Since this was my first time in the neighborhood since 85°C Café opened up its Hacienda Heights branch I decided to drive by to take a peek. It was high noon so I really didn't expect to actually go in and buy something. But as I entered the shopping center I surprisingly found a parking space close by so I pulled in. When I got to the entrance I saw an amazing sight--there was no line to get in! There was a queue of sorts of people choosing their goodies out of the bins, but as it turns out you really don't have to wait your turn to clamp what you want and put it on your tray. There was a line to check out, but with the four cashiers on duty the line was no more than 10 people long and checking out was not that difficult.
Actually I don't think that the mystique is totally gone. Rather this location is much more efficient. It's a lot larger and was built to handle large crowds. This compares to the Irvine location where they did not realize that the space they had requisitioned was wholly inadequate for the demand. While the Hacienda Heights store has a large number of bins of goods, it turns out that the same item (e.g., marble taro rolls) appears in several different bins that are spaced apart. Consequently, you can walk straight to any section of bins and find the items you want, as opposed to starting at the beginning of the displays and working your way around.
Of course, it's also quite possible that the people in Irvine are crazy (to wait outside the store dozens deep to get in). Or maybe they don't have the same alternatives.
85°C Café is at 17170-A Colima Road.
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