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Biting into the pumpkin cookie at Tiny Pumpkin Cafe in Bayside is like noshing on a piece of autumn.
Shaped like miniature pumpkins, the cookies have a pumpkin purée mixture in the middle and are topped with little pumpkin seeds. Yet, unlike fall and the pumpkin spice that has been splashing in our coffee cups — and across our social media feeds since summer’s end, those pumpkin cookies will be available long after all things peppermint have pushed pumpkin aside at most other bakeries, coffee houses and stores.
The adorable Tiny Pumpkin Café opened this past July and is devoted to everything pumpkin all-year round. Think pumpkin lattes, of course, but also pumpkin porridge, pumpkin ice cream and more pumpkin drinks and sweets.
Tiny Pumpkin is the first U.S. outpost of the South Korean bakery brand, which launched in 2012, and quickly developed a dedicated audience for its pumpkin goods. In South Korea, Tiny Pumpkin is known for promoting the numerous health benefits of pumpkins, such as its high Vitamin A content, antioxidant levels and more, a mission the company hopes to continue in the U.S.
“Bayside is like my hometown in the U.S.,” said Mel Lee, the director of Tiny Pumpkin’s marketing agency, Social Wink. “I have been doing my other businesses in this area over 20 years, and I’d like to bring something extraordinary to my neighborhood.”
While the café is small, the food and drinks pack a punch of flavor. Everything is made naturally, without any artificial ingredients or processes, which results in a pumpkin flavor that is more mild and less overly sweet than the pumpkin spice items you might be familiar with from other bakeries and coffee houses. Because pumpkin itself is more popular in the U.S. than South Korea, Lee expects sourcing most of the major ingredients used in their food and drink items will be easier here. With the exception of the coffee beans, which they source from Brazil, all the ingredients come from within the U.S. In addition to the pumpkin cookies, Lee recommends newbies to the café try the pumpkin scones and pumpkin rice punch, a sweet, creamy drink that makes for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.
While Tiny Pumpkin Café will have a pumpkin menu throughout the year, with new items launching throughout, they also have some non-pumpkin items such as lattes, cappuccinos, various teas, smoothies and bingsoos, a popular Korean shaved ice dessert with various toppings.
“I want people to feel comfortable enjoying their drinks and food while staying at Tiny Pumpkin and leave with happiness and thinking of coming back to Tiny Pumpkin in their near future,” Lee said.
While small inside, Tiny Pumpkin Café does offer some seating. The artful pumpkin-inspired decor gives the café a mellow, welcoming atmosphere which, combined with the free samples that are often available, make it easy to relax into the space for a bit.
Lee said the hope is they’ll be able to expand Tiny Pumpkin Café to other locations in Manhattan, New Jersey and possibly Los Angeles.
Tiny Pumpkin Café is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you love pumpkin, you’ll jump for joy at the new cafe.
Tiny Pumpkin is located at 216-21 Northern Boulevard in Bayside, Queens.