The New Milk Bar Flagship Lets You Choose Your Own (Cake) Adventure

There’s no treat shop quite like Milk Bar. The wacky imagination of founder Christina Tosi has gifted us such sweet-tooth brilliance as Cereal Milk soft serve and Compost Cookies. And the James Beard Award–winning pastry chef proves she still has a few tricks up her sleeve with the city’s first flagship, opening November 16.

Located on the first floor of the Ace Hotel (in the former John Dory Oyster Bar space), the store was partially inspired by a school cafeteria—albeit one whose dominant colors are black and electric pink. Customers can grab a tray and wind their way through several different stations, where menu favorites (and plenty of new treats) are on display. “I had this idea of what a bigger Milk Bar could be, where we could let our imagination run wild in a way that’s kind of hard to capture in 500 square feet of space,” Tosi says. “We’ve pushed the boundaries of how big we can dream.”

So what else can Milk Bar diehards expect? Read on for everything you need to do (and eat, obviously) at this sugary paradise.

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the milk bar nyc build a cookie
Courtesy of Milk Bar

Build Your Own Cookie

One of the experiences only available at the New York flagship is the opportunity to book a 30-minute appointment to create your own jumbo cookie. Start by choosing a dough—sugar, chocolate, vanilla, gluten-free vanilla and our personal fave, corn—then pick up to three mix-ins. There are too many to list them all, but a few highlights are potato chips, dried blueberries and “Chocolate Birthday Cerealsies” (more on those below). Finally, your creation is baked and finished with your choice of even more toppings, like sprinkles and icing.

the milk bar nyc build a cake
Courtesy of Milk Bar

…or Cake

Milk Bar’s photogenic layer cakes are a birthday-party staple, and now you can build your ideal Franken-cake from the ground up. There is a dizzying amount of options: You customize the cake, soak, filling, crumb, frosting…and in true Tosi fashion, a “bonus bite” of either sprinkles or marshmallows. We’re already envisioning a cinnamon-butterscotch cake with a cold brew soak, dulce de leche filling, pretzel crumbs, birthday frosting and marshmallows.

the milk bar nyc soft serve
Courtesy of Milk Bar

Create Your Own Soft Serve Pint

While the cookie and cake customization must be reserved ahead of time, walk-ins are welcome to concoct the ice cream pint of their dreams. First, you choose a layer of soft serve (don’t miss the brand-new vegan apple pie flavor), followed by cake, sauce and crumb (basically crumbly, crunchy bits of cake). While technically you can take it to go, Tosi recommends digging right in—there are plenty of tables where you can enjoy your creation.

the milk bar nyc bagel bombs
Courtesy of Milk Bar

Get Bombed (not Like That)

Need something savory to offset all that sugar? The bagel bombs are one of the brand’s best sellers and the flagship offers three brand-new takes on the snack: eggplant Parm, Italian hero and pepperoni. All are warmed in the oven before serving, which means they’re crispy on the outside and ooey-gooey in the middle. While you’re in the pastry case section, don’t forget to sample the caramel corn cake truffle, a seasonal special only available at this store.

the milk bar nyc merch
Courtesy of Milk Bar

Pick Up Some Merch

You can proclaim your love for Milk Bar long after you leave the store by grabbing some swag. The mini-mart section stocks everything from Tosi’s cookbooks to the brand’s trademark bandanas, plus hats and necklaces that say “cereal milk,” which we’re already calling the must-have accessory for 2020. Candy fiends should also grab the brand-new Cerealsies: bite-size cereal bits dipped in flavors like mint cookies ’n’ cream, mini doughnut and (of course) birthday.

the milk bar nyc christina tosi
Courtesy of Milk Bar

…and Send Some To Friends

One of the most thoughtful touches in the store is the “send a package” station, where you can mail anything from a jar of cookies to a pile of truffles. Milk Bar provides boxes, decorative stamps and ink, and personalized notes, a nod to the care packages that Tosi loves to receive from her mom. The best part? Shipping from the store is free.

Whatever you decide to indulge in, Tosi just wants you to enjoy it. “Life is not made for bystanders,” she says. “Life is made for you to come out and be like ‘This is who I am: I woke up today; I showed up for life.’ And we want this to be a celebration of that.” We’ll raise a sprinkle-filled milkshake to that. 

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Freelance PureWow Editor