One of Bushwick’s favorite vegan bakeries is expanding.
Brooklyn Whiskers, which serves its own house-made baked goods, sandwiches and other light fare during daytime hours, plans to expand into a larger space at 1037 Broadway, only four blocks away from their original location. A new sign proclaiming “Brooklyn Whiskers Bakery” is up on the outside of the new space, which takes the place of a former grocery store and nail salon, combining both of their spaces.
A cat’s face has been painted over a part of the mural that adorns the side of the building. (Another sign saying “Bar” just above the cat’s face belongs to another business down the block.)
The basic concept is staying the same, said Michael Minahan, the bakery’s co-owner along with Preesa Adeline Bullington. They are proud of their “grassroots” operation and plan to keep it that way. But with the new space, they will be able to expand brunch with beer and wine, more tables, outdoor seating and a small stage. They are also hoping to attract more of the growing “train crowd” that enters and leaves from the nearby Myrtle-Broadway station, he added.
They plan to apply for a liquor license soon, although they don’t intend to make the space an evening bar or to serve dinner. The stage may host readings and intimate musical performances. The walls could possibly be used for art exhibitions as well, Minahan said.
They will be keeping staples like the pea- and beet-based burger called the Seattle Burger — a favorite at their Greenpoint location, opened earlier this year at 1008 Manhattan Avenue. Baking for wholesale and retail will take place on the lower level of 1037 Broadway.
But in the end, it will be an extension rather than a reinvention of what they already have in their other locations. “We’re trying to keep it at a price point that is accessible,” Minahan said. “I feel really poised to improve on what we already do.”
They had originally planned to open at the beginning of April, which would have been timed to the third anniversary of the opening of their first location. But time got the best of them, and they are still renovating. The opening is soon, they promise, but an exact date has not been set.
Both Bullington and Minahan come from the world of the theater, and the craftiness of staging plays has come in handy. Minahan, who works in set design and is associated with the nearby Bushwick Starr, is formulating the interior of the new space and thinking about the changing community that surrounds them.
“We’re blessed to be here at this time,” he said. They have had a good relationship with both longtime residents and newcomers, and hope both will come to the new venue. Their doors, he said, are open. “My responsibility is to celebrate the neighborhood,” he added, pointing out the window. “They are my neighbors.”
[Photos by Craig Hubert]
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