When you mention “Martha’s,” practically every New Yorker knows what you’re talking about. A quick Instagram search of #MarthasCountryBakery gives you more than 2,000 results, and each picture looks better than the last. So, it’s no surprise that this week’s Pick of the Week is Martha’s Country Bakery.
First, we want to introduce you to someone. This is George Stertsios.
George is the mastermind behind every single pastry, cake, and dessert that comes out of Martha’s Country Bakery. A pastry chef by trade, George carried on the legacy of Martha’s Country Bakery, started by his father in Hell’s Kitchen in 1972, named after his wife and George’s mother. It was at this original bakery that George got his start, scrubbing pots and pans at just 10 years old. Joined later by Tony Zannikos, George created the Martha’s that we know and love today.
There’s two reasons we love Martha’s Country Bakery: the atmosphere, and, of course, the desserts.
Martha’s is a place for everyone– in our visit alone we saw everyone from mothers with babies in their strollers, to teens grabbing some dessert after school, to older couples enjoying the amazing sweets. It’s easy to understand why people keep coming back, an why there’s no time of year that nearly all the seats aren’t filled– Martha’s Country Bakery is accessible and enjoyable. They’ve got sweets that can rival nearly all the bakeries in Manhattan, and yet they don’t seem pretentious at all, but rather, Martha’s feels cozy and friendly.
NOW LET’S GET TO DESSERT.
Okay listen. You guys. This is great. We got to eat CAKE to write this review. A LOT OF CAKE. And it was all beyond awesome.
George tells us the best seller is the Berry Napolean– and boy, did it deliver. As someone who doesn’t like overly sweet desserts, the Berry Napolean had literally the perfect amount of sweetness, and it’s a great choice for someone easily overwhelmed by sweets.
Another good choice for those that like a less sweet dessert is the Carrot Cake, which was phenomenal as well. It was perfectly moist and the carrot flavor wasn’t at all overbearing– but light and tasty.
A huge crowd favorite is the Red Velvet Cake, and we can see why. Red Velvet Cake can easily feel too heavy, between the thick, red cake and the yummy cream cheese frosting, but we loved it.
Now, there’s more to Martha’s Country Bakery than just cake. They’ve got everything from cannolis to pecan tarts, and they’ve got something for literally everyone. Are you more in the mood for something cold? They’ve got gelato. Want a drink? They’ve got frappucinos and capuccinos for you.
The menu changes constantly at Martha’s. Each month, George thinks up something new, and tweaks it until it’s perfect. Then, he makes everyone try it. His wife, daughter, and every single staff member is privy to this new creation, and gives their input. It’s an intense labor of love, but it makes for flawless, perfected desserts every single time. One of the latest additions to the menu is macarons, and each bite size macaron is the perfect mix of chewy, flaky and gooey.
When we sat down with George, we learned two really awesome things. The first is: Ask your waitress what’s baking! At each location there are 9 to 12 chefs baking around the clock, and there’s nothing better than grabbing a fresh, warm, straight out of the oven muffin. Seriously. There is no greater pleasure in life.
The second: COFFEE. Martha’s Country Bakery is in the process of unveiling an entirely new and improved coffee line. They’ve teamed up with expert coffee makers who live, breathe and dream coffee, and are bringing different coffee beans from all over the world to Martha’s. This is going to be a coffee experience like you’ve never had before. We are so excited. Give Me Astoria RUNS on caffeine.
One last surprise: Keep an eye out. Martha’s Country Bakery is expanding! To add to their current locations in Astoria, Forest Hills and Bayside, there will be new locations opening in Manhattan and Williamsburg…but you know which one will always have our heart.