High-rise pancakes with berries, jam, vanilla cream and brown-butter maple,...

High-rise pancakes with berries, jam, vanilla cream and brown-butter maple, at Buttercooky Bakery & Cafe in Manhasset. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Ben Borgognone, Jr. feels the legacy of Buttercooky Bakery in his bones: The 29-year-old was born a year after his father, Ben Sr., bought the Floral Park shop (established in 1962), and both he and his younger brother, Francesco, grew up working there pretty much every day they weren’t in school — bakery summers, bakery vacations, bakery holidays, even bakery snow days.

But he also knows that if Buttercooky is to remain one of LI’s foundational bakeries it must change to accommodate a new generation of customers, his generation. And that’s what he is attempting to do at Buttercooky in Manhasset which, after 18 years, has relaunched with a new concept, design and menu.

Gone are the old-fashioned chandeliers and dark, stained-wood panels and molding. Borgognone took inspiration from both Italy and Scandinavia to create a sleek but warm interior with decorative birch slats and imported white marble. “We didn’t want to change the DNA of the place,” he said, “but we wanted to make it lighter, brighter, more inviting to a younger clientele and a place Manhasset would be proud of.”

The cocoa-dusted tiramisu puff at Buttercooky Bakery & Cafe in...

The cocoa-dusted tiramisu puff at Buttercooky Bakery & Cafe in Manhasset. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Half of the store is given over to tables, chairs and banquettes but pride of place belongs to the baked goods. “The most thought-out area is where we put the breakfast pastries,” he said, pointing to street-facing cases that house croissants, brioches, palmiers, doughnuts, crumb cakes, nut rings and more golden-brown treats.

Ben Borgognone Sr., scion of the storied Alba bakery in Brooklyn as well as a former pastry chef at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, has always been one of Long Island’s most gifted pastry chefs; his son builds beautifully on that base, creating a range of exquisite pastries like the tiramisu puff, a crackle-topped cream puff snowed under with cocoa; a startling pink-and-green ingot filled with raspberries and topped with pistachio cream; a multilayered tiramisu made green with matcha. These items give way to cupcakes, layer cakes, cheesecakes, pies, tarts, cookies.

Originally a bakery only, the Manhasset store added a cafe in 2017. Some of the most popular dishes combine sweet and savory: a croissant “suprême,” shaped like a hatbox, makes a much better platform for a bacon-egg-cheese (and basil aioli) sandwich than would a crescent-shaped croissant. (That same croissant suprême is also, somehow, filled with crème brûlée, making it an easy choice for indecisive types.)

Croissant "suprême" sandwich with bacon, eggs, cheese and basil aioli,...

Croissant "suprême" sandwich with bacon, eggs, cheese and basil aioli, at Buttercooky Bakery & Cafe in Manhasset. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Other brunch-friendly items include fat little pancakes topped with berries, berry jam and brown-butter maple syrup; Nutella-banana crepes, smoked salmon tostadas with poached eggs and mashed avocados. Then there are the dozens of sandwiches, wraps, salads and bowls that round out the savory offerings, along with a children's menu. Another upgrade: more sophisticated coffee.

“We had to raise our coffee game,” Borgognone Jr. explained. “Plenty of our old customers were happy with a cup of good drip coffee, but to compete these days we had to take it to a new level.” The shop engaged the services of La Colombe, the Philadelphia-based roaster that was at the forefront of the American coffee renaissance of the 1990s. The company supplies Buttercooky with an excellent drip coffee but also training and equipment for pulled espresso drinks and two coffees on tap, cold brew and a suave, nutty oat milk latte with hint of fizz. “If people were coming back for the croissant, now they are coming back for the coffee too.”

While Borgognone Jr. runs the Manhasset Buttercooky, his brother, Francesco, runs the one in Huntington (converted from Reinwald’s to Buttercooky in 2017). Their father presides over the mother ship in Floral Park which now occupies more than half its block of Jericho Turnpike. Since 2021, all three have been collaborating on BC Bistro, an elegant New American restaurant located adjacent to the original Buttercooky.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the bakery’s motto:

“Baked with butter makes it better.”

Buttercooky Bakery & Cafe, 140 Plandome Rd., Manhasset, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 516-627-1600, buttercookybakery.com

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