Pie at the Library: Brooklyn Public Library partners with local business Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Small Business Opens New Café at Central Library

February 20, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has partnered with local small business Four & Twenty Blackbirds to open a new café in BPL’s Central Library, offering signature custom-made pies, Stumptown coffee, sandwiches and other items. A limited menu of coffee and snacks is now available, with the full menu available in early March. 

A family-run business, Four & Twenty Blackbirds is owned by sisters Melissa and Emily Elsen. Originally from South Dakota, Melissa and Emily pursued separate careers in finance and the arts, ultimately landing them both in Brooklyn. Inspired by the memory of their family’s popular local restaurant in South Dakota, the Calico Kitchen, the Elsen sisters reunited and decided to start a pie business in 2009. Homegrown in Brooklyn, they initially ran their operations and produced their custom-baked pies in their shared Brooklyn apartment. By 2010, they opened the Brooklyn-based Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop.

“At Brooklyn Public Library, we are proud to support our community by offering visitors the cultural, recreational, and educational resources they need to be well-informed — and well-fed. We are excited to take that commitment to our community one step further by opening our doors to local Brooklyn businesses like Four & Twenty Blackbirds,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “Not only do the Elsen sisters make delicious food, they are also published authors, which makes them a perfect fit for the Library.”

Four & Twenty’s creative pie concoctions, which include flavors like Salted Caramel Apple, Chili Chocolate, Black Bottom Oat, Birch Beer Float, and Malted Chocolate Pecan, have steadily garnered acclaim. Named “Artisans of the Year” by Time Out in 2011, Blackbirds’ pies have been featured across a variety of food media, such as the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, The New York TimesMartha Stewart Living, and New York Magazine. Motivated by their passion for baking and their commitment to the Brooklyn community, the sisters are excited to work with BPL. 

“Brooklyn Public Library has long been an important resource to us as Brooklynites; the Central Library building and location in Grand Army Plaza are iconic Brooklyn landmarks, and we are thrilled to bring our product to a wider audience in this setting. We as a company strive to support community, education and creativity from a culinary perspective, and we very much look forward to overlapping BPL’s mission with ours,” said Melissa and Emily Elsen, Owners of Four & Twenty Blackbirds.

In order to execute this new venture, the Elsen sisters will be collaborating with fellow sibling chefs John and Mike Poiarkoff. Born into a family of cooks and bakers outside of Pittsburgh, PA, the Poiarkoff brothers cultivated their culinary skills from a young age. They have trained and worked at acclaimed establishments throughout New York City, including the The Modern and Char No. 4. John and Mike are currently the executive chefs at The Pines and Vinegar Hill House, respectively. Together, these sibling duos will unveil an exciting and innovative culinary smorgasbord at BPL.

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