June 13, 2022

The Secret Sauce to Cult Favorite Foods with Sprinkles Cupcakes Founder

Candace Nelson’s recipe for success

Nora and Scott chat with entrepreneur and angel investor Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, which launched in 2005 as the world's first cupcake-only bakery. Candace parlayed Sprinkles' success into becoming a television personality, serving as a judge on “Cupcake Wars” and “Sugar Rush.” Her latest food venture is Pizzana, a chain of Neo-Neapolitan pizzerias. For more info on our presenting sponsor, check out grayscale.com/businesscasual


Hosts: Nora Ali & Scott Rogowsky

Producer: Bella Hutchins 

Video Editors: Mckenzie Marshall and Christie Muldoon

Production, Mixing & Sound Design: Daniel Markus

Music: Daniel Markus & Breakmaster Cylinder

Fact Checker: Kate Brandt 

Senior Producer: Katherine Milsop

VP, Head of Multimedia: Sarah Singer 


Full transcripts for all Business Casual episodes available at https://businesscasual.fm


Nora Ali: From Morning Brew, this is Business Casual, the podcast that reveals the unexpected business story behind everything. I'm Nora Ali.

Scott Rogowsky: And I'm Scott Rogowsky. And Nora and I are here for your ears, bringing you conversations with creators, thinkers, and innovators who can tell us what it all means and why we should care. Now let's get down to business. Have you ever had Sprinkles, Nora?

Nora Ali: I mean, I used to eat it at least once a week.

Scott Rogowsky: Right?

Nora Ali: Back in the day. Yeah.

Scott Rogowsky: Where'd you go? There's one I remember on the Upper East Side. They had one on like 66th Street. It had a vending machine. You can like, ATM. It was like a Sprinkles ATM. That's what it was, right?

Nora Ali: Yes. Yep. I used to go to the one at Brookfield Place in downtown. It was just my pit stop. Almost like, I said, once a week on my way home, bringing it to the trading floor where I worked.

Scott Rogowsky: It's so sweet.

Nora Ali: It's sweet. But the frosting.

Scott Rogowsky: The frosting.

Nora Ali: Yeah. Mmm!

Scott Rogowsky: See, I'm a minimalist when it comes to frosting. I would basically need like two cupcake bases for every one cupcake topping frost situation. So I can spread the frosting around and like...

Nora Ali: Oh, gotcha.

Scott Rogowsky: Yeah. So I'd buy multiple Sprinkles. But I love the fact that all these things in our world, our lives, that we think about and interact with every day, it's like someone started that. Someone had to do that, right? We all have ideas to create a restaurant. How many people want to open a restaurant or start a business, start a bakery? But like the people like Candace, they just take action and they do it.

Nora Ali: Exactly. And she said, don't just do it, act pretty quickly. You don't have to get it perfect. Just get a product out there. Which I think we've learned a bunch from entrepreneurs on this podcast is, it doesn't have to be perfect. Just put out a minimum viable product, test the waters, get customer feedback, and Candace seemed to have nailed it. That's truth all around. All right. Let's get to it.

Candace Nelson is the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, which she launched in 2005, as, at the time, the world's first cupcake-only bakery. And Candace parlayed Sprinkles' success into becoming a television personality, serving as a judge on Cupcake Wars and Sugar Rush. And in 2017, Candace cofounded Pizzana, a fast-growing chain of Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded neo-Neapolitan pizzerias, leading the third wave of pizzerias in the US. She also launched a VC firm that focuses on sparking consumer obsession. She joins us to discuss her secret sauce for creating cult favorites. We'll get to our conversation with Candace after this quick break.

Scott and I both enjoy cupcakes. We both enjoy Sprinkles very much.

Candace Nelson: I'm so happy to hear you are cupcake lovers, as I am, of course.

Nora Ali: I mean who isn't, at the end of the day? Everyone loves cupcakes.

Candace Nelson: That was my general thesis, when I started the company. Yes.

Nora Ali: It was smart. And you were working in investment banking before you started Sprinkles, which I think investment banking is kind the opposite of cupcakes. So what inspired you to make that shift from investment banking? It was in San Francisco. It was in the midst of the dotcom bubble boom, burst, all of that. How did you make that shift to cupcakes?

