Everybody's got a million dollar idea, but few people figure things out like Melissa Ben-Ishay did. Baked By Melissa has completely taken over the NYC cupcake racket, essentially putting Crumbs out of business and relegating Magnolia to tourist-only territory. There are now 14 Baked By Melissa stores, including a shop at JFK's JetBlue Terminal 5, and they're quickly expanding their empire of tiny cupcakes. At this point, it's pretty much impossible to have an awkward office birthday party without these things.
Aside from her baking talent, Melissa knows a thing or two about where to eat in NYC, and was kind enough to hook us up with a Friday Fives. Check out her Perfect For picks below, and follow Melissa on Instagram and Facebook. Also be sure to give mom the gift of exclusive Baked By Melissa cupcake flavors for Mother's Day, further solidifying your position as the most popular member of your family, assuming you don't have a dog.
Melissa's "perfect for" picks
"My favorite Italian food in the city. The owner acts as headwaiter when he’s there and he’s so cute. Only go here if you’re OK leaving in a food coma or maybe I just don’t have self-control. Either way, you have to try the meatballs."
"It’s Mediterranean/Moroccan like my husband and reminds him of home, which makes me happy. If you’re on the market for an Israeli spouse you should totally go here. It’s pretty much the closest you can get to a cafe in Tel Aviv here in the city. The haloumi eggs are my go to - and lots of sides. I love everything on the menu.
"It’s a great new spot in Chelsea with a menu that focuses on oysters, seafood, salads and sharing - every girl’s dream. There’s also Gilded Lily downstairs, a club where you and your girls can go wild after."
"I usually don’t like restaurants where you order at a counter before being seated but everything at Grey Dog is amazing. Their chicken salad melt is the best I’ve ever had and they have home made desserts – even though nothing compares to Baked by Melissa it’s nice to have an oversized cookie or piece of cake every now and then ;)"
"If you love food you need to go here (at least) once. They treat you like royalty, each one of the 12+ courses are delicious, they have the best chocolate covered pretzels you will ever have AND you get a parting gift."