People will line up for anything, especially food. I remember shoppers lining up around the block when supermarket chain Wegmans opened a store in the fairly out-of-the-way Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2019 despite the pouring rain. So color me unsurprised that people are willing to queue for hours to get their hands on Cédric Grolet's croissants.
Hell, this isn't even the first time I've heard of people waiting for hours to get their hands on a pastry: last year, French-inspired NYC bakery Lafayette drew crowds every day at 8am and 12pm when it "dropped" its cream-filled Suprême croissants. Show up any earlier or later and you can't order them, so folks dutifully queued up.
But Cédric Grolet is providing more than one viral snack.
Grolet is a decorated maître pâtissier, currently juggling roles as Le Meurice's executive pastry chef and his own Cédric Grolet Opéra, plus a variety of occasional pop-ups here and there.
His bakeries are nearly as popular as he is: Grolet currently boasts nearly six million followers on his Instagram page and 3.6m on his TikTok.
Fans frequently recognize Grolet while strolling past his patisseries, as the chef's often mugging out the window while putting the finishing touches on his treats.
Queues outside the Cédric Grolet Opéra regularly last for hours, would-be customers desperate to purchase Grolet's signature croissants, chocolates, and cakes.
And once they get inside, they're often greeted by the gregarious, grinning Grolet himself.
Grolet, from all accounts, is as sweet as his pastries. He's also a quiet streetwear connoisseur, as you can tell from his off-duty candids in "Chicago" Dunks and double-knee pants.
Appropriate that Grolet draws queues like Palace and sells his product as quickly as Supreme.
Drawing further parallels, Grolet's clientele describe his creations as "grails," because they're so sought-after. We're talking croissants, not clothing, but the metaphor still applies.
Grolet is further tapping into the market of hype with jeweler Nadine Ghosn, with whom he's created a very limited series of treats (if Nadine's last name sounds familiar, you may have watched the recent Netflix documentary about her father, disgraced Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn).
Together Ghosn and Grolet concocted a special edition of Grolet's Epiphany cake, created by layering a series of tiny croissants into one large treat.
Inside one of the 50 collaborative Epiphany cakes, there's a hidden "fève" charm produced by Ghosn.
This is no ordinary cereal box prize, this is a one-of-a-kind collectible worth approximately €6,580.
Unless you come prepared to line up, don't expect to even get a chance at the 50 normal Epiphany cakes, though, let alone with one with the charm baked inside.
As with everything Cédric Grolet does, you can expect eager customers to be queued for blocks and blocks; even if there's no chance to get the limited cakes, Grolet's surely got plenty of other sweets worthy of being anyone's consolation prize.