Jeff Pearlman

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You know your business is cooked when …

… you’re putting everything you’ve got behind Cupman.

Yes, Cupman. This is him, in the above photograph. He’s a giant cup with arms and legs. And, eh, he, uh, waves to people … I sorta, eh, guess. Um, yeah.

This is what it has come to in my hometown of New Rochelle, N.Y., where we’re engaged in a horribly one-sided battle of frozen yogurt franchises. For the past, oh, 2 1/2 years, Tasti D-Lite has owned the turf. It was the only show in town, conveniently located alongside our neighborhood Starbucks. Come summer, Tasti D-Lite would be packed with students, with parents, with seniors. Great place—five available flavors, lots of toppings, very clean, nice owner.

Then—BAM!—16 Handles opens two weeks ago. And, whoooooooooooooosh! The place is overrun. I remember, about a decade back, when Chili’s opened in my hometown of Mahopac, N.Y., and there was a two-hour wait. “That,” I told my mom, “is pathetic.” Now, however, 16 Handles is bringing forth a similar frenzied reaction. Mounds upon mounds of people, eager to spend $4 … $5 a pop on one of SIXTEEN flavors, with dozens of toppings. Wild times.

Thing is, when this sort of shift occurs, I always feel awful for the incumbent. I drove past Tasti D-Lite the other day—joint was, literally, empty. I called my friend Karen, who used to hit up Tasti two … three … four times a week. “Are you staying loyal?” I asked her. “Will you still go there?”

She laughed. “I’ve switched over,” she said. “16 Handles is cheaper, it tastes better, my kids love doing the toppings.”

“Have you been there often?” I asked.

Another chuckle. “Four times,” she said, “in four days.”

I sighed. If Karen, the queen of Tasti, was a convert, how can Tasti D-Lite ever survive?

Enter: Cupman. Last night Tasti D-Lite sent forth this e-mail …

Cupman? Smoothies? Music?

It’s over.

  • Mike

    Rodak’s was always the best!!

  • JMW

    Small town of Brookings, Oregon. Several decent, a couple great, Mexican restaurants. Taco Bell opens. The line goes out the door.
    I was there on business. Couldn’t figure out why.
    Taco Bell – Mexican fast food American style, and the line went forever to get it.
    Eventually the place had the normal amount of business but it started as if it was the best place to eat on the planet.
    That is the usual pattern, once the novelty wears off the best pace wins.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life