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New Sugar & Plumm Candy Store to Offer Cocktails and Stroller Valet

By Emily Frost | August 16, 2012 6:52pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — Sugar & Plumm, the controversial Upper West Side candy store that opened Thursday, will cate not only to kids with a sweet tooth but grown-ups as well — offering cocktails and even a stroller valet for weary moms.

The shop on Amsterdam Avenue and 78th Street — which drew the ire of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and parents, who thought it would encourage obesity among the neighborhood's children — will offer drinks, including wine, starting at lunchtime in its restaurant.

And in addition to a bakery, free Wi-Fi cafe, candy store, gelateria and sundae counter, gift shop and birthday spot, the store will also be offering a stroller valet to give a hand to the new moms that shop there.  

"If your child is sleeping and you want to pull the stroller right up to the table, you can. If you want to get it out of the way, you can check it," Chief Operating Officer Edward Rosenthal said.

The stroller valet will work just like a coat check. Parents will be given a ticket and their stroller will be taken and folded up in the back of the restaurant while they eat.

"Unlike at other places, nobody is going to make a face at you here if you ask about bringing your stroller inside or storing it," Rosenthal said.

Sugar & Plumm, whose flagship is based in Paramus, N.J., first presented its design plans to the city in December 2011 and was ordered by the Landmarks Preservation Commission told it to "tone down" its design, calling it "cutesie" and "tarted up,"

The LPC approved a new plan, designed by David Rockwell and based in part on a vintage photograph of the storefront, in January.

Residents worried the store would suburbanize the Upper West Side, known for its eclectic eateries, and feel like another mall store. 

Neighbor David Schatsky started a Facebook page and website in a campaign against Sugar & Plumm, but "wished them well" in an email Thursday.

"I hope they prove to be a good neighbor," wrote Schatsky. 

In late July, a vandal posted homemade stickers over Sugar & Plumm's facade with the words, “Childhood Obesity,” “Tooth Decay,” “Juvenile Diabetes” and “Drunk Nannies," the West Side Rag reported.

Rosenthal chalked this up to one angry individual and explained the neighborhood's less than welcoming response to "fear of the unknown."

On Thursday, Rosenthal was happy with the stream of customers and well-wishers he encountered. 

"I think — from what I can see — that people have uniformly embraced us. We've been under siege with people asking us when we're opening," said Rosenthal. 

Rosenthal, a former Upper West Sider, is also a father of two. He said he and his wife would have loved having something like Sugar & Plumm nearby. 

"There aren't a lot places where both the parents and kids can go and either party's experience is not marginalized," he said. 

Passersby stopped to look over the menu and look in at the 4,300-sq.-foot business.

"It's huge! Wow!" remarked Hugh Moore, 33, a local resident who strolled by with Amanda Kagiwada, 25. 

"I'm glad to see they have regular food as well as sweets. It actually looks really appealing," he said, stopping to look at the menu to the left of the lollipop-handled doorway. 

Moore was particularly impressed by the Fog City Burger, which featured roasted cubanelle salsa verde, New York muenster and a fried duck egg. 

Linda Sargent, 56, stopped to take in the new spot after finishing a workout at her gym.

"I didn't expect this at all," she said. "It's bigger than I thought it would be and it looks exciting and inviting."