Candace Nelson: Well, I was always one of those people that did sort of the right thing and followed the pragmatic path and got the grade. And I had done well through school and I was recruited into this investment bank back in the dotcom boom in the late '90s. And it was not feeding my soul in any way. And then at the time, I went and jumped ship and worked at a dotcom for a little while. Everyone was kind of jumping ship, kind of the way people are right now in Web3, to go make their millions and find their fortune. And then of course the dotcom bust happened and everybody was out of work, including myself. And it was really the first time in my life that I had a moment to think about what I actually wanted to do.

And although so many of my peers were going on to get their MBA, which was definitely the next logical step for me, I thought, I don't want to do that. I just was like, I don't want to do that. I want to do something that feeds my soul. And I'd always grown up baking. I love to bake. So instead of going to get my MBA, I went to get my cupcake MBA, so to speak. I went to pastry school, and the rest is history.

Nora Ali: Amazing.

Scott Rogowsky: The rest is history, but I want to hear more about your history and your family history, perhaps. Was there anyone in your family who had gone off and just started their own business like that, or...because that's a big jump. And we talk to a lot of people who make the jump, and it's always fascinating to hear what the inciting incident is, or what that spark is. But what was it for you?

Candace Nelson: My great-grandmother was actually a restaurateur during the Depression years. She was a single mom. She was way ahead of her time. She ran a couple of successful restaurants, but I didn't meet her personally. My mom was essentially a stay-at-home mom and my dad was a lawyer. So I didn't really have a model for entrepreneurship. In terms of finding that strength and that confidence, I think that's sort of the million-dollar question, right? Because ultimately entrepreneurship is really about action. It's about taking that leap. And there might be a great idea sort of simmering inside you, but it doesn't mean anything unless you actually take the steps towards turning it into reality.

And I found that out...actually, I'll fast forward a few years. I first opened the doors to Sprinkles and I was very proud of myself, because nobody said my idea was going to work. In fact, everybody said it was a terrible idea to open this temple to carbs in the middle of very health-conscious Los Angeles, and particularly the height of the low-carb craze. And sure enough, we had lines from day one, which was spectacularly exciting to me. Scary too, because there were other problems there. But so many people came in and said, "This was my idea."

Nora Ali: Ah! They just didn't take action.

Candace Nelson: Exactly. And I remember feeling sort of deflated by that like, "Oh, I thought I was so original." And then in hindsight, I realized, it was really that important. That's what separates sort of the dreamers from the doers, right? And so finding that confidence to take that leap is such an important step. For me, I literally just kind of looked around and I thought, I kind of got sick of my circumstances. I was sick of like doing what I was supposed to do and not feeling fulfilled. And I just felt like, the regret I would have from not pursuing something was going to be greater than if I just carried on my way and failed.

Nora Ali: You said there was a line on the first day. How did you get people's attention? How did you draw people in before they knew what your cupcakes tasted like?

Candace Nelson: There was a period of time where I was looking for a location for the first Sprinkles, and it took longer than I anticipated. So during that time I was working out my recipes, I was really sort of crafting the branding and nailing down all the little details as best I could. Although I had no idea what was in store for me. So I was baking and making custom cupcakes out of my kitchen. And I started with just friends who basically felt sorry for me and they were like, "Candace has left her high-paying job and she's making cupcakes. Why don't we use her for our friend's baby shower. That would be really nice of us." And then it spread to friends of their friends. And then all of a sudden I was receiving these calls from people that I couldn't track how they'd gotten my number. And that was a really important moment where I realized, I might be onto something. Sort of that first moment when I realized I had traction beyond just my friend group that was feeling very sorry for me.

Scott Rogowsky: You went to pastry school, Candace. Did you have the goal in mind to open up this cupcake-only shop, because for people who are a little younger, they grew up in a world full of cupcakes: Everywhere you go, every corner's got a cupcake store. But when you were doing this, that wasn't the norm. There weren't cupcake-only bakeries. So was this always the goal in mind when you left your job: pastry school, open the store? Or was this just a total flight of fancy, an experiment, let's see where this road takes me?

