Sunday, May 27, 2007
Years ago when I went shopping at a mall the large department stores had restaurants or fancy tea rooms where you could stop for a bit to eat, "have a cup of coffee and" or enjoy a light lunch. Many times I would go shopping with a friend and we would plan on spending some time at the restaurant. It was a great way to have a visit with a friend and have a rest before we continued to bargain hunt. With time, things changed, the tea rooms and those lovely restaurants closed.

Flikr photo by alwynt.

One of the large department stores in my area, Jordan Marsh, had an in-store bakery which featured blueberry muffins. They were the BEST - what I particularly enjoyed about them was, they were loaded with blueberries and were topped with large chunks of sugar. Before I left the mall I would always stop and buy some muffins to bring home. Well, that too changed. No more muffins!!!

People were clamoring for the store to bring back the muffins so finally what they did was open up a casual outside coffee shop where the customer could have a cup of coffee and indulge in a delicious muffin. The shop was very well received but with time that closed too.

In 2004, the Boston Globe wrote a story about the Jordan Marsh Muffin Man:
Baker John Pupek opened his own shop after Jordan Marsh closed its bakeries and Macy's bought the department store in the mid-1990s. His Jordan Marsh Muffin Co. in Brockton has turned out thousands of blueberry muffins a week, as well as other delicacies made famous by Jordan Marsh, since 1998.
Pupek stopped making the muffins in 2004.

I read in the Boston Globe recently that Macy's is bringing back food, in an article titled, Macy's sees food as the way to the wallet:
The owner of Macy's department stores plans to test bistros, gourmet restaurants, and Starbucks coffee shops at some stores in an effort to draw customers and keep them shopping longer.
It worked years ago, it could work again!

I wonder if they'd consider bringing back those Blueberry Muffins?

Until then, I found a recipe for those delicious Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins via Google. I wonder if they taste like I remember?

I remember department stores that had luncheonettes and even cafeterias. The last one here closed down several years ago - and they said it was because it was a loss for them - and they needed more retail space. That cafeteria was the only reason I ever went into that store, and I have only been in it once since the cafe closed. I think they made a big mistake and one day they will realize it and bring the food back!
My friend Norma, an amazing cook, who made that scrumptious turkey for me when I visited in Boston, back in October, makes the most wonderful blueberry muffins!
Here too, the big stores give up all the things that made me go there. :(
Why can't they understand that when you go shopping, having something tasty in a nice atmosphere entices you to do more shopping ;)
So many people loved those muffins. I don't recall ever eating one, but I've certainly heard about them. I, too, loved the restaurants in department stores. I may have come late to that phenomenon, but I really liked them.
Since I remember both Jordan Marsh in Boston and the muffins, I really enjoyed this post a lot, Millie.
I have the original recipe for those muffins....I remember in the 1960's it was floating all around the North Shore and everyone was making them! And I found the original recipe in my aunt's recipe box. They taste just like what I remember.
Food courts in malls are just NOT the same are they? What you want is a nice cup of tea and a sandwich at a table with a tablecloth. (sigh)

I have to make our own blueberry muffins. I will sometimes put extra sugar on the top just as you have described!
Our department store in Detroit was J. L. Hudson for many years. I remember as a young woman taking the bus downtown and stopping in the cafe for an exquisite salad or unusual sandwich. The ladies dining there wore lovely hats and high heel shoes. I used to feel a little out of place so I visited infrequently. But when I did It was such a treat. Hudson's became Dayton-Hudson and I lost track . Now they are known as Macy's. DO they have a eating area now I don't know because over the years I've moved further away. But the memory of the times I sat at a table with a white cloth and napkins still brings a smile to my face.
At least two Macy's here (Miami) have a Cosi, and one has a tiny Godiva cafe that sells coffee drinks, chocolates, sweets, empanadas and croquetas.

Oh, and Nordstrom's has its own restaurant, too.

I agree that it's a great idea - I often stop for a coffee to fuel me for more shopping.
Millie - I loved Jordan Marsh's blueberry muffins too. When I was little the treat, after shopping "in town" with my mom and sister, was lunch at the Filene's restaurant. The highlight was the clown ice cone dessert .. a scoop of ice cream with a sugar cone for a hat.

I fondly remember the tearoom at Rich's department store in downtown Atlanta. It was called the "Magnolia Room" and it was a real treat to eat there after a day of shopping. Rich's also had a bakery which made the best coconut cakes.

Rich's was a locally owned and operated large store chain which later was absorbed by Macy's with the name finally changed to Macy's.

Time does march on, not always for the better.
I just got a note from the person who took the picture of the dog eating blueberry muffins:

:: Dogs and Blueberry Muffins

Hi Steve. Glad you liked the photograph. The dog is called
Bella - she's a street dog from Tirana in Albania where I
live right now. If you know anyone would like to adopt her
let me know!

alwynt aka ourmanintirana
My Mom used to tell me stories about the 'Jordan Marsh' blueberry muffins she would by at the dept store. My husband's Aunt was one of the girls behind the counter those many years ago. I never had one from the store but my Mom used to make a Jordan Marsh Blueberry muffin recipe. So yummy!! I think it is nice when the old becomes new again!

Some of my best memories are visits with friends over a cup of coffee and snack. Let's hope this old idea catches on.

And I never pass on blueberry muffins. I'm anxious to try your recipe. Your apple crisp is still the favorite here.
Good Morning Millie, I am going to make some coffee and I wish had some muffins to go with it. I remember those days and I would bring back dozens at a time. Nanci
Hi Millie,

I just pulled up a recipe for those Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins. I hope that they will be as tasty as the original. Do you remember the fruit and nut muffins from Jordan Marsh? It had a dried cherry on the top? If anyone finds this recipe it would be another treasure from the past.
Milli-Blueberry Muffins are also my favorites. They came out like you would expect from a gourmet bakery. I've tried many blueberry muffin recipes only to be disappointed by the berries sinking to the bottom before it cooked all the way. This batter is like glue and really holds the blueberries in place. I made a couple of small modifications only because I was working with what I had on hand. I ground cinnamon sticks to make fresh cinnamon. I used strawberry milk instead of regular. I doubled the blueberries,and turned down the heat to 325 because the blueberries were frozen. And the quality of the recipe is only as good as the quality of the ingredients--were your blueberries already bitter?I think this is an awesome recipe!
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