The story behind the bakery that became a New York institution.

It all started with two friends, a swimming pool, and a shared love for baking. Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald are friends and accomplished bakers who baked bread for some of NYC’s favorite restaurants. Eventually, they opened a small bread shop on West 74th Street. They called it Levain Bakery, borrowing the French word for “leavened bread.” 

It was 1995, and the small Levain team lovingly baked every loaf, baguette and roll by hand every day. As for the cookie? That was a happy accident. Triathletes on the side, Pam & Connie whipped up a massive chocolate chip walnut cookie to keep energy levels high for training. A sample batch flew off the bakery shelves, and an icon was born. Our cozy shop became a neighborhood favorite and a destination for epicurious travelers from around the world. 

More than 25 years later, we’ve grown to bring the joy of Levain to more neighborhoods and cookie enthusiasts (we’re bicoastal now!). Our incredible team puts the very best ingredients and a lot of love into everything we bake, serving up moments of mmmmm to brighten your day.

The Levain Way

Levain is the cookie to celebrate, to commemorate, to comfort, to console. Decadently crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle, its gooeyness cuts right to a cookie lover’s core. Flaky, moist and savory, it rises to the occasion.  The smell. The smile. The sweetness. The OMG moment of biting into a Levain cookie. You never forget your first — and you’ll always want another.

Levain is love. It’s quality. It’s craft.

Every cookie, loaf, scone and muffin is made by loving hands, with the best ingredients, and a lot of heart. Given time to chill, to rise, to proof, to set, every Levain pastry is a magical amalgam of flavors and textures to light up your senses and bring you joy.

Keen On Community

We’ve always been incredibly grateful for the support of the communities we’re a part of, and we strive to reciprocate that support in ways big and small. On opening day, our new bakeries donate all proceeds to a local charity organization, and at the end of every day thereafter, we donate all unsold baked goods. It brings us great pride to think of all the people who’ve been treated to a fresh cookie, a delicious bread roll, or a flavorful muffin in the midst of a challenging day. 

Levain Fun Facts

  • We Beat Bobby Flay

    In 2008, Pam and Connie were challenged to beat Bobby Flay on his show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” The dish? Chocolate chip cookies. The result? Sweet victory.

  • Levain /luh.VEN/

    We take our name from the French word for the natural leavening agent made of flour, water and wild yeasts: Levain. Here in the U.S, you know it as a sourdough starter.

  • The Knead to Hustle

    Pam and Connie built their bread business in the kitchen at One Fifth Avenue, where Anthony Bourdain was chef. They swapped bread for space while developing a client list.

Come Work With Us

Ovens aren’t the only sources of warmth in a Levain Bakery. Our bakers bring our company’s values to life every day, celebrating teamwork, individuality, joy and the pursuit of sweetness. Our cookies are as big as our hearts, and we’re always looking for the right people to work with us.