Muffin marvels on Long Island: 4 picks

Cook's Scratch Kitchen & Bakery is a counter-service

Cook's Scratch Kitchen & Bakery is a counter-service breakfast and lunch spot in East Northport. (Credit: Jin Lee)

Hard to define a muffin. Unlike a cake, it's baked in tins sized for single servings. But so, too, are cupcakes. Is a muffin a cupcake that isn't iced? Is a cupcake a muffin that doesn't have fruit inside?

The upshot is that a muffin is a muffin when the baker says it is. Here are three places that offer moist, homey and altogether delicious muffins.

THE GRIND CAFE

2034 North Country Rd., Wading River, 631-886-2203

At this casual family-owned spot, the house-baked muffins are moist and imaginative. You might find lemon-poppy muffins, cranberry orange or even a French toast muffin.

COOK'S SCRATCH KITCHEN & BAKERY

1014 Fort Salonga Rd., Northport, 631-651-5480

Pastry chef Stacey McDevitt's doughnut muffin tastes like a sugared doughnut but is made with a buttermilk batter, baked in a muffin tin, brushed with butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Call it a doughnut or call it a muffin -- it qualifies as a treat.

THOMAS'S HAM & EGGERY

325 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-333-3060

At his hyper-popular diner, owner Tom Koukoulas offers a daily array of moist and homey house-baked muffins. The cinnamon coffee cake muffin is a standard, but you'll also find seasonal variations, such as raspberry streusel, peach cobbler and strawberry coconut.

JAVIER'S CAFE

101 E. Main St Smithtown, 631-406-7712

Save some room for the moist, nutty -- and disconcertingly green -- pistachio muffins. They're made daily by the chef's wife, Argentina Viera and, though baked in the restaurant's kitchen, taste like home.

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