“It’s not an industry you get into because you want to make a lot of money. It’s really because you love it,” says Marina Halpern, owner of Padoca Bakery. While many other restaurant businesses are struggling to keep their businesses in New York City with its high rent, health department inspections and increased competition, Halperin persisted in opening a bakery-café on the Upper East Side. She believed their location would contribute to the community as a local gathering spot, for both residents and the many hospital workers in the area. Moreover, no one is doing specialty coffee in the neighborhood.
There is a Starbucks a block away from Padoca, but Padoca Bakery successfully differentiates themselves as a specialty café by incorporating Brazilian themes. Padoca’s décor is hip and whimsical. The light fixtures are made from porcelain coffee pots, they have colorful chairs along with their popular swing chair that hangs from the ceiling. Moreover, the wooden tables and ceilings exacerbate the Brazilian vibes. Customers can buy pre-packaged salads and sandwiches, coffee from FAL Coffee, and their popular Brazilian-pastries. A popular choice is a Brazilian pastry called pal de quiet, which is essentially a fluffy cheese bread.
Marina Halpern moved from Saõ Paolo to New York City five years ago. She was involved in the entertainment industry, but in her free time took cake decorating classes at the French Culinary Institute in New York. Halpern says “I fell in love with it.” She then cultivated her skills in the food industry as she continued her studies, earned a professional certificate, interned as a pastry cook at The Dutch restaurant and worked at Tony Jean George’s The Mark. Halpern then finally decided that she wanted to open her own bakery. “When I decided to open he bakery, i realized New York has so much foot traffic and a great mix of cultures that would be perfect for the concept.” Marina’s plan is to grow slowly and steadily by eventually opening a few more stores, adding street kiosks in Carl Schurz Park and with her recent launch of catering services she hopes to achieve even greater success with Padoca.
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