Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts World NYC
Kellogg's Pop-Tarts World, which just opened on the heavily trafficked but somehow abandoned-feeling stretch of 42nd Street between Bryant Park and Times Square proper, is a loud, aggressively cheerful, crazily-lit, undisguised attempt by the makers of these iconic treats to scream about their brand for a bit and make a pile of money from visitors to our beautiful city. Although it's not being promoted as a pop-up shop, Kellogg's Pop-Tarts World feels very haphazard and unfinished, and the company admits their lease on the space runs only through January, when all the tourists, coincidentally enough, go back home. Will this temple of toaster pastries become a permanent fixture? It seems unlikely, but between now and the New Year, it's definitely worth popping by Pop-Tarts World for the sheer spectacle of the thing, especially if you're doing the Forty-Deuce circuit with out-of-town visitors.
Kellogg's Pop-Tarts World NYC has three main regions, the most popular of which–and we're talking lines-out-the-door popular–is The Varietizer, essentially a vending machine on steroids through which people gladly pay $2 per pop-tart for a cleverly-designed, robotically-delivered variety pack of pastries. The neon-ish double-frosted Wild Grape seemed to be the most popular flavor among Varietizer users when we were there, but other choices include modern-day breakfast travesties such as S'Mores, Hot Fudge Sundae, and Vanilla Milkshake as well as classic flavors like Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Blueberry.
Also causing quite a ruckus here at Kellogg's Pop-Tarts World, especially among New York City food-lovers: the Pop-Tarts World Cafe, which serves an astonishingly large (and, less astonishingly, quite pricey) menu, with every "dish" at least ostensibly made from the pastries, including the by-now notorious Pop-tarts Sushi. Gothamist publisher Jake Dobkin was brave enough to taste this best-selling creation a couple of weeks ago, and declared "Like Proust's madeleine, the taste of the Pop-Tarts Sushi instantly took me back to my childhood. Specifically, memories of attempting to eat bubblegum and graham crackers at the same time. I guess that's why I never tried that again." Honestly, we didn't have the guts to sample anything here, but our friends over at Serious Eats have a good round-up of the not-so-goodies. And lest we seem unduly cynical about the whole Pop-tart-based cuisine, we will say that we met two eleven-year-old girls from Michigan who were wolfing down their Kellogg's Pop-Tarts Sushi and called the creation, in unison: "Amazing!!!!"
The third primary realm of Kellogg's Pop-Tarts World is the custom T-shirt station, at which you choose up to three pieces of clip-art–one of which, bizarrely, looks like the old AT&T logo–and for a mess of a heavily-branded garment. Or you can just purchase any number of other pre-designed Pop-Tarts shirts. Or magnets. Or mugs, pencils, keychains, tote bags… anything on which you can combine "Pop-Tarts" and "NYC" is fair game and priced high at Kellogg's Pop-Tarts World.
Kellogg's Pop-Tarts World Details
Pop-Tarts World is located on 42nd Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, and is open every day from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. The Kellogg's Pop-Tarts World staff is young and infectiously cheerful, the music is loud and '80s, the decor just ridiculous.