This city just can't get enough of the Big Apple's eats, can it? Tokyo has seen dozens of NYC-born restaurants and cafés – from Café Habana to Dominique Ansel Bakery – make it big over the past few years, and Baked, a popular Brooklyn- and Manhattan-based bakery (no way!), is hoping to be next line.
Having jumped on the bandwagon and opened their first location in Tokyo just a couple of days ago, the folks behind Baked land with ambitions that are clearly bigger than the stall they've set up on the underground floor of Shinjuku Isetan – a rather modest operation compared to their stateside quarters. Ahead of the grand opening, we got together to chat with owners Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, who flew halfway around the world to oversee the launch.
In 2005, chocolate shop owner Matt Lewis and web designer Renato Poliafito founded Baked in Brooklyn as an all-American bakery offering a sit-down experience a la European cafés. Following great success, they eventually opened a second location in Manhattan, drawing ever larger crowds of both locals and tourists with their creations. Taking things one (or four) steps further, they decided to hop over the Pacific and set up shop in Isetan's famous food hall, nestled in alongside their heroes Jean-Paul Hévin and Pierre Hermé.
Granted, their Tokyo menu isn’t as extensive as the New York equivalent, but it does feature their finest, most popular treats, from decadent chewy chocolate brownies and red velvet whoopie pies to a classic American cheesecake, inspired by Matt’s grandmother's graham cracker crust recipe.
While most ingredients used in these goodies are the same as they are in Brooklyn, the duo ended up having to make their brown sugar from scratch because they couldn't match the original taste with the Japanese variety. Though their cakes and whoopie pies have been shrunk to 'Japanese size', we can testify that they still taste heavenly and are topped with authentically American frosting.
We’re expecting to see lines form here on a daily basis – popularity that'll hopefully persuade Lewis and Poliafito to expand the menu to include their gooey caramel-filled homemade ‘Twix’ bar and Instagram-friendly confetti cake.