In 2017, Gaston traveled to Japan, where he fell in love with Japanese culture, food, and a dessert called kakigōri. In Japan, there is a whole culture surrounding kakigōri. At the best cafes, the dessert was prepared with fresh ingredients and premium toppings. Those cafes also served as a place where people could grab tea and maybe even a bite. The combination of the Japanese way of hospitality, omotenashi, and the delicious treats and food was an experience that Gaston hadn’t found in the United States.
After returning to NYC, Gaston was unable to find any kakigōri being made. Similar desserts to kakigōri, did not come close. After approaching Theo with the idea of making kakigōri in NYC, the idea of creating Bonsai Kakigōri, a kakigōri centered dessert bar and cafe in NYC was born!
We started working on the concept in Theo’s apartment. That picture to the left was from our first ever photoshoot. We’re not really sure why we didn’t move the ladder from the background in the picture.
Canal Street Market Pop-Up & Japan!
After two months of menu planning, we had the chance to open up our first pop-up in Canal Street Market. We decided to open up on January 9th (middle of winter) to test a frozen dessert that not many people knew about. After an unexpectedly great reception, we decided to extend our pop-up by becoming a permanent tenant of the market! Throughout that summer, we were fortunate enough to be able to participate in Smorgasburg, and even got a chance to do a pop-up in Japan as part of the festival!
• To create uplifting experiences •
Kissaten, Japanese cafes found in Japan, combine Japanese hospitality, Omotenashi, high-quality food, stellar customer service, and tranquil ambiances, to create unique uplifting experiences. These types of experiences are lacking in NYC. We set out to open Bonsai Kakigōri to recreate these experiences here in the big apple!
We're not Japanese and we don’t intend our flavors or food to be authentically Japanese. However, we’ve been touched by certain aspects of Japanese hospitality and food culture and hope that by adding our creativity in hospitality and flavors, we hope to open many locations where we can create these types of uplifting experiences for people.
What We Care About
We care about building a place where anyone who enters feels accepted, safe, and has a transparent understanding of what we serve and who we are.
Excellence & High Standards
Serving a product that isn’t perfect doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to us.
If we did that, than there wouldn’t really be a reason for sticking around.
We promise to give you a golden guest experience whenever you come to Bonsai.
We believe that all of us (not just our team members) belong to one big collective team (yes even you!)
We seek to build places that follow a simple truth: The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.