My introduction to the Hello Kitty Café was when it was a food truck at downtown L.A.’s Hello Kitty Con in 2014. The sold-out festival, the first of its kind, attracted a fair share of children – after all, Hello Kitty is a kids’ toy – but I was shocked to see how many adults love Sanrio’s feline darling. Grown women were decked out in Harajuku girl-style dresses emblazoned with Hello Kitty patterns, and men strutted proudly in blue Dear Daniel-patterned suits (did you even know Hello Kitty has a boyfriend?).
Flash forward two years and the food truck has found a permanent place to park. The Irvine Spectrum location opened on July 15 and the fanatics rolled out in full force. The excitement continued through opening weekend, with lines stretching more than 200 people long. The pop-up container – which looks like a bright-pink shipping crate adorned with a white striped awning – serves coffee, tea and desserts. Must-try favorites include pink-hued strawberry mint lemonade, espresso drinks stenciled with Hello Kitty’s face dusted in cocoa powder, and rainbow-sprinkled mini birthday cakes garnished with red-colored chocolate bows. How sweet it is!