Dubbed the “Willy Wonka of NYC” by the New York Post, Dominique Ansel has cemented his place in culinary history as the creator of the Cronut. Introduced in May 2013, cynical New Yorkers, food critics, and wide-eyed tourists rub shoulders every morning as they line up to taste his signature creation.
Often imitated, yet never quite duplicated, the Cronut has three distinct features. First is the pastry itself. While from the outside it looks like your typical doughnut, Ansel has perfected the art of layering the dough (much like a croissant) before deep-frying in grapeseed oil. The result? A plump and airy pastry perfect for infusing with flavors.
Next up, you have the sugar and glaze. Again, this is similar to a doughnut, but don’t let it fool you! Ansel spent 2 months and worked on over 10 recipes to get the Cronut just right. It has the perfect blend of traditional (sugar) and pioneering tastes (glaze) that keeps patrons coming back for more.
Finally, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you bite into your Cronut and there is rich-flavored filling! That perfectly plump and airy pastry that I described before is just made to be filled with rich creamy flavors that will wake up your taste buds and have them begging for more.
The bakery offers one featured flavor per month. Each recipe has been perfected and the tastes blend seamlessly (one bite and you will be planning your next trip!) Some of the featured flavors from last year are Rose Vanilla, Lemon Maple, and Fig Mascarpone.
Here are a couple of things you need to know before heading over:
- The Dominique Ansel Bakery is located at 189 Spring Street, in the Soho neighborhood of New York City. They open at 8am Monday- Saturday and 9am on Sundays.
- Even though Cronuts have been on the market for a while, you still need to line up. That’s right- be prepared to earn your place in Cronut- tasting history!
- Since there is only one option per month, I recommend checking the bakery website for the featured flavor before going. We had the Passion Fruit Caramelia Cronut during out visit and I am still dreaming about it!
- Get there early! According to the bakery’s website, they are currently making about 350 Cronuts per day. There is also a two Cronuts per person limit. If they sell out, you will be out of luck….
- …BUT the bakery also has a full menu of delicious pastries, sandwiches, soups and other treats. You do not need to line up if you are ordering something other than Cronuts!
- The staff is amazing and really helpful. There was someone outside with us the whole time we were lined up, telling us what to expect and our answering questions. They even brought out a coffee cart half an hour hour before opening to help keep us going.
- Enjoy your Cronut right away! They have a very short shelf life and will go soggy if you try to store in the fridge or leave it out too long.
- You can also pre-order a 6-pack of Cronuts or place a large order (over 50) for a special occasion. These are also done on a first come-first serve basis, so for more details click here and here.
While all these things can sound overwhelming, I found the whole experience really fun and enjoyable. My sister and nephew were visiting from California and it seemed like a great excuse to finally check out the bakery. I don’t think they appreciated my enthusiasm when I woke them up at 6 a.m. to line up by 7, but it was more than worth the trip.
People watching while we stood in line was a highlight for me. We were joined by at least 75 other foodies while in line including a camera crew from Taiwan doing a news report and interviewing people. We also spent 20 minutes watching 2 friends try to parallel park their car (Mr. Bean style). There were lots of laughs all around!
In all, we spent about 2 and a half hours waiting, purchasing and enjoying our Crounuts (we were part of the first group to be let into the bakery, so I am sure that helped). There is a large seating area out back where we were able to sit and enjoy our pastries and coffee.
So if you are in NYC and looking for something fun to check out, I highly recommend the trip down. If you only do it once, you can at least say you have been there and done that. Check out more photos from our visit below!