I finally joined a gym with locations near my office and my home to ensure I’d make it there on a regular basis because, holy heck, THERE’S A VEGAN BAKERY OPENING CLOSE TO MY APARTMENT! Clementine Bakery on Greene Avenue (at the corner of Classon) is opening its doors THIS Sunday, March 4th, at 8:00 a.m. That’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the Classon G station. (Thank you, Clementine co-owners, Michelle Barton and Michael Glen, for remembering not all vegans live along the L train!)
Among the crazy that is preparing for your first NYC retail venture’s 0th birthday, Michelle Barton found a few spare seconds to take a breather and answer our probing questions.
Deborah Diamant: How did you settle on Classon and Greene as the spot to open your bakery?
Michelle Barton: Both Michael and I live close by in the neighborhood, and we saw there was a need for vegan food and an opportunity for us to be part of the local community.
DD: Where did you get your baking start?
MB: While I was managing at Terri in Flatiron, I was recruited by Lifethyme Bakery while also working at Champs for a hot minute before being promoted to head baker at Lifethyme.
DD: What do you think will become your signature item(s)?
MB: We’ve been working hard to develop an intriguing menu but our favorites thus far are strawberry and blueberry apricot glazed hand pies, and fresh dill and mozzarella biscuits.
DD: How will Clementine Bakery stand out from the other brick & mortar vegan bakeries already open or expecting to open in the coming months (e.g., Champs, Dun-Well, Blossom, etc.)?
MB: We plan to make our mark through our attention to craft. Using high quality organic ingredients and preparing essences and extracts in house, we want our customers to get a sense of the enjoyment and curiosity we have in combining different flavors and textures.
DD: You’ve already got a cookbook available — does this mean all of your secrets have been given away in advance of your opening?
MB: We think everyone should be able to bake tasty vegan treats. There’s no secrets with us. The more people who understand that vegan baking is just as good or better works for us.
DD: Is the bakery set up to accommodate the laptop-toting daytime crowd, or is it more a dash-in-and-dash-out kinda place?
MB: Our shop feels more livingroom than office, but we welcome people who want to stop by for a quick fix
DD: What brand of coffee will you be serving?
MB: We’re serving locally roasted Kitten Coffee using the Japanese Hario pour over method and also French press. Our coffee bar features our own custom made creamers.
DD: What percentage of your ingredients will be organic and fair trade?
MB: We use 100 percent fair trade ingredients and 90 percent organic. We hope to get that up to 100 percent organic ingredients if we can find the right suppliers.
DD: Tell us about the grand opening festivities!
MB: It’s our birthday, so there’ll be cake for everyone, balloon animals and a piñata!
DD: And, for the most important questions: Vegan chocolate covered malt balls? Do you think it’ll ever happen in the United States and will you finally be the bakery to make them for me?
MB: I sure can give it a whirl! We could be that bakery to make it happen.
Clementine Bakery, 299 Greene Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, is opening this Sunday, March 4th at 8:00 a.m.! Regular hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Bike, walk or take the G to Classon.