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Magnolia Bakery is a chain of bakeries founded in New York City. The first location opened in 1996 at 401 Bleecker Street, on the corner of West 11th Street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. The bakery is known for its desserts, especially its cupcakes.
The original Magnolia Bakery was opened in 1996 by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey. The bakery began making cupcakes with leftover cake batter, and the cupcakes subsequently became very popular with customers. In 1999, co-owner Jennifer Appel left the business after a disagreement about expansion plans. Appel opened Buttercup Bake Shop in the Midtown East section of Manhattan. In 2006, Allysa Torey sold Magnolia Bakery to a new owner, Steve Abrams, who now serves as the CEO of the company.
The bakery is sometimes credited with helping to start a 1990s "cupcake craze". Co-owners Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey published a book in 1999 entitled The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes from New York's Sweetest Bakery. The exterior of the original bakery, as well as its cupcakes, were featured in Lazy Sunday, a Saturday Night Live digital short broadcast in December 2005. The bakery was also featured on Sex and the City, in the film Prime, in which one of the characters throws Magnolia pies at his ex-girlfriends, and in The Devil Wears Prada, in which the character Andy says at one point that she needs to get to the bakery to pick something up for her boyfriend. The sitcom Spin City also has Charlie Sheen's character bringing Magnolia Cupcakes to Heather Locklear's character. On October 16, 2008, Conan O'Brien bought a cupcake for each member of his audience during a taping of Late Night. It was also briefly mentioned in the third season of Veronica Mars, the title character affectionately mentioning a picture of her father "stuffing cupcakes in [his] face at Magnolia Bakery."
Magnolia Bakery has expanded from its original location with additional stores in the U.S. and the Middle East. In 2011, Magnolia Bakery CEO Steve Abrams stated that he had plans to open approximately three stores a year, and he added that he would work with franchisees to expand internationally. The company's U.S. locations include stores in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Magnolia Bakery's first non-US store opened in Dubai in 2010. According to the company's website, it is working with franchisees to open stores in Tokyo, Moscow, and Mexico City.