"This whole thing started because I wanted my partner to make me a meal I could eat with one hand," said Bruffin co-founder Michael Bagley. Sandwiches and pizza slices weren't conducive to a rushed and busy lifestyle and Bagely's partner Medy Youcef, a Parisian baker, conceived a meal in a muffin.
The first rendition of the Bruffin was a brioche batter (hence, the name) with cheddar cheese and bacon, which Bagley recalls as "delicious but heavy." He wanted something easy to eat while still being healthy.
We lightened to dough to be more croissant-like and started adding fillings and flavor combinations based on different cuisines. Having worked for an international trading company, Bagley's travels inspired him as well as a tendency for consumers to "buy with the eye" -- so the Bruffin founders added flags to their product to attract hungry travelers.
After launching at LIC Flea & Food, The Bruffin was soon recruited for Smorgasburg, where international travelers discovered the baked treat. "Someone from Spain would have the Spanish Bruffin and reaffirm our product," Bagley said. Those who didn't see flags from their native countries wanted to know why, inspiring more creativity and flavor combinations from The Bruffin.
After Smorgasburg 2015, The Bruffin decided to go brick-and-mortar, opening The Bruffin Café in Gansevoort Market, which has a similar eclectic audience to Smorgasburg.
At The Bruffin Café, the product has gone beyond regionally inspired pastries like Greek (spiced beef, feta, spinach and Kalamata olives) and Swedish (salmon, herbed goat cheese, capers and spinach) to Bruffin entrees, including a bruffin bowl filled with tortilla or French onion soup and a Bruffin BLT. A Bruffin benedict is in the works!
"We were confident in our product, we didn't grow too quickly and our product had a sense of humor," said Bagley of The Bruffin's success. Seeing someone's eyes light up when biting into his or her first Bruffin continued to inspire the company, which is considering a new line of American Bruffins like Georgia peach and pecan or New Orleans Cajun.
(Credit: FACEBOOK/ TheBruffin)