Upon opening the doors to Faneuil Hall Marketplace, it’s easy to believe the plenitude of restaurants the building hosts. Amid the aroma of pizza, enchiladas, gyros, and barbeque, one sweet scent stands out from the rest. Look to the left, and the source becomes immediately apparent: Magnolia Bakery.
Magnolia Bakery opened its first store in 1996 in the West Village of New York City. Since then, the company has expanded to include 25 bakeries worldwide, but it was not until this spring that Boston came to be included on that list.
Made famous by an appearance on Sex and the City, Magnolia is revered for its cupcakes and bestselling banana pudding. Also on the menu are pies, mini cheesecakes, cakes, cookies, icebox desserts, brownies, and bars of all different flavors.
According to Bobbie Lloyd, chief baking officer, all six of the New York City locations are neighborhood bakeries. As such, all products are baked fresh on site daily.
In the United States, Magnolia has bakeries in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and now Boston. Lloyd said the convenience of Boston being on the Eastern seaboard was one key factor in deciding to open a location in the city.
“It’s easiest for us to get from New York to Boston to Washington, D.C.,” she said.
Boston has personal significance for Lloyd, whose career launched there.
“For me personally it’s sort of a homecoming in that I lived in Boston for a number of years,” she said. “I went to culinary school in Boston. I opened my first restaurant in the Boston area.”
The Faneuil Hall Marketplace location is made unique by its historical significance. Designers worked with the physical characteristics of the existing space to create a look that both honors Faneuil Hall and remains consistent with the atmosphere that defines all Magnolia Bakery locations.
“I think we sort of hit that beautifully by our light fixtures, our tiles, our color palette. You walk in and you know it’s Magnolia Bakery,” said Lloyd.
The Faneuil Hall Marketplace location opened on March 29, with all of the classic baked treats filling the displays.
“We always launch any store opening with all of our beloved, classic Magnolia Bakery items from our vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet cupcakes to our famed banana pudding,” said Lloyd.
Exclusively for the Boston location, Magnolia created the Boston cream pie banana pudding. The dessert is comprised of layers of pudding, bananas, vanilla wafers, and chocolate fudge.
“It’s really fun and it really does taste like the best version of a Boston cream pie you’ve ever had,” said Lloyd. “It’s quite delicious.”
The new location has been extremely well received by the public, according to Lloyd. The opening day had long lines for hours on end, and many attended a private event on April 17 to celebrate the opening. Entitled “A Taste of Magnolia Bakery,” the event featured samples of many treats, including the Boston cream pie banana pudding, and an opportunity to meet Bobbie Lloyd.
The new Boston cream pie banana pudding has been particularly popular, with Magnolia patrons taking to social media to share their love for the dessert.
“From all the comments I’ve seen on social media people are loving the Boston cream pie banana pudding,” said Lloyd. “The response to it has been pretty phenomenal—people are loving it.”
Magnolia doesn’t plan to stop at Faneuil Hall Marketplace with its Boston expansion. According to Lloyd, the company has a long term goal for one or two other metro Boston locations. While she did not specify where these bakeries will be, Lloyd has lived in Brookline, Cambridge, and Back Bay and expressed a particular appreciation for those communities.
“The outpouring of love for Magnolia has been pretty spectacular,” said Lloyd. “I don’t want to say I didn’t expect it, but I was still surprised.”
Featured Images by Chloe McAllaster / Heights Editor