There's a new cafe in New York City devoted to the popular spread
Credit: Photo by Rebecca Firkser

I’ve certainly eaten my fair share of Nutella smeared on a toasted baguette, but I’ve never really gotten into incorporating the spread into more daring flavor combinations. Luckily, the team behind the Nutella Cafe has. The first iteration of the cafe opened in Chicago last May, and the second will open in New York City this week. The large menu of breakfast and dessert items obviously features the chocolate-hazelnut spread, but their use of Nutella in each dish is surprisingly even-handed.

Perhaps the best bite I had when I visited was their chia hemp seed parfait, which featured Nutella-drizzled blueberries and Greek yogurt over granola and chia pudding. The tangy yogurt muted the sweetness of the Nutella, and with the tart blueberry and crunchy granola it was like a bite of pie on a spoon.

This was just one of the surprisingly delightful pairings the NYC Nutella Cafe serves. A buckwheat crepe filled with blackberries and Nutella is nutty and not the least bit cloying. Their pound cake “panzanella” features basil and mixed berries along with Nutella and hazelnuts. I’d expect to see dishes like this at an exclusive brunch spot, not a cafe that will cater mostly to tourists.

The Nutella Cafe’s attempt to democratize these more elevated flavor pairings through the lens of a popular supermarket spread is, in my opinion, quite charming. Will the average New Yorker make the cafe their new go-to brunch spot? Probably not, but that’s OK. Those who do visit the cafe will find flavorful treats that might actually influence the breakfasts they make at home.