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Dominique Ansel can't wait for his post-Cronut life to begin

We talk to the Cronut creator about creativity and why fresh is best ahead of the opening of his new bakery-cafe, Dominique Ansel Kitchen.

Walking into Dominique Ansel Bakery, your main question is immediately answered: Cronuts are sold out for the day, states a chalkboard sign behind the register.

It’s been almost two years since the doughnut-croissant hybrid’s debut, yet anyone hoping to grab one still has to line up before dawn. Even on a recent wintry Tuesday, they were gone before 10 a.m.

But another chalkboard sign sitting just above it — a drawing of the pastry with the words “Keep Creating” underneath — is a reminder that the home of the Cronut is also, like Magritte’s pipe, not just the home of the Cronut.

“The Cronut is a great creation — and I want to keep on creating and doing new things,” says Dominique Ansel, inventor of the pastry that has practically eclipsed sliced bread. “It’s just a way of thinking, it’s just the way of understanding that you can’t bet your life on one thing, you have to keep on moving forward.”

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That next move is Dominique Ansel Kitchen. Set to open April 29 in the West Village, the Willy Wonka of the pastry world will get a three-floor emporium to let his creativity roam. By day it’ll serve as a restaurant-bakery hybrid; by night cocktails will overtake coffee upstairs at Unlimited Possibilities, with a tastingmenu of desserts at a chef’s table for eight. Ansel just announced this week that the kitchen will be led by his fellowDaniel alum, KarysLogue.

The concept of a dessert-only cocktail bar isn’t new; the trend arrived in 2003 withChikaLicious Dessert Bar. And in January, the pie-making duo behindButter & Scotchmade the leap from Smorgasburg stall to a brick-and-mortar spot in Crown Heights. But there's aunique distinction that sets Kitchen apart. Ansel, who’s been baking since age 16, knows that the best pastries have a secret ingredient: time.

“I remember being in the kitchen for many many years building Napoleon — with the fresh, crispy, crunchy puff pastry, nicely caramelized, and the soft cream — and I always remember cutting it and eating the trimmings and it was so good, so tasty,” he recounts.

“And then what you do is wrap it up, put it in a little container, put it inside the case, and it stays there until somebody buys it. But it’s always so much better when it’s fresh, just made, and I want to give people that freshness and quality.”

He estimates about 70 percent of Kitchen’s menu will be made to order, including a1:1 Lemon Butter Tartthat won’t be mixed and piped into its shell until you give the word. Even familiar items get a makeover, like the"pain au chocolate 2.0"which he’s transformed into a hedgehog with jagged spines of Valrhona dark chocolate. Kitchen will also serve savory items, like thenext pastry he's cross-breeding with the croissant: garlic bread. (May we suggest the nameCroknot?)

The one thing you won’t find, however, is the Cronut. But we don't think you'll miss it.

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