Irvine, Calif. just got a whole lot cuter. The city is now home to America’s first Hello Kitty Café, and consumers are flocking to the pink shipping container refurbished into a walk-up counter and dining patio area. In fact, the crowds were so big that the café had to temporarily close for a few hours.
The café, which opened on July 15 and will remain open for a year, features a menu filled with Hello Kitty-adorned pastries, hand shaken teas and custom-made beverages.
The popularity of the café is not surprising, as the Sanrio character is practically a fictional icon. Hello Kitty is the subject of many attractions around the world, including a Hello Kitty Beauty Spa in Dubai and a Hello Kitty Dreams restaurant in Beijing. There is even a Hello Kitty-themed airline.
Japanese and Korean trends are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. Korean beauty (also known as K-beauty) has already made its way to the States, and it seems as though “character cafes,” which are also huge in Japan, are following suit.
Sanrio has already tested the waters with a Hello Kitty Café Truck, which has been traveling around the country for the past year, and rumor has it that the café will have a permanent home in Irvine in the future.
“Since its debut last year, the Hello Kitty Café Truck has delighted fans in every city it has visited,” said Jill Koch, Senior VP of Brand Management and Marketing at Sanrio in a statement. “The Hello Kitty Café Pop-Up Container is an evolution of our café experience, offering a new selection of treats in a modern, open concept space.”