Food & Drink

The Magic of The Levain Bakery

The Upper West Side is home to Levain Bakery, famous for its freshly baked and hefty cookies. These incomparable treats are known for being crisp on the outside and melt in your mouth on the inside. In fact, it’s not unusual to find a longish line of eager customers, patiently waiting to take their pick among the variety of signature 6-ounce cookies available. The cookie menu includes chocolate chip walnut, two-chip chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, and dark chocolate chip. Along with their breads- baguettes, whole wheat walnut raisin, country boule- you can also pick up some pound cake slices. But it all begins and ends with the cookie. About that cookie…….

In the beginning……. What started as the brainchild of two friends in 1994 blossomed into a sensation. Founders Connie and Pam, united by their love for fitness and food while training for an Ironman triathlon, embarked on a baking adventure that would soon impact the cookie world. From the confines of a tiny basement on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with just a basic oven, this start-up was on a quest to bake the perfect chocolate chip walnut cookie.

Gaining momentum. They nailed it! That chocolate chip walnut cookie did the trick and soon captivated New York City. The bakery’s reputation grew quickly, thanks to word-of-mouth and media acclaim. The next step was to introduce a variety of new cookie flavors, using quality ingredients like rich Callebaut chocolate and fresh nuts “…possibly the largest chocolate chip cookies in Manhattan” (New York Times). In addition to cookies, the bakery began offering a selection of breads and pastries. While the Upper West Side can lay claim to the original store, you can now find Levain Bakeries in other locations around NYC, as well as in cities like Bethesda, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington and Boston. You can also have merchandise shipped right to your doorstep!

So what exactly is the magic of the Levain Bakery? And why is it continuing to draw celebrities, New Yorkers, and tourists alike? We say it all begins and ends with the exceptionally delicious cookie. Sure, the tempting smell, friendly staff, and attractive display case make for a pleasant visit before you even get to sink your teeth into the main event. That said, with its good looks, satisfying weight, and incomparable taste, the cookie remains king. Levain Bakery has been getting it right, one cookie at a time, for thirty years now. Cookies are baked fresh on-site each day, with leftovers donated to charity that night. If you haven’t been there, go. You’ll be back!

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