New York City is a place where it is easy to make a spectacle out of food or food into a spectacle. In and around Times Square it is easy to see why. There are stores dedicated to M&Ms and to Hershey’s candies as well as the movie tie-in, Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant and many more. Sometimes there are even stores that pop-up for short periods for the increased media attention that anything in Times Square receives. The latest one of note is the Pop-Tarts World store open now through January, or even longer depending on its success. The store is situated on 42nd Street, a bit less prominent than the candy stores aforementioned. And while it seems a work in progress, unfortunately the single entrance door covered with decals makes it feel a bit illicit as you can’t see what is inside due to a dim light situation.
Inside there is standard gift shop merchandise including postcards and magnets plus custom t-shirts as well as unique food creations and likely every Pop-tart flavor under the sun. There is also the “Varietizer” which allows customers to select flavors and make custom packages to take home. Tasty delights are handmade at the store and include custom Pop-tarts, baked goods, ice cream combinations and Pop-tarts sushi, likely the holy grail of Kellogg’s marketing as the Double Down has been for KFC.
Pop-tarts sushi is not like any delicacy from the Far East. It is a concoction of chopped pastries inside a rainbow fruit roll-up wrap that’s sticky to the touch, sugary to the core. And prepared fresh by the chef. I had thought I would play it safe and get a soft-serve with bits of pop-tarts mixed in, but it wasn’t available at the time. Instead, I choose the peanut butter blondie and then dared myself to go for the sushi. The former was a nice almost traditional pastry with pop-tarts atop it while the latter overwhelmed my sweet tooth. For a new take on nostalgia or for a “what in the world could they come up with next?” moment, the sushi is its own tourist attraction.
Also of note, the original Soup Man store of Seinfeld fame returned to NYC on July 20th. The wait was over an hour long as people queued up for fresh soups, both hot and cold, free t-shirts and perhaps a scolding from “Soup Nazi”-inspiration, Al Yeganeh. Unfortunately, Yeganeh was not there and may not even have a hand in the company any more. But a DJ and circling media created enough buzz to keep interest strong throughout the day. Plus, there was plenty of quality of soup to go around.