Candace Nelson: It really was, at the time, a flight of fancy. It really was this idea of, I want to do the opposite of being a sad investment banker. I want to work with my hands. I want to be creative and really lean into that other side of my brain that I hadn't exercised in so long. And that initially led me to creating this custom cake business, because I thought, what is the most fanciful creation I could possibly make? Well, it's layered, tiered, special occasion cakes where I work on these fondant, flat gum paste flowers, and I work on fillings and frostings and buttercream decorations. And I did a custom cake business more in line with like a wedding cake than anything to do with a simple cupcake. And sure enough, sure, I was exercising the creative part of my brain, but the business side of my brain came knocking and was like, nobody's buying these things very often, right? A special occasion cake, by its nature.

And so what could I do that marries this sort of elegance, artfulness, this level of craftsmanship with a business that I could sell something to people every day? And that is what led me to the cupcake. And you're right. Thank you for reminding me that everyone pretty much who's listening is like, "What is the big deal with a cupcake, because there's cupcakes on every corner." But let me take you back to 2003, when cupcakes literally were only to be found in a supermarket, in a plastic clamshell. They were made with God knows what.

Scott Rogowsky: Ugh, crappy.

Nora Ali: Dry, gross.

Candace Nelson: For sure the frosting was made with shortening. Really garish colors. The decorations were essentially plastic picks, which still befuddles me, how a decoration for a child would be that sharp plastic object. But it really was like kids' fare. You'd find it in a child's lunch box. There was nothing elegant about a cupcake. And there were certainly no bakeries devoted to cupcakes. And when we were, and I say we, because my husband ultimately partnered with me to start the business. But when we were looking for packaging, this will tell you, there was no off-the-shelf cupcake packaging besides for plastic clamshells.

So when we first opened, we actually used cake boxes, because we didn't have the funds to do the minimum run to do something custom. So we used standard cake boxes, turned them inside out, so they would feel somehow unique. So they were kraft on the outside and then when you opened them up, they had that shock of pink inside; that really set off the cupcakes. But our cupcakes were sliding around in there. I mean, we would be like, "Careful!" As people were leaving, we'd be like "Careful of those cupcakes." And then literally fast forward two years later, there's a whole menu of options you have, if you're opening a cupcake bakery, to have these little inserts that keep your cupcakes in place. But at the time there was no such thing.

Nora Ali: Wow. You had to invent all the components, and now it's just so common for everyone. Yeah. You're the OG, Candace.

Candace Nelson: Thank you.

Nora Ali: Let's take this moment to take a very quick break. More with Candace when we return.

So Candace, we started getting into the packaging and the branding and trying to sort of differentiate from what you had seen traditionally in grocery stores. But not only is Sprinkles just delicious cupcakes, but it's a recognizable brand, where you've had partnerships with the likes of Williams-Sonoma and Tito's. What were some of the most important lessons you learned in trying to create this memorable brand that goes beyond just the taste of the product itself?

Candace Nelson: Well, I will never forget the day that I saw a Sprinkles shopping bag in the wild, like outside of the Beverly Hills area. Because our first store was open in Beverly Hills and there were shopping bags all over Beverly Hills when we first opened. But I was actually in an airport and I saw someone hand-carrying the Sprinkles bag and it was going through security, and they were taking the cupcakes lovingly out of the box and putting them through the x-ray machine. And the TSA guy was like, "Hey, you brought some cupcakes for me." And there was like a whole conversation. And I was this fly on the wall, watching this happen. And it was like an out-of-body experience, because it really was the first moment when I realized that this little treat that I had created, was more than the sum of its parts.

It really was a true brand that gave people a feeling. And that's really what a brand is. It's like what people think about your company, it's how they feel about your company. And so that was incredibly special for me. I think with brand, there's so much to dig into, but ultimately it's about what you stand for. And for me, since I was reinventing the cupcake, I also wanted to dig into every single part of it. So just in terms of speaking of a brand identity, first, I was elevating it from this supermarket kids' lunchbox fare into this artisanal treat. And so the cupcake itself had to look that way.

So for example, the frosting has a very unique Sprinkles swirl to it. And that is created by hand, with an offset spatula, as opposed to sort of the more conveyor belt-style piping bag look. And then of course the stores themselves had to speak to the artisanship of the cupcake and the quality of the cupcake. So you walk in and you felt like this was a special place. Like you were walking into an upscale boutique, more than to an old-school bakery. People weren't used to walking into bakeries that felt like that. And even extending to the displays. When you walk into the store, the display was custom-created by us, where the cupcake sat at an angle. So you saw the most beautiful part of the cupcake, which is the frosting, as opposed to the side. Like old-school bakeries you'd come in, they were all displayed and you'd see their side. And they were all kind of squished around. But our cupcakes sat in these die-cut holes. So they were always perfectly spaced.

