Before J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter,” saying that you liked reading was a sure way to be endlessly pilloried as a “nerd” at secondary school. And then, “Harry Potter” changed all that. Everyone coveted the next book in the series, and whoever read it first was a star. Fast forward almost two decades, and there is a multi-million dollar global business centred around this little bespectacled boy wizard, his friends and their escapades.
Over the summer of 2021, Harry Potter landed in NYC, and despite the passing of a few months, it’s still a struggle to visit. Access is granted via a virtual line, which entails scanning a QR code with your phone at the store’s front door. Expect to wander around the area from anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour or two, before you are called back to enter. Inside, it’s Harry Potter merchandise galore. The store is split over three floors, and evokes all the magic of the books. A menacing phoenix slowly rotates over the grand central staircase, which you use to navigate your path to fifteen different themed areas. There are a smattering of interactive game spots, an old-fashioned wand shop, a place to try on black dress robes and also broomsticks, skim over secret maps, flip through beautifully bound books, and an elevator that glows neon-green like the Floo Network. No ghost in the toilets, thankfully. We heard that there are also short VR experiences to be had, if you book in advance.
But you read this dessert blog for the desserts, so we will hop to it. Towards the exit of the store, you have two options for desserts. There’s a recreation of the good old English sweet shop, and from the floor-to-ceiling shelves, you can grab a box of chocolate frogs or Bertie Bott’s jelly beans, or even, a six-pack of butterbeer. But we instead recommend soaking up the hustle and bustle of the store by ordering a freshly-poured tankard of “Butterbeer” ($12) from the Butterbeer Bar. It’s essentially butterscotch-flavoured soft drink, with a generous layer of froth on top. The plastic souvenir mug is yours to keep, and there’s a clever dedicated spot for you to quickly wash it out so you can take it home, sans sticky mess. We like the “Butterbeer Ice Cream” ($7) more, vanilla soft serve swirled with butterscotch caramel. Both desserts though, are cloyingly sweet, so it would be an idea to share. There are also somewhat-overpriced cupcakes featuring green frogs and a snowy Hedwig owl ($9), and chocolate Sorting Hat cookies ($8).
New York’s Harry Potter store is apparently, the world largest Harry Potter store. It is coincidentally, located a short walk away from another mini-theme-park-like dessert flagship, Momofuku. If we were to choose, we would say spend your time at this British import instead. Yes, it’s as crowded and overpriced as Momofuku, but whereas Momofuku has become a dessert McDonald, there’s a twinkle of magic in the desserts from the Harry Potter Store.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Harry Potter Store NYC, 935 Broadway, Flatiron, Manhattan.
- ☑ Budget: $$.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Specialty sweet boutique.
- ☑ Must-eat: Butterbeer icecream.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: Sweet incantations.