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Local Sweets: Four Standout Bakeries in the Lower East Side

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” This quotation comes from “A Room of One’s Own,” a 1929 essay by Virginia Woolf. Ninety years on, the sentiment still resonates. That’s because it’s true; eating a great meal is not only a means for nourishing the body, it can be downright soul-enriching at times. And when it comes to the soul-enriching parts of a meal, dessert does a lot of the heavy lifting. It’s the sweet conclusion to the narrative of a meal, yet it’s powerful enough to stand on its own. Residents of the One Manhattan Square condos are near a number of stellar bakeries and sweet shops. Here are a few of our favorites.

Doughnut Plant | 379 Grand Street

There was once a time when doughnuts weren’t thought of as a premium sweet option, but simply a cheap and easy sugary snack. That all changed when Doughnut Plant opened its doors back in 1994, ushering in the wave of the artisanal doughnut. What started as a venture inside founder Mark Israel’s apartment expanded to the Lower East Side in 2000, and now boasts six locations throughout the city. To put it simply, their doughnuts are one-of-a-kind and absolutely delicious. Try their Pumpkin Doughseed, their Rose Doughflower, or their Vanilla Bean & Jam. Or, opt for one of their various vegan or gluten-free options. Everything they serve is stellar. 

Erin McKenna’s Bakery | 248 Broome Street

All the sweets served in Erin McKenna’s Bakery are gluten-free and vegan. But you wouldn’t know that from tasting them. While the shop caters to dietary restrictions, that does not hamper the quality of their baked goods. In fact, McKenna’s creative solutions produce some wildly vibrant cakes, cookies, and donuts. Their crumb cake and their sandwich cookies are incredible, and their powdered sugar blueberry donut is a must-try. 

Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery | 126 Rivington Street

Sugar Sweet Sunshine is known throughout the city and beyond for having some of the best cupcakes and pudding around. Their banana and their peanut butter chocolate puddings are rich and spectacular. And it’s hard to choose a standout among their cupcakes, because they’re all patron-tested and highly approved. But if we had to choose a few, we’d recommend the Ooey Gooey, the Lemon Yummy, and the Oreo cookie. 

Ceci Cela Patisserie | 14 Delancey Street

This well-known French bakery is the place to go if you’re shopping for a cake. No matter how many people in your group, they have you covered; cakes come in one-person, six-person, eight-person, and 12-person sizes. So, even if you’re flying solo, and are simply in the mood for some cake, stop in at Ceci Cela. It’s also worth noting that their croissants are amazing, and their Pear William cake is rather famous — and for good reason. Come for the cakes, stay for the croissants.