So we really, really thought long and hard about the brand identity. But ultimately at the end of the day, as I said, brand is about what you stand for. And for me, it was really about joy and community and unity. Not much different than today, but we live in this very fractured world and certainly on the heels of 9/11, which is when this all started percolating for me, I wanted to do something more meaningful than just crunching numbers. And I only had a certain skill set, and I remember a lot of people post-9/11, they were like, "Oh, I'm going to go work for the CIA," or whatever. "I'm going to go be a translator." I didn't have those skills at my disposal, but I thought, what can I do? And so my calling was to bring this sweet treat into the world that everybody could love. Everybody could partake in. And that sort brought people a little bit of joy.

Scott Rogowsky: You opened this flagship store in Beverly Hills. Did you have the concept perfected out of the gate? The look, the feel, the brand, the flavor of the cupcake, the recipes? Was it an iterative process? And then how quickly were you scaling? And did you franchise it out? I want to know about the empire, because now there's Sprinkles...I don't know, you left about 10 years ago. We should say you sold it off, but when you were there for those first seven years, you were growing pretty quickly, weren't you?

Candace Nelson: We were growing really quickly. We had so many requests for franchises. And we were so focused on keeping that quality. Because the difference between a great and memorable cupcake and a not-so-memorable, okay, forgettable cupcake, is not that much. Sure, once you get the recipe down, but then it was all about the experience of walking in the store. It was all about making sure those cupcakes were as freshly baked as they could be. It was all about making sure you didn't overbake it by one minute, because that made a difference. There were so many little nuances that went into it. So in spite of all of these requests to wholesale our product or franchise the business, we said no to all of that.

And we rolled it out store by store. Very time and labor intensive. I mean, at one point I was nine months pregnant. We were opening the Dallas store and we were living there for a few months to train our staff and get everybody up to speed, and infuse the company with what was really important to us: our company culture. But no, I mean, scaling is never pretty. And as much as you think you're ready, the day you open your doors, there are always going to be things that you have to change on the fly and that you never expect. And I think the key is just being open to changing the plan on the fly and being nimble and not getting too stuck on your vision to the point where it gets in the way. Being open to the fact that maybe your original thesis wasn't quite on the mark.

And that's why I feel like it's so much about this entrepreneurial, this innovative mindset. It's so important, because a great founder can start a business with a thesis that is totally wrong, and pivot the business entirely, turn it around and find success from it. My thesis that people were actually still going to eat cupcakes, in spite of the fact that they said they were really healthy and drinking green juice, actually turned out to be correct. I actually, because it became such a beautiful and special brand, I actually converted people who wouldn't normally eat a cupcake. And so I grew the market beyond what I even thought it would be.

Nora Ali: And you said that you didn't even have a model for entrepreneurship when you first started Sprinkles, but you learned to scale it. You learned to adjust as needed to the market. And you now have been able to apply those learnings to Pizzana, which you cofounded in 2017. So this is a chain of Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded, neo-Neapolitan pizzerias.

Candace Nelson: It's a mouthful.

Nora Ali: Which is a mouthful, yes. So you've described Pizzana as leading this third wave of pizzerias in the US. Scott and I are so curious: What does the third wave of pizzerias mean?

Scott Rogowsky: Catch the wave.

Nora Ali: Yeah, catch the wave.

Candace Nelson: Catch the wave, guys. Catch the pizza wave. Yeah. So a lot of people wonder what that means when I say "third wave pizza." If you think about it, the first wave of pizza concepts were players like Domino's. And they were built on value and speed. And then players like Blaze Pizza and 800 Degrees came along, and that was the second wave. And definitely still built on speed, but more customization and elevating the product somewhat, in the sense that it was inspired more by Neapolitan pizza. And then this third wave of pizza players, where Pizzana sits, is really about upleveling even more. We take more of a slow food approach to authentic Italian pizza. And it's less about the speed and it's more about the experience.

