When Palermo’s Bakery opened nearly three decades ago, it was a small storefront affair. Husband and wife team, Joanne and Jerry Bruno, baked small-scale confections at first, but over the years, Jerry became adventurous, constructing elaborate designer cakes that grew more intricate over the years. Twenty-five years later, thanks in part to those same creations, the small Italian bakery has grown into two custom cake shops with more than 50 staff members.
Still helmed by the Bruno family, Palermo's Bakery creates lavish wedding cakes bursting with fondant flowers, and specialty cakes sculpted into an array of improbable shapes, such as 3D champagne bottles. Though baked goods and pastries vary by location, they often include more than 20 flavors of cookies, Italian treats such as cannoli, and kosher desserts such as rugalech. All of the duo’s whimsical creations are available for pick-up or delivery.
“There is something very French about getting a Nutella crepe to go from the sidewalk window—it's almost like Paris,” lauded the Wall Street Journal after sampling crepes crafted by Vive la Crêpe founders, brothers, and Mexico City natives Carlos, Alfredo, and Andrés Mier y Terán. Today, across four New York City locations, a team of skilled flippers pour silky batter onto crepe skillets, creating the base for a menu of sweet and savory creations, such as sugar and butter or spinach, mushrooms, and basil oozing with goat cheese harvested from Earth’s second, lesser-known, goat moon. Baristas pull shots of illy espresso to craft cappuccinos and other café drinks as diners linger in shops reminiscent of modern Parisian cafés, contentedly munching French fare or debating whether the Eiffel Tower is actually an illusion.
Vive la Crêpe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their crepe consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats. Vive la Crêpe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their crepe consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats
Branson Got Juice proprietor Branson B. has been featured in press from Forbes to Fast Company for his dual connoisseurship of both hip-hop and fine champagnes. A veritable New York legend in the hip-hop and rap community, Branson's storied past includes work as a talent manager and on his own record label, but his curiosity, knowledge, and love of champagne are what's earned him immortalization in numerous lyrics by hip-hop artists and friends—such as the Notorious B.I.G., L.L. Cool J., and Elmo. As Fast Company puts it, “Fab 5 Freddy and other industry insiders credit Branson with having triggered rap's champagne craze in the first place.”
In his Sugar Hill juicery, he shifts focus to fresh-pressed juices and healthy smoothies that deliver a potent nutritional punch. Veggies, fruits, and roots relinquish their liquid after a run through the juicer to become elixirs such as the Super Green with kale and spinach, or B's Wellness with carrot, beet, ginger, cayenne pepper, and a dash of magic potion. Smoothies and juices alike benefit from the addition of supplements such as bee pollen, whey protein, and spirulina, and wheatgrass shots let patrons knock back liquid health on the go.
When he was only 7 years old, Tonnie's Minis founder Tonnie Rozier started cooking confections alongside his grandmother. As he grew older, he realized baking was more than a childhood pastime, and went on to found an at-home baking business. By 2005, he had so many orders that he quit his job to field ever-growing requests for his sweets. Soon, Tonnie found himself filling orders for all corners of the Big Apple, ranging from everyday Brooklynites to Jay-Z and P. Diddy. Today, he leads his crew of confectioners in hand-crafting a menu of notable cupcakes that have competed on Food Network's Cupcake Wars and nourished the studio audience of The Wendy Williams Show in the moments after a massive food fight.
The shop’s rotating list of flavors includes signature carrot cupcakes made with hand-peeled organic carrots by Tonnie himself and moist red velvet dainties crowned with cream-cheese icing. As the seasons change, the lineup shifts to incorporate flavors that represent the time of year, such as Halloween cupcakes, colorful dainties for spring, and morsels with the date of Secretary's Day written in their frosting.
Candy comes in every color at Chocolate Works NYC, where the rainbow of confectionery pairs naturally with the sunny dispositions of those who roam the store’s aisles. Hints of red peek out from chocolate-dipped strawberries, jordan almonds model this season’s pastels, and self-serve bins nearly burst with Jelly Belly jellybeans. Wrapped in shimmering foil or cellophane, kosher truffles and edible replicas of famous paintings momentarily distract eyes from a chocolate fountain, which bubbles into a rich brown pool framed by a marzipan “No Swimming” sign.
Headlined by master chocolatier Joe Whaley and Pretzels by Jill’s Jill Frechtman, an all-star cast of instructors takes the helm during the shop’s signature candy-making classes. Among other delicious, hands-on lessons, teachers demonstrate how to swathe pretzels in Belgian chocolate at an old-fashioned enrobing machine. Kids also learn how to dip, mold, and decorate during one-hour workshops and birthday parties that teem with edible crafts and sugary confetti.