It’s only appropriate that the name for her cupcake business came to Lupita Kuri in her sleep. The opportunities that have unfolded for this Buffalo Grove resident are, in her own words, a dream come true.
Kuri is the owner of Sweet Ride, a mobile cupcake business that hits the streets of Chicago today (Jan. 21).
After dreaming up the name Sweet Ride, Kuri searched online for the words and discovered a San Francisco-based mobile cupcake business by the same name. Upon contacting the owners, from whom she hoped to glean start-up advice and pursue franchise opportunities, she learned that they were interested in selling the entire business. One thing quickly led to another, and in November Kuri purchased Sweet Ride, complete with the truck and recipes.
“It seems really cliché, but I’ve always loved cupcakes,” said Kuri, who added that her vision for the company came when she starting watching TLC’s Cake Boss.
“I knew I couldn’t do that, but I thought I could do it on a smaller scale,” she said.
While she’s not professionally trained baker (“I had an Easy Bake oven as a child,” she said), the 26-year-old Kuri can certainly follow a recipe and come up with her own twists to satisfy Chicagoans’ “hearty” cravings.
“I know what tastes good and what doesn’t,” she said.
Her cupcakes and other treats — whoopie pies, bite-sized “cupcakepops” and even organic snacks for dogs — are all made fresh daily by Kuri in a commercial co-op kitchen.
Sweet Ride offers traditional flavors, but Kuri said her signature treat is the sweet potato cupcake. The truck’s menu will vary by day, as will its locations. Kuri uses Sweet Ride’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to announce her schedule.
The Sweet Ride truck is hard to miss. The converted mail truck is painted pink and features eye-catching flames. Inside are a sink, freezer and refrigerator, and of course, Kuri, who will sell her baked goods Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along various city streets.
Cupcakes are trendy right now — she’ll be competing with a couple of similar mobile bakeries — but Kuri said her top quality ingredients and variety of other treats, which during the winter months will include made-from-scratch cinnamon spiced hot chocolate, set her apart from the competition.
Kuri’s work ethic may also be in a class of its own. She rises at 4 a.m. to prepare the fresh-baked goods that will be sold each day. When she’s not in the kitchen, the mother of two continues to work full-time as a marketing assistant at Baxter Healthcare in Round Lake.
Kuri said she plans to soon turn Sweet Ride into a full-time venture. She aims to add suburban streets to Sweet Ride’s route in the spring, when she hopes the pink truck will be spotted by residents of Buffalo Grove and other nearby villages. Until she secures the necessary permits from those towns, she will focus her efforts in Chicago.
Suburbanites who can’t wait for the pink truck’s arrival can order treats, which will be delivered by Kuri as she heads home from the city, or by her fiancé, Mark, who lends a hand.
The business is truly a family affair; Kuri’s 7-year-old son, Dominic, and 3-year-old daughter, Taylor, clamor for their mom’s treats, she said.
And while Kuri, who has spent the past two months perfecting her recipes, claims she “can’t eat another cupcake,” her appetite for the business has just begun. She’s already hatching plans to expand Sweet Ride to other U.S. cities, and will put her talent to the test during an upcoming episode of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, on which she was just invited to compete.
Kuri said she can hardly believe the rapid series of events that have led up Sweet Ride’s Chicago debut.
“This is like my Disney dream come true,” she said.
For more information about Sweet Ride, visit www.sweetridechi.com.