Serendipity 3 has been serving up their famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate for over 50 years, and the public still can’t get enough. Thanks to a list of celebrity patrons, a feature in the movie Serendipity, and being listed as one of Oprah’s favorite things, getting a seat at Serendipity 3 is no longer a fortuitous event. It takes extensive planning (reservations are taken for lunch and dinner only, not just for dessert) or a great deal of patience since the wait for a table is at least one hour on the weekdays and up to three hours on the weekend.
The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate comes in Regular, Peanut Butter, Mochaccino and Pineapple Lime flavor and is served in a royal sized goblet with two straws for sharing. Serendipity 3 also offers a huge menu (it’s literally 1.5′ x 2′ in size) of lunch and dinner items, including their famous foot long hot dogs that little “John-John” Kennedy reportedly ate as a kid. The front of the restaurant is a general store that sells miscellaneous toys, mugs, artwork and, of course, a copy of the movie Serendipity. You can also buy a packet of Frrrozen Hot Chocolate to give as a gift or take home as a souvenir. The most charming part of the restaurant, the downstairs dining area, is divided into little nooks and has low ceilings with at least half a dozen Tiffany-style lamps hanging over the tables. The space upstairs is less intimate, but still uniquely decorated, and seats twice as many people as the main level.
While Serendipity 3′s signature dessert is worth it’s weight in chocolate, the rest of the experience has fallen victim to over exposure. The crowds detract from the intimate environment, and it’s no longer possible to easily drop in after a day of shopping at Bloomingdale’s. While the restaurant does seat those with reservations promptly, you are required to order lunch or dinner and it’s really only the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate that is worth having. With that in mind, I refused to wait the 2.5 hours in line on my last visit and decided to take some of the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate mix to go. I took it home, mixed it with milk and ice, and had my own treat that was sufficiently similar to the one served in house.
What I bought: 2 Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Mix Packets ($4.50/each). The home version of their famous dessert wasn’t quite as rich, but still very satisfying. Combine three cups of ice, one cup of milk and one Frrrozen Hot Chocolate packet and you have enough to serve 2-3 people. Next time I’ll try adding in a little peanut butter to recreate the flavor I usually order when eating at Serendipity 3.
Cost: The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate served at the restaurant ranges from $7 to $8, and other desserts including pies, cakes, tarts and sundaes range from $6 to $20. The $20 treat is the Cheesecake Vesuvius: two slices of cheesecake topped with whipped cream, fudge and strawberries.
Wait: A limited number of reservations are accepted for lunch and dinner (not just for dessert). The average walk-in wait is 1-2 hours. If the line is too long for you to wait, I recommend trying Dylan’s Candy Bar a few doors down.
Atmosphere: Serendipity 3 is like an antique store and pop-art painting combined into one and will make you feel like a kid again.
Uniqueness: Serendipity 3′s hot chocolate is the only kind that will give you a brain freeze.
Clientele: Tourists, families and celebrities that are able to cut the line.
Location: Serendipity 3 is in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, just across the way from Bloomingdale’s and easily accessible by the 4, 5, 6, N, R, B and Q subway lines.
Staff: The staff always seems distracted, but when you have their attention they are as helpful as can be expected.
Final Verdict: A once in a lifetime New York treat (or twice if you can skip the line).
Dessert Week – Day 6: Chocolate Haven