380 Broome St (Mott & Mulberry St)
City: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (212) 966-2599
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: Little Italy
Papabubble is an avant-garde Willy Wonka candy factory. Hidden somewhere between the overstuffed cannolis, gelato cones, and lobster-tail pastries famous to NYC’s Little Italy, you’ll find the popular Lower East Side region’s real sweet spot.The store itself feels like the melding of space-age candy making technology with the lab of a scientist who is not only mad but stricken with an incurable sweet tooth. You’ll find shelves lined with Erlenmeyer flasks, mysterious jars of liquid, and test tubes – and the atmosphere is eerily oozing with a sterility reminiscent of an operating room, but quaint and cozy nonetheless.Thus: if you’re looking for a go-to shop to grab that last minute hostess gift in the form of a pound of truffles, some mints, or a box of fudge – Papabubble is not the place to go.
Not only is Papabubble great for procuring the best tasting –and most unconventional – sweet treats in the city, but you can actually go there and watch skilled artisans morphing slabs of sugar into wacky confections like edible saber-tooth tigers, toothbrushes ($20 + each), a set of dentures ($25 + each), fruits and veggies ($10 + each ) and other totally bizarre shapes. Their lollipops (which you can watch being made, too) are a total delight, as well– and they range from about $7 each for smaller pops to $20 each for larger pops which can be personalized with messages. Bags of assorted candies are available, too, and their costs range anywhere from $5.50 - $25.00, depending on how much candy is crammed into the sack.
My favorite Papa treats happen to be the mysterious amoeba-like candy clusters sold in unlabeled bags on the bottom shelves of the store’s less abstract creations. There are even theme-related constructions like the Medical Mix featuring ambulance-shaped candies, the I Love NY Mix featuring candies painstakingly-inscribed with the names of each of the city’s five boroughs, and the Arctic Mix complete with Eskimos, polar bears and seals.
The rainbow of flavors at Papabubble trumps any Everlasting Gobstopper that Violet Beauregarde could ever get her hands on. Watermelon, passion fruit, soda, mango, chile lime, guava, lemon-ginger, orange-chocolate….the list goes on.
Mouth watering yet? I suggest you get to Papabubble and grab some funky confections - or at least spend some time sampling their best work while watching the magically delicious art unfold. Your taste buds will feel like they just struck the best-stuffed and funkiest piñata, ever.
Review By: Janice Bevilacqua