I partnered with a chef that hails from the motherland of pizza. His name is Daniele Uditi and he was born and raised in Naples, Italy. And found his way to the United States with $200 in his pocket and his auntie's sourdough starter. Which is still, to this day, the base of all of our pizza crust. And so he uses this process that is very rooted in traditional technique and bread baking. And uses this fermentation process over a period of a couple days to make this incredible crust that is rooted in Neapolitan, but is not true Neapolitan, because it's crisper.

So one thing I know about Americans: We like a handheld food, and I have devoted my life to handheld foods, I guess, by this point. But in Naples in Italy, the Neapolitan pizza is kind of soupy in the middle. They eat it with a fork and knife. And so what Daniele has done, which is so genius, is he's married sort of this old-school technique with what Americans love, and brought the two together, and is using Southern California produce on top of his pizza. He's sort of a pizza maverick. So for example, he has become known for putting traditional pasta dishes, converting those into pizza. So he was the first one to come up with the cacio e pepe pizza, which you'll see on a lot of menus across the country now and across the world.

Scott Rogowsky: I just had that. I just had that the other week.

Nora Ali: Really? Oh my gosh. It sounds like the Pizzana thing almost didn't happen, because you had said in an interview in Hollywood Reporter that before tasting Daniele's pizza, you and your husband, who's also your business partner, were thinking about moving away from the food business entirely. Why was that? And then what ultimately drew you back in? Was it the pizza?

Candace Nelson: Silly us. Silly us. It's funny, because it's like a sickness. I mean, we love it. We can't stay away from it. It was foolish words to say that we would not go back into the food world. We just were burnt out. I mean, the food business is—particularly in restaurants and retail where you're staffing—at a certain point at Sprinkles, we were over so many time zones that there was never a moment during the day where somebody was not working in our bakery. So it became a 24-hour a day job, and fielding those phone calls from Phoenix when the oven wasn't working or whatever.

And so just to be in it so intensely for such a long period of time, we just needed a break. So I think that's understandable that I was like, "Never again." And then,, sure enough, I meet Daniele at a party. I have one bite of his pizza and he tells me his story and he says he's always wanted to have his own restaurant. And I'm like, "Could it?" I mean, I couldn't stuff the words in fast enough. And I found myself saying, "We should do that together." But it was a good decision.

Nora Ali: It was destiny.

Scott Rogowsky: Yeah. And thinking about the two different concepts. You have cupcakes and pizza and you are hyper-focusing on one food product in each concept.

Candace Nelson: That's right.

Scott Rogowsky: Cupcakes, you essentially pioneered that vertical of the restaurant shop or bakery, whatever you want to call it. Whereas pizza's been around for thousands of years, going back to Italy. Or maybe even, I don't know, at least 150 years, I think. And cupcakes, because you were so successful with Sprinkles, there were so many competitors popping up and it became sort of a fad, right? I mean, maybe even today, they're not as popular as they were when you first opened, and there's been, Cronuts coming along. There's always a new pastry fad comes along and...But pizza has always been here and always will be here. Was that a consideration for you, thinking, you know what, let's maybe try a food item that is certainly going to last for the ages here. Do it a little differently. Was there any thinking around like the idea of food fads?

Candace Nelson: So it's interesting that you say that, because one of our theses in starting Pizzana, Charles and would drive around Los Angeles, which, you know, if you live in LA, you spend a lot of time driving around LA. And a lot of people don't open their eyes, right? A lot of people are just kind of tuned out or zoning out. But Charles and I are always looking around. And that's what we did when we first were scouting for locations with Sprinkles. And that's what we did when we were thinking about Pizzana. One thing we noticed, no pizza restaurants seem to go out of business. It's amazing. Just open your eyes next time you drive around, whatever your town is, and look how old most of the pizza restaurants are. And they're not going anywhere. They are here to stay.

And we were like, well, even if we fall flat on our face with this one, I think we'll still at least survive. So not that we were setting the bar so high for ourselves with that line of reasoning, but yeah, I think there's definitely something to creating and making food that people need to eat every day. I mean, Sprinkles was definitely a luxury. And certainly when we opened at the time, people were amazed at the price tag, because those cupcakes we talked about that were at the supermarket, they were like 50 cents. So when we opened our doors and we were charging $3, that was a big deal. People couldn't believe it. That's what people talked about, when they came in the store. Why are these cupcakes so expensive? It was a talking point. So really having to put some education behind why that is.

