Chocolate-hazelnut lovers, rejoice! The long-anticipated Nutella Café is opening its first-ever New York location in Union Square on Wednesday, and will be serving up a whole menu of Nutella-laced treats.
The sweet paste, originally a solution to the shortage of cocoa in Italy following World War II, was created by Pietro Ferrero in 1946 using hazelnuts, sugar and just a hint of cocoa. Ferrero named it “Giandujot” after a famous local carnival character and sold it in a dense loaf-like shape that could be sliced.
It wasn’t until 1951 that the paste was transformed into a spread, called “SuperCrema,” and 1964 that Pietro’s son, Michele, adjusted the recipe and created the first-ever jar of chocolate hazelnut cream and dubbed it “Nutella.” In 1965, Nutella’s iconic jar was born, and the product reached Germany and France, where it was met with great acclaim. Over the next several decades, Nutella continued its global expansion – and became a breakfast and dessert favorite around the world.
Out of the jar
Although there were already Nutella counters and fountains in New York and Chicago’s Eataly, and Toronto has a Nutella cafe within a store, it wasn’t until May 2017 that Ferrero International S.A. opened its first owned and operated restaurant. The two-story Nutella Café in Chicago was constructed as an entirely unique space for Nutella fans to experience and enjoy the delicious spread from the moment they walk through the jar-shaped door.
The cafe has seen immense success and has been the source of continued excitement over the last 18 or so months, and it seemed only natural for the company to open a second location; this time, in New York.
Nutella takes New York
Reports began surfacing over a year ago that Ferrero International was eyeing a 2,200-square-foot space in the bustling Union Square neighborhood, and it confirmed in June that the second U.S. Nutella Café would fill the location by year’s end. And finally, after months – who’re we kidding? years – of anticipation, New York’s Nutella Café is opening this week, at 116 University Place.
The restaurant features an all-new Create Your Own station, where visitors can choose a base (crepe, buckwheat crepe, country-style oats, polenta pancakes, Liège-style waffle, or croissant French toast); an optional extra serving of Nutella for a dollar more; fillings (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, banana or apple compote); and toppings (whipped cream, chopped hazelnut or gelato). The cheapest selection, a crepe or buckwheat crepe with Nutella, will run you $5.95 and, depending on your fillings and toppings, each costing between $1 and $3.95, it goes up from there.
The Nutella Café will also offer a selection of bakery items, including the grilled baguette and flaky croissant, both favorites at the Chicago location. The unexpectedly delicious grilled banana bread, which is warmed and topped with a Nutella drizzle, banana slice, and toasted hazelnuts, and the hazelnut blondie, which are both new to the New York cafe, join the mouth-watering lineup.
Since Nutella has long been a breakfast staple, the restaurant was sure to include some options for the most important meal of the day as well. Visitors can choose from the Chicago fan-favorite pound cake panzanella – a blend of yogurt, basil and mixed berries topped with Nutella and toasted hazelnuts – the overnight oats, and strawberry quinoa pudding, or the all-new chia hemp seed parfait – made with Nutella and layered with fruit, granola and Greek yogurt.
The Union Square cafe also features a gelato station, which offers traditional Nutella-infused flavors, as well as the new frozen Nutella pops, which are served in a fun push-pop that will bring even the grumpiest of patrons back to childhood (and are sure to be a big hit in the scorching summer months).
The Nutella Café has a long list of hot and iced beverages, some of which include the chocolate hazelnut spread or the Nutella whipped cream, to go alongside the yummy treats.
In addition to the lengthy (and hazelnut-chocolatey) menu, visitors will find a wall of Nutella merchandise, including personalized jars, “Good Morning” breakfast kits, mugs and even flash drives. The space also features a bright white, backlit selfie wall, where patrons can snap some Instagram-worthy photos in front of the Nutella name and shapes.
No corner has gone unconsidered in the cafe. After entering through a signature Nutella jar-shaped door (reminiscent of that at the Chicago location), visitors will see spread-like brown shapes on the ceiling, chandeliers that are modeled after the jar’s yellow flower, and milky white walls and giant Nutella jar decor throughout.
Beginning in January, the cafe will offer customers the chance to sign up for interactive Nutella-based cooking workshops and experiences, and, if you’re lucky, Chef Audrey will let you try some of her new creations before then.
The restaurant will open to the public at noon on Wednesday. It’s sure to see lines around the block, but don’t let the crowds dissuade you – the Nutella Café is not to be missed.
Nutella Cafe, 116 University Place, Union Square, nutellacafenyc.com. Open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, 8 a.m. -10 p.m. Saturdays, and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.