Half the fun of
Shark Tank, in our opinion, is learning about the various companies out there with ideas that range from "Why didn't I think of that?" to "Who in the world thought of that?!" And few presentations are as alluring as when the sharks get to eat. Business plans, distribution channels, and licensing all matter, but, in the end, whatever it is just has to taste good.
To satisfy our curiosity, we tracked down six of the most iconic foods to ever appear on the show to find out if they live up to the hype. Ignoring revenue, growth, or any of that, we simply wanted to know: is it delicious? Ahead, the products worth investing your own hard-earned money — and which ones you can skip.
Pipcorn The Promise: Delicious mini popcorn Does popcorn need to be mini? One bite of Pipcorn answered our question. The mini kernels are supposed to not get stuck in your teeth and are apparently easier to digest. But, frankly, the main appeal of the snack is that its just darn tasty. We’ve especially fallen in love with the truffle flavor, which has the savory, delicate flavor of truffles without being overwhelming. Plus, the mini kernels are fun to eat. The other flavors, like rosemary and ghee, also exist at the crossroads of artisanal and comfort food.
Copa Di Vino The Promise: Premium wine by the glass We consider ourselves discerning connoisseurs of cheap wine. So, while the less enlightened might balk at the idea of single-serving wine cups, we were merely curious how it would stack up to some of our favorites. And Copa Di Vino does set itself apart from several other single-serving wines out there. For starters, the cap is resealable, and the cup is plastic and shaped more like a traditional wine glass. There are also a wider range of varietals than most canned wines we’ve seen, from Pino Grigio to Merlot to Moscato. The taste, sadly, doesn’t live up to the promise. The whites we sampled were uniformly incredibly sweet, especially the White Zinfandel, a pink wine that is largely blamed for why Americans were so skeptical of rosé for so many years. The reds, tasted at room temperature, weren’t as treacly as the whites, but they weren’t much better. One taster simply said, “I mean, I wouldn’t pay for it.” We'll stick with our picks for now.
Table 87 The Promise: Coal oven pizza by the slice Table 87’s frozen pizza is like nothing we’ve ever seen: vacuum-sealed and sold by the slice, it also heats up in as little as four minutes. It may also be the best frozen pizza we’ve ever had. It indeed heats up incredibly quickly (though you’ll want to make sure you’ve preheated your oven fully to get it as crisp as possible). In fact, as far as Neopolitan-style, thin-crust pizza goes, this might be even better than delivery, unless the pizza place happens to be in your building. Eaten straight out of the oven, it’s hard to beat. Plus, the bizarre packaging actually makes it easier to store — it takes up almost no room in the freezer. The only slight downside is the cost. At our local Whole Foods, one slice is $4.99. That’s about what a whole frozen pizza will cost you normally. But if you think of it as a way to have gourmet food in a flash, rather than simply a way to save on delivery, it’s a rare example of frozen food that doesn’t sacrifice convenience for quality.
eCreamery The Promise: Custom gourmet ice cream, gelato and sorbet for online ordering and delivery Mail-order ice cream may seem like an odd idea — after all, these days even convenience stores sell amazing ice cream by the pint. But eCreamery gives you the added option to completely personalize your ice cream, both by name and ingredients. eCreamery doesn’t make sense as your regular source of ice cream (a four-pack costs $69.99), it is marketed as a gift, either personalized or pre-made, as well as for special occasions. While we couldn’t try the nearly infinite number of options available, we were curious if the experience was as premium as the price suggests. Though the packaging leaves something to be desired, the flavors we tried were indeed super creamy and rich. If you really want to impress someone (or need to prove that your peanut butter-cheesecake-peppermint ice cream is as delicious as you imagine), this is a great way to do it.
Bantam Bagels The Promise: Mini stuffed bagels A delicious, New York water-style bagel leaves little to be desired, so we were skeptical that a mini, stuffed version could stand up. But one bite of a Bantam Bagel proved us wrong. Unlike other bagel gimmicks that come to mind (not naming any names, but do they really need to glitter?), this actually tasted good. Each bun pairs a classic bagel (sesame, onion, everything) with a different kind of cream cheese, making it perfect for the indecisive. And not only do they taste good, they actually taste like bagels. The outsides are dense and chewy, and even some native New Yorkers in the office enthusiastically went back for seconds and thirds. The only ones that weren't a hit were the dessert bagels — for that, we'll just stick to regular doughnut holes.
The Cookie Dough Cafe The Promise: Gourmet edible cookie dough And speaking of New York, if you’ve waited in line for hours for Dō, we have another suggestion: go to a local grocery store, grab a container of Cookie Dough Cafe, and dig in. You’ll have the experience of delicious, safe-to-eat cookie dough without the wait (well, except for checkout). And what else do you need to know? Cookie dough is delicious — we know it, you know it, the American people know it. Plus, there's even Oreo cookie dough now, what more could you possibly want?