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Atmospheres and Appetites: The Queen’s Cups

The Queen's Cups has successfully run its preview day and is ready for an August 1st opening in their Water Street location in Worcester, MA.

Did you ever hear the saying, it’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that counts? Where we choose to eat has so much to do with, yes, the food we are craving, but also the atmosphere we desire to be in. Join me as I uncover the thoughtfulness & creativity that has gone into Worcester’s unique dining atmospheres.

Classy, inclusive, and the vibe that Worcester was missing; The Queen’s Cups.

Either you have been a fan since she first opened in Millbury, have recently become addicted to going to her new location in the Canal District, or it’s the next hot spot on your radar you keep meaning to go to. Whatever it is for you, most have become familiar with the name of the sweetest place in town, The Queen’s Cups.

I was honored to sit down with Renee King, owner, and learn just what was the inspiration behind creating what has become space that houses the concoctions she and her team whip up on a daily basis.

Queen's Cups DecorLike any good love story, King knew this building, which was established in 1931, was “the one” upon first meeting it. She was attracted to the history of prior businesses that have held the spot, most notably owned by Buckey, a well known Worcester man who once had the building as an auto shop. Previous to that, it had been a butcher shop, a gas station, and an upholstery shop.

With the shop walls as the original brick dating back to 1931, King was committed to keeping them but invested in a 4-week long process for restoration. Anyone dining can sense the history and warmth that hugs this cupcake shop. Renee wanted the history to truly reflect in elements throughout, but find a balance with modern touches.

Accomplishing this began with adding modern and clean floors, sleek to the eye. She invested with passion in having custom furniture crafted by Skana Designs. This includes the eye-catching community table in the middle of her largest room, with the intention being that people could chat over their love of her cupcakes with more than a few friends, or make new ones with strangers they may have not otherwise met at a table for 2.

As you sit at the modern table, you are wrapped right back into the history of Worcester. A 2×4 wooden ladder strings down from the ceiling dawning light fixtures and indoor plants. The ladder is an original from the 1930’s, a piece that was found in Renee’s Uncles basement in Worcester. Within eye level across the way and above the barista bar, a photo of Widoff’s Bakery graces the historic walls. Widoff’s was the place “everyone knew” in King’s eyes, and in Worcester’s. The photo resonated with her on a trip to the Widoff’s building, with a strong relation to the fact that there is a woman standing front and center,  in charge and running the show at the bakery.

You can’t help but be intrigued by the photo collage that sits on the back wall, which was a priority upon deciding to go for the dream. Ashley Armstrong, a photographer, snapped shots of some of Renee’s favorite and longest running customers from the beginning. Each photo captures the magic that is the first bite into a Queen’s Cup cupcake. Not needing any color with all photos being in black and white, the joyful emotions say it all.

Other modern touches that have been placed are the textured pillows, pops of gold, mismatched crowns, and marble coasters. King laughs as she points to “the most Instagrammed thing in here”, which was a gift from a friend. It’s a framed quote by Notorious B.I.G that says “To all the ladies in the place with style & grace.” Which, any lady could tell you, perfectly describes the vibe of the shop. Modern touches like this mixed with the vintage establishment is how King accomplished becoming a place for all ages, creating a comfortable atmosphere that a 3-year-old or an 83-year-old would feel happy being in.

But, that’s not the only room that contributes to this atmosphere. Customers may not go into the kitchen, but it’s an interior that King had to think hard about how she was going to set up, and how she could adapt it in time as they began to add more treats and add to their team. King’s father embraced the design and function of the kitchen, contributing heavily to how it was created.

One of King’s largest investments in the shop is one that’s overlooked, but the thing that is looked at the most; the front display case. King knew exactly what kind she wanted, a perfect square (many bakeries have a curved case) but this choice kept with the modern direction she was aiming for.

Take a mini tour in our video below, but go experience for yourself what has undoubtedly become the piece of Boston vibe that Worcester needed.