dozen or more it can take a while.

It’s worth it though- and worth the $1.25 for original flavor (vanilla), or $1.45 for special flavors (chocolate on the times when we went, but apparently flavors rotate and include green tea and various fruits). The puffs we tried were consistently excellent. A light crispy shell with two layers, an appropriate amount of custard filling, and a light dust of powdered sugar or chocolate to add some sweetness. At least one of the reviewers typically hated creme puffs, and thought Beard Papa’s were divine. And we’re certain they beat out those from Omaha Steaks (no joke), who apparently will deliver creme puffs along with your chunks of beef.

Unfortunately, you can’t order online, can’t have them delivered, and can’t call ahead- yet. And with only two flavors available at a time, you may miss your favorite when it’s not there. But ultimately Beard Papa does one thing, and does it exceedingly well.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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