For some people, quality control isn’t a business practice; it’s a way of life. Take Kathleen King. Today, the polished Hamptons born-and-bred entrepreneur is widely recognized as the producer and purveyor of the country’s best chocolate chip cookies from Tate’s Bake Shop. When she was 11, she was an ambitious young baker with a much older chef’s eye for detail. When King’s mother returned from the grocery store with less costly chocolate chips, young Kathleen sent her straight back for the good stuff. Today, Kathleen and the Tate’s team are developing new recipes and keeping that same eagle eye on attention to the details, especially in her signature crispy chocolate chip cookies.
Most New Yorkers know Tate’s cookies from specialty shops like Dean and DeLuca, Balducci’s, or Zabar’s. East Enders may have even stopped into the brand’s cozy flagship shop in Southampton. But this winter, for the first time, Tate’s is staking out their own piece of Manhattan real estate – and like everything King does, it’s uncommonly high quality. Tate’s Pop-Up Shop is in the heart of midtown’s iconic Bryant Park.
Yes, you read that right, and no, they’re not on one of the streets that line the park. They’re actually inside it, just behind the New York Public Library and a quick jaunt from Bryant Park Grill. How? Well, they’re not alone: Tate’s Bake Shop Pop-Up is a part of the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, an annual carnival of vendors and cafés, plus a stunning Christmas tree and skating rink, that transforms the landmark urban greenspace into a winter wonderland. Tate’s just happens to have snagged a spot immediately beside the Christmas tree on the east side of the park, a fitting location for the rigorously perfect cookies and sweets that made the company a household name nationwide.
The move into Manhattan is an especially sweet one for King, who started the Bake Shop as a child and grew it into a successful national brand. 16 years ago, she rededicated herself to her roots in Southampton at the original bake shop and reimagined it with her father’s nickname, Tate’s. Today, the brand is in the middle of a renaissance that shows no signs of stopping and includes their cozy pop-up in the Winter Village. Tate’s has become synonymous with the country’s best chocolate chip cookies and can be found in better specialty shops and supermarkets across America, but Bryant Park is the brand’s first dedicated pop-up-shop.
Savvy shoppers already know that Tate’s is America’s top-rated chocolate chip cookie, but the shop will offer more: specials of the season like peppermint cookie bark and macaroons, holiday gift baskets to take with you or order for delivery, and even delicious gluten-free options. Everything is based on King’s own recipes, which she began developing as a child. Today, the thin, buttery crunch of her chocolate chip cookies is a signature, and she’s constantly testing new flavors; the Bake Shop also takes online orders nationwide, often times with free shipping.
None of that compares to the Bryant Park pop-up, though, where you can snag a bag of chocolate chip cookies, then meander over to Danny Meyer’s Public Fare at the northeast corner of the park for a cup of coffee to sip with them like King does. In the evenings, try a cookie with a White Russian, a throwback to the Hamptons bars where King sold the cookies in her youth before Tate’s Bake Shop became a nationwide phenomenon. Now that’s forward-thinking entrepreneurship – but it’s just the kind of attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from the 11-year-old who insisted on top-notch chocolate chips (and wouldn’t settle for less!).