Champs Family Bakery had its soft-opening this week, and I was able to swing by, as its cases of confections are located dangerously close to my apartment. Co-Owner power-team Megan Blackburn and Brad Baker of Boneshakers took some time to show me around and give me the details on their new endeavor as well as some sacred secrets I am happy to share with you.
Champs is located in the historic, Italian, Graham Ave. neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn on a quiet, tree-lined street. The signage reads like a old-time boxing-gym logo, and the interior - soon to be filled with tables and chairs - has a very Brooklyn, warm, lived-in feeling with exposed brick, wooden ceilings, and terra-cotta tile floor. Resting up against the brick wall were three photos: Mike Tyson, Rue McLanahan, and Georges Laraque in fancy gilded frames, waiting to be hung. "That whole wall is going to be filled with framed photos of famous vegans", Brad informed me.
Megan and Brad also informed me that eighty-five percent of the ingredients they're using are organic, their shortenings are healthy oils that are non-hydrogenated, and, in addition to being 100% vegan, they'll soon be offering gluten-free and sugar-free options. The most exciting news happened when Megan spilled the beans about the croissants. That's right... they will be offering the only vegan croissants in New York. Flaky, yummy, light, croissants. Did I mention how dangerous it is that I live one block away from this place? With cookies, muffins, scones, cupcakes, cakes, whoopee pies and custom pastries all made on the premises, this is a long-awaited NYC essential: our very own vegan bakery! They've even got some Italian flare happening with pignoli cookies, and I am praying that they do some more NYC classics like rainbow cookies, black and whites, cannolis, butter cookies, rugelach, and macaroons. Pretty please?
I sampled the carrot cake cupcakes, which were moist, sweet, perfectly spiced, and topped with a generous mound of cream-cheese frosting. Then I tried the rocky-road cookie, the chocolate-chocolate-chip scone, the chocolate-chip cookie, and finally, the blueberry muffin. I washed it down with iced coffee from Gimme! Coffee, which is possibly the best coffee in NYC - smooth, no acid, and velvety. I'll certainly be back for more. If you haven't been to Williamsburg Brooklyn, now is the perfect time to come for a cup of coffee and a pastry.
Champs Family Bakery 176 Ainsle Street (at Leonard St) Brooklyn, NY 11211 718 599 2743