Magnolia Bakery (Facebook / @MagnoliaBakery)
1240 Avenue of the Americas (map it!)
New York, NY 10020
Open Mon-Thurs 7 am – 10 pm; Fri 7-12 am; Sat 8-12 am; Sun 8 am – 10 pm
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Date of Visit: Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: “Let’s head to Magnolia to mack on some cupcakes!” SNL’s Lazy Sunday rap contains my only pop culture reference to the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City. So perhaps it’s little touristy of me to visit Magnolia during our recent trip there, but I fully embrace it.
We hit up the location in Midtown Manhattan near Rockefeller Center, which I understand is probably not the same experience as visiting the original location in the West Village. I mean, the original is enough of a landmark that it appears in a fairly far zoomed out Google Map of New York City. But still, this visit gave us enough of a sense of the bakery. Next trip to NYC, we’ll hit up the original!
ATMOSPHERE: We caught it on a fairly busy mid-morning, after acting like “those” people in the background of the Today Show. This location is a little more sleek and touristy than I imagine the original location to be. Beautiful tiled floors, bright displays.
But even for such a small location, the place hummed with activity. We counted about eight employees busy at work.
In the long, narrow space you’re greeted with rows of goodies: cupcakes, cookies, muffins, coffee cakes, plus offerings of coffee and more.
FOOD: I know, I know… cupcakes for breakfast? Well, Magnolia is a bakery, after all, and bakeries are staples of the breakfast scene, and I have to try the specialty, and Magnolia’s specialty is cupcakes, so yes, cupcakes for breakfast. Anyone have a problem with that? I didn’t think so.
Excellent branding and packaging.
My wife and I chose two cupcakes. I had a chocolate mocha one, and she chose their red velvet cupcake. I love the interesting little swirl of frosting on top – different than anything I’ve seen. It probably holds extras like sprinkles better. Overall, these were two very good cupcakes. Probably not the best in the world, but still good. Nice, soft frosting that wasn’t too terribly sweet. Moist cupcake. Very interesting flavors. In some sense, these seemed a little dolled up. I should have just tried some of their basic cupcakes.
SERVICE: Very good – they’re obviously adept at handling a large flow of customers. We got a friendly welcome, attentive service, and a quick check-out.
OVERALL: I think a visit to Magnolia is a must-do on your New York City vacation list. Part of me regrets not going to the original location, but the Midtown locale still gives you a sense of it, and it’s a nice stop if you’re bumming around Rockefeller Center, NBC Studios, and the like.