UPPER WEST SIDE — Rather than try to imitate the French macaron craze, married business partners Christina Ha and Simong Tung decided to infuse their version of the goodies with the American junk food staples they grew up eating — like Cheetos and S'mores.
Now, after the success of their Macaron Parlour in the East Village, which debuted in October 2012, the couple will open a second location Feb. 6 on Columbus Avenue and West 87th Street.
They'll feature their full roster of eclectic macaron flavors — like candied bacon with maple cream cheese, Cheetos, S'Mores, and the Elvis, made of peanut butter and caramelized bananas — as well as more traditional choices like strawberry and pistachio.
"We want to be a neighborhood bakery, not just a fast-transaction place," said Ha, who noted the Upper West Side was crying out for more sweet shops and bakeries.
The space will have several tables and room for about a dozen people to sit. It will serve coffee and feature an expanded pastry menu, including blueberry ricotta muffins, bacon gruyere scallion scones, vegan morning glory muffins, and gluten-free banana bread, Ha said.
"We’re trying to hit a lot of ground," she said, noting that unlike in the East Village, she expects they'll be serving a larger breakfast crowd on the Upper West Side.
The road to opening a second store started back in 2009, when Ha, who is now 28, and Tung, 31, were each itching to leave their day jobs in PR and legal recruiting, respectively, and started making macarons out of a rented Brooklyn kitchen space.
After a big break at the Hester Street Fair, where they launched the brand, Ha invested in a three-day macaron class in Paris, helping her perfect her technique. She later went to pastry school on weekends, and the two continued to invest time and money in their concept.
In the span of six months in 2012, Ha and Tung got married and opened their first brick-and-mortar location on St. Mark's Place.
Tung described their success as "kind of insane," when he paused to look back on their very first street batches of macarons.
Being married has helped both their relationship and their business, he explained.
"We’re forced to sort problems out instead of avoiding them," he said. "If you’re a business partner you can just walk away. There’s no walking away."
Jacob's Pickles, the craft beer and Southern food restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue and West 84th Street, has a new executive chef, the eatery announced. Robbie Cohen, who grew up on the Upper West Side, has led kitchens at various New York City restaurants, including City Crab and Seafood and McCormick and Schmick’s. He has a professed love of comfort food and is testing new menu items, according to the restaurant.
The bakery and restaurant is set to reopen on May 1 on Amsterdam Avenue at West 90th in the space housing Famous Amadeus Pizza, the site reported.
The restaurant's former location was refurbished and taken over by the Mediterranean newcomer Cibo e Vino.