While capitalising on the blockbuster success of the Barbie movie, Gino’s Cheese Steak and Onion in Fayetteville, New York, has gone through nearly 20 gallons of its pink sauce since the film premiered on 21 July.
Barbiemania has spread far and wide with brand partnerships galore, and the runaway success of the film has led to not only big businesses cashing in on the Barbie magic but small businesses like Gino’s, too. Josh Amidon, the owner of Gino’s and a self-described “Cheesesteak Jedi”, was eager to get in on the action.
In an interview with Today, Amidon said: “It’s genius and I wanted to be a part of it because everyone else was being a part of it, and I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna get in on a trend.”
As other restaurants churned out pink Barbie drinks and desserts, Amidon realised that although he was more than game to join in on the fun, he didn’t want to replicate what was already out there. Instead, he wanted to try something “fun and different.”
Before Amidon bought Gino’s at the height of the pandemic in 2020, he previously worked in marketing, so using his expertise from his old career, Amidon introduced a new twist to Gino’s namesake sandwich: a hot pink sauce dubbed “Malibu Barbie Dream Drizzle.”
While describing his creative process, Amidon explained: “Because I am a freak, I have to taste everything nine times and try everything a little bit differently. And then finally when the doors opened, we’re just kind of like, ‘Hey, I guess we’re going with this thing.”
Amidon and his staff ultimately tested 20 different versions of the sauce before launching it in store on the film’s premiere date.
To say the Barbie pink sauce is a hit is an understatement. The drizzle – made up of red dragon fruit and house-made ranch with splashes of garlic, chili, and lemon – has a lot of buzz on social media. The glittery aesthetics of the sauce have led to people flocking from near and far just to get a taste of that sauce.
“The last I’ve heard is we’ve had someone drive from as far as New Jersey,” Amidon recalled. “She came in wearing pink cheetah print and a cowboy hat, and we had so much fun with her.”
Since then, customers have had no problem driving hours just to try the saucy sandwich, and social media can’t get enough of it. On Facebook, one of Gino’s posts reached over 10 million users, a testament to the power of Barbie.
Based on the reaction, Amidon deduced that Gino’s was going to have to make some more of that pink sauce. But according to Amidon, they ended up making a lot more than they could have possibly imagined, with nearly 20 gallons of sauce sold to date. Amidon says they use two ounces of sauce per sandwich.
The sauce may have been inspired by the viral “Pink Sauce” condiment that blew up on Tik Tok last summer, but Amidon clarified: “I have nothing but respect for the original. I am super proud of what we’ve done with it and what our staff has done with it, and how we’ve, in my humble opinion, elevated it.”