Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald created Levain Bakery in 1995, out of their passions for food, friendship, and hard work. Competitive swimmers and triathletes, Pam and Connie passed their workouts by engaging in passionate conversations about baking, which inspired them to open a small bread shop in 1995, which they named Levain Bakery.
One day, they created an ultimate chocolate chip walnut cookie to give them energy while training for a triathlon. They decided to sell a batch in their bakery, and they flew off the shelves. An icon was born. The cozy shop on West 74th Street became a neighborhood favorite and a destination for epicurious travelers from around the world.
From the start, they baked everything fresh on-site each day and donated the day’s leftovers to charity each night, actions that remain solidly in place almost 25 years later. Levain Bakery now has eight locations with more to come, e-commerce gift boxes, and recently made its debut in grocery stores with the launch of Levain Bakery frozen cookies.
We take our name from the French word for the natural leavening agent made of flour, water and wild yeasts: Levain. In the United States, a levain is more commonly known as a sourdough starter. While Levain Bakery is now best known for the six-ounce cookies, Pam and Connie started their business making artisanal breads for restaurants around New York City. We love that our name continues to honor those roots.