Cupcakes are coming to the Met. Not as an exhibition, but as a street food beginning in June. And the baked goods will bring some sweet competition to the hot dog stands currently at the base of the museum steps.
"I do enjoy cupcakes myself, I do think it'll be interesting," said Jose Cabrera, a disabled veteran who sells franks to famished visitors.
The sidewalk at the bottom of the Metropolitan Museum's entrance has long been prime real estate for hot dog vendors, both those authorized with city permits and those without. Disabled veterans are permitted to operate carts in front of the museum without paying the city a dime. With less overhead, they vets managed to push out the city-authorized hotdog vendor who defaulted last year.
Now franks will have to share the lucrative space with frosting. Queens-based Culinary Engineers will pay the Parks Department $659,000 over five years to put a solar operated cupcake cart on the famous footpath along Fifth Avenue.
"It will sell five types of cupcakes each day, both sweet and savory," according to co-owner Gina Ojile. She and her business partner Derek Hunt currently develop products and recipes for restaurants, but say they wanted to branch out into something new.
"We're working on Mooncake and Whatchamacallit," says Hunt, who added that all of the gourmet confections are organic.
And gourmet prices will come with the territory. The "Cake and Shake" cart is expected to charge $3 for a cupcake and $5 for a shake made with real fruit. The company has also purchased a permit for a cart in Washington Square Park and that could appear by the end of the month.