And I think that's what we're doing with pizza, too. To your point, yes, certainly pizza is nothing new, but the way that we're doing it, which is sort of this neo-Neapolitan style, like bringing this great tradition from Italy and marrying it with this modern sensibility, is in my mind, something new. And yeah, there even has to be education around the way we do pizza sometimes. And we are seeing a lot of proliferation. I mean, you just take the cacio e pepe, for example, like that didn't exist before Daniele started making his version. But this time we're onto it. This time we're ready. Because anytime anything is really successful, there are bound to be people who are jumping right on board. So velocity, speed is key. And so we are really in growth mode right now with Pizzana.

Nora Ali: So bias for action and speed. You got a good idea, go out and do it.

Candace Nelson: That's right. And we're of course like perfectionists, all of that. Don't let perfect be the enemy of done, right? And I think with Sprinkles, we really took our time, and almost to a fault, because often we'd find ourselves moving into a market where we weren't the first movers anymore. Even though we were the ultimate first movers, we'd come into a market where somebody else had done something very similar to us, and customers would come in and say, "Oh, you guys are just like the place down the street." And it drove us bonkers, right? Because we're like, "No, no. They're like us." But it doesn't matter, because if you're not the first experience that someone's had, they don't necessarily know you were the first ones. So I think speed is definitely key.

Nora Ali: All right. Let's take another speedy break. More with Candace when we return.

So Candace, you said that you're always sort of looking around, looking for trends, looking at what people have an appetite for. And now you can apply this to CN2, which is a venture fund that you launched. It's a consumer-focused venture fund, helping out other companies who are trying to grow. What was the impetus behind this? And what is your mission with CN2?

Candace Nelson: I love to start companies. I'm addicted to starting companies, but there's only so many hours in the day. And so I think with CN2 Ventures, it's been really a great way for me to feel like I'm part of something without having to always be so operationally involved. And my mission really is to support female founders, underrepresented founders. Because they just, it's harder for them. I'm sorry, but it just is. It's harder for them to get capital. It's harder for them to get people's attention, and they don't necessarily have the mentorship that the old-school network, old boys network does. We need all the help we can get. And so I'm happy to be now in a more mentorship role in supporting with my experience, but also with my checkbook.

Scott Rogowsky: What companies are you looking at? What companies are you most interested in investing in?

Candace Nelson: I really like the early childhood space. I feel like it's a very underinvested space in general, and people are really waking up to the fact that mothers are really the backbone of our economy, and we need to start treating them as such. And then of course, obviously, food. I have amassed a bit of knowledge in that industry, but I really like the more functional wellness space. I'm invested in a female-founded company called Kroma Wellness that has created this incredible reset that is also very palatable. We've all done those resets or those cleanses where we're just like dying to get to the end of the thing, because we can't spoon one more bland spoon of soup in our mouth. But this is actually, it's incredibly delicious. And it's turning this diet culture on its head with the idea that you can feel nourished and feel good and be infusing your body with super food ingredients. And also just looking good at the end of it all.

Nora Ali: There's a balance.

Candace Nelson: Yes.

Nora Ali: I love your focus on underserved founders. I think that's super important. And we do talk to guests who are focused on that. And the more people who are using that as part of their mission, the better. So we appreciate that, Candace.

Scott Rogowsky: Well, it's time for Quizness Casual, the Business Casual Quiz. And we'll see if, these answers, we need to have like the correct answer here.

Nora Ali: There are no consequences if you get them wrong—don't worry, Candace. 

Candace Nelson: Great. Thank you.

Scott Rogowsky: No, no, no.

Nora Ali: I see the fear on your face.

Scott Rogowsky: I will take over the Pizzana chain, if you lose here.

Candace Nelson: Careful what you wish for.

Scott Rogowsky: Yeah, exactly. I just want pizza. I'm so hungry. Okay.

Candace Nelson: It is an endless supply stream of pizza, so that is one of the main perks, I would say.

Scott Rogowsky: One of the perks. All right. Today's quiz is all about cult favorite restaurants. Qumero numero uno. And you do have Nora here to work with, okay? Nora could be a sounding board, advice, teammates. Okay?

Nora Ali: We'll work together.

Candace Nelson: Okay.

Scott Rogowsky: All right, here we go. Which of the following bakeries is famous for their chocolate chip pancake flavor? Baked by Melissa, Magnolia Bakery, Georgetown Cupcake, or Milk Bar?

