Levain Bakery opens first Brooklyn outpost in Williamsburg

Levain Bakery will bring its famous cookies to Brooklyn for the first time at its Williamsburg shop opening July 1. (Melissa Kirschenheiter)

Manhattan’s acclaimed Levain Bakery opened a location in Williamsburg on Wednesday, bringing its legendary cookies to Brooklyn for the first time. 

The bakery’s owners chose the new outpost — located at 164 N. Fourth Street between Bedford and Driggs avenues — because of Williamsburg’s residential feel and many restaurants, said a bakery spokeswoman.

“We always look for places where there’s a neighborhood community, and a place that has a taste for great food and great people,” said Rachel Porges. “[Williamsburg] has a great neighborhood feel, lots of people wandering around on any given day.”

The North Brooklyn eatery will serve fresh breads and Levain’s famous cookies that have earned the business its cult following. Customers can pick up the gooey cookies in their chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin varieties — in addition to a new cookie called “two chip chocolate chip cookie,” which Levain recently introduced.

“We launched [the new cookie] in February, our very first chocolate chip cookie with no nuts,” Porges said. 

The bakery’s famous cookies come in chocolate chip, chocolate chip walnut, and dark chocolate flavors. (Melissa Kirschenheiter)

The store will have an airy, modern feel and an open kitchen that will allow customers to see bakers making the breads and cookies, like Levain’s other shops, Porges said. 

“We’ve always said we’re an open bakery, we’re not just a retail shop,” she said. “You can see bakers making the bread that day, making the brioche.”

The outpost will also have Brooklyn-specific touches, such as mural vignettes painted by artist Libby VanderPloeg that depict scenes throughout Williamsburg, such McCarren Park, East River Park, and Smorgasburg.

However, customers won’t be able to linger in the bakery for the duration of the coronavirus-related closures, as the store will only offer online ordering and take-out to start.

The N. Fourth Street outpost features an airy floor plan and open bakery. (Kate Previte)

Levain’s Williamsburg opening comes 25 years after co-founders Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald opened the bakery on the Upper West Side. Levain was originally a bread shop, but the owners began making the famous cookies to energize them while they were training for triathlons, Porges said.

“They were training for triathlons on the side and they needed a snack,” she said. “They flew off the shelves.”

Since the bakery’s founding, Weekes and McDonald have opened six locations — five in Manhattan, and one in Suffolk County. And in the fall, the owners hopes to roll out a fifth location in Washington, DC.

The bakery’s owners work to choose each new location with care and connect with the communities they serve, Porges said.

“We don’t ever go into a market and just plop ourselves down,” she said. “We’re engaging within our communities.”

This story first appeared on brooklynpaper.com.

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