WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

Filed Under:

Betting Big On D.C.'s Next Big Snack Craze

Play associated audio
Kristie and Rich Arslan co-own Popped Republic, a gourmet popcorn company set to launch next week.
Emily Friedman
Kristie and Rich Arslan co-own Popped Republic, a gourmet popcorn company set to launch next week.

Even the most devoted fans of cupcakes and frozen yogurt will need to save a little room for the next big food trend. Some say it will be pie, others say artisanal burgers. According to Kristie and Rich Arslan of Alexandria, popcorn is the new cupcake. That is, if all goes according to their business plan.

The Arslans co-own Popped Republic, a gourmet popcorn company. They've spent two years and more than $200,000 on their online shop, food truck and brick and mortar store in Alexandria. Kristie Arslan says before selecting popcorn as their product, they considered the big food trends of recent years.

"We were thinking cupcakes were big, then pie, frozen yogurt," she says.

Her husband, Rich, came across an article about concession sales, and after a bit of research, decided popcorn was the way to go.

This was back in 2010, and at that time, there was no D.C.-based popcorn company, and no popcorn food truck. Now that they're ready to launch, two years later, there is a bit of competition.

Kristina Kern is the owner of Stella's Popkern, a food truck selling high-end gourmet popcorn. She launched her truck in mid-February, and has sold out of popcorn nearly every day.

Kern has "had popcorn in [her] life for a long time." When she was a young girl, she and her mother would have popcorn dinners where they would try out different flavors. She carries on the tradition with her own daughter, Stella, for whom she named the business. To add to the popcorn heritage, Kristina's last name, Kern, means kernel in German.

Rich Arslan is optimistic about dueling popcorn trucks on the streets of D.C.

"Maybe we could have some popcorn wars in the future, with flavor battles," he says. "I think there's a lot of exciting things we could do together."

If popcorn is going to be the District's next big thing, this is probably just the beginning of some fierce competition.

[Music: "Hot Buttered Popcorn" by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops from Instrumental Favorites]

Photos: Popped Republic


'Washington Post' Reporter Explores How Pop Culture Influences Views Of Police

NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Washington Post reporter Alyssa Rosenberg, who has written a series for the paper about how Hollywood and pop culture has influenced the way the public perceives police.

In 'Appetites,' Bourdain Pleases The Toughest Food Critic (His 9-Year-Old)

Anthony Bourdain's new cookbook features comfort food he cooks for his young daughter. "She's who I need to please, and if she's not happy, I'm not happy," he says.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - October 28, 2016

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton joins us as the new series "Good Girls Revolt" based on her early civil rights work debuts.


Do Parents Invade Children's Privacy When They Post Photos Online?

The kids look so darned cute in that photo, it's hard not to post it online for all too see. But there are privacy risks to sharing children's images, and children often don't want the exposure.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.