Raising the Bar on Fanciful Desserts

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Raising the Bar on Fanciful Desserts

By Kathy Hayden - 12/11/2017

New York magazine’s Grub Street food section reported that Christina Tosi’s bakery mini-chain, Milk Bar, “which has grown from the original East Village outpost to 12 spots spread across four cities and two countries – just closed on a Series A funding round.” While Milk Bar isn’t revealing a precise amount, The Wall Street Journal heard that it was “an eight-figure investment.”

According to Milk Bar’s own press release, “The new funding will be used to further Milk Bar’s mission of making life a little sweeter, and marks the brand’s first outside investment following nine years of steady and profitable growth.”

From humble beginnings as the dessert provider at David Chang’s original Momofuku restaurant, Tosi is now being called “the Martha Stewart for this Generation.” And Milk Bar fans can attest that her highly original baked goods, with names like “compost cookies and crack pie,” are worthy of cult-like devotion.

While Tosi is busy assuring her fans that growth will be steady and thoughtful, New York magazine reported that investor RSE also invests in the reservation app Resy and trendy fast-casual pizzeria chain &pizza, but it’s otherwise mostly a sports-focused fund. RSE is predicting that Tosi could become a full-blown “lifestyle brand,” a term that could include anything from branding bakeware to designing furniture, paint colors and beyond. More realistically, it means Tosi will partner with retailers to sell packaged dessert mixes, proprietary beverage lines, and more branded merchandise.

This investment also shows that restaurant desserts, which industry experts have reported to be on the decline, can still be big business when an innovative pastry chef brings something unique and new to the market.

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Original pie and pastry names for signature store-made treats
  • Whimsical pastries with lots of colors and sprinkles
  • Flavored milk and cookie pairings on the kids’ menu

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