Sprinkles Cupcakes hails from Los Angeles, and has been spreading across the country since 2004. The Chicago location keeps the same minimalist layout and menu as other stores, and more importantly, the same decadent flavors.
Heavy hitters like the red velvet and chocolate marshmallow are available every day, but more esoteric options might only be served once or twice a week (like the ginger lemon or peanut butter chip). The rich frosting topping each cake is coated in either sprinkles (obviously) or topped with the store's helpful signature two-color co-centric circles, which also act as a menu guide. A single cupcake is $3.25, or you can ramp up the sizes to a 12-pack for $36. Or if you're just looking for a quick sugar fix, a "frosting shot" is 75 cents.
The bakery will also do courier delivery, weddings, and custom decorations for events. If you're looking to recreate the experience at home, cupcake mixes for several of their flavors are offered for $14. And just to make sure everyone is included, $2.50 will net you a small cupcake-shaped treat for man's best friend (just make sure you don't switch the dog's cupcake with yours).
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge