French Bakery L’Appartement 4F opens in Brooklyn Heights
“It’s so symbolic of Montague Street coming back.”
A Brooklyn couple who shot to fame by baking mini croissant cereal from home officially opened their first brick-and-mortar store on Saturday, and the scene on Montague Street was unprecedented.
Bakery fans thronged Brooklyn Heights’ main shopping thoroughfare for the ribbon cutting of L’Appartement 4F, the creation of husband and wife team Gautier and Ashley Coiffard.
The couple has been baking and selling their famous cereal, along with sourdough bread, hand-rolled croissants and other pastries, from their Cobble Hill apartment (unit 4F) since June 2020. The cereal became a foodie sensation, going viral on TikTok and Instagram and picked up by New York Magazine, Time, French Morning and other outlets.
The Coiffards (Gautier hails from France) used their wedding money to open their shop, and 606 fans pledged $62,521 on Kickstarter to