Candace Nelson: I think it's Baked by Melissa.

Nora Ali: That would make sense. I know it's not Milk Bar.

Scott Rogowsky: Were you trying all the competitors, Candace?

Candace Nelson: I don't think it's any of the others. So I think by default, it's Baked by Melissa.

Nora Ali: And she's done a lot of flavors.

Candace Nelson: But I don't know about this flavor.

Scott Rogowsky: I know about it. I met Melissa before she started. Right when she started coming, she's at a party kind of serving them out, "Oh, check out my..." It's Baked by Melissa. And they're really good. They're tiny little cupcakes. That was her thing. You have to differentiate, right? Candace came along with the cupcake. And then she said, let me shrink them down. Mini cupcakes.

Candace Nelson: Yes. Little poppable size. That's so yummy.

Scott Rogowsky: Pop them, oh my God, I can eat a whole box in a sitting. Okay. Nice job. Here we go. Q2. Which famous NYC pizzeria does Harry Styles frequent? L'Industrie, Rubirosa, Prince Street Pizza, or Joe's Pizza?

Candace Nelson: I don't know the answer to this, but I'm going to guess Prince Street Pizza.

Scott Rogowsky: Prince Street Pizza, which just opened in LA.

Nora Ali: I don't know the answer. So we're going with it.

Scott Rogowsky: It's Rubirosa. Rubirosa in Soho, where I've eaten. It's very good.

Candace Nelson: Okay.

Scott Rogowsky: Pink sauce pizza.

Candace Nelson: Yeah, I guess he's gotta be a little bit more chichi.

Scott Rogowsky: Yeah, no one's reporting on me being spotted at Rubirosa, but Harry Styles gets some attention.

Nora Ali: You heard it here first. Scott's been there. Scott Rogowsky.

Scott Rogowsky: Final question. Daily Meal named which of the following restaurants the best burrito in America. Tito's Tacos, Al & Bea's, Lupe's #2, or Burritos La Palma?

Candace Nelson: Can you give the choices again? The only one I know is Tito's.

Scott Rogowsky: Well then, maybe you should go with the only one you know.

Nora Ali: That's a hint.

Scott Rogowsky: Tito's Tacos, Al & Bea's, Lupe's, Burritos...Go with your gut.

Candace Nelson: I'm going with my gut. Tito's.

Scott Rogowsky: Because the gut is where this all ends up. It is Tito's Tacos.

Candace Nelson: Two out of three ain't bad.

Scott Rogowsky: It ain't bad. And I think we have some music for you. Jonathan Gold disagreed. He did not agree with this, but yes, Daily Meal named it top burrito in America. Nice job. Is that in LA? I should go there.

Candace Nelson: Yes.

Scott Rogowsky: Tito's Tacos. Yeah, it's right in...

Candace Nelson: Yes. A friend of mine owns it. It's great. Gotta go.

Nora Ali: Well, this convo has been delicious. Candace, we're super hungry, and we're super satisfied at the same time. So thanks for joining us on Business Casual.

Candace Nelson: Thanks for having me.

Scott Rogowsky: We love hearing from our BC listeners. So please hit us up. Send us an email about your favorite cupcake or pizza experience. At businesscasual@morningbrew.com or DM us on Twitter @bizcasualpod. That's B-I-Zcasualpod, with your thoughts.

Nora Ali: You can also leave us a voice memo on our website, businesscasual.fm, or give us a ring and leave us a voicemail. Our number is 862-295-1135. As Business Casual grows, we are excited to get to know our listeners, old and new. Drop us a line, and don't forget to leave your name and where you're calling or writing from, so we can hear from you in a future episode.

Scott Rogowsky: Business Casual is baked to perfection by Katherine Milsop and Bella Hutchins. Additional production, sound design and mixing by Daniel Markus. Sarah Singer is our VP of multimedia. Music in this episode from Daniel Markus and The Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder. If you like what you heard, please follow Business Casual on Spotify, Apple podcasts, or wherever you go for ear cakes. And we'd love it if you give us a great rating and a review.

Nora Ali: Thanks for listening to Business Casual. I'm Nora Ali.

Scott Rogowsky: And I'm Scott Rogowsky.

Nora Ali: Keep it business.

Scott Rogowsky: And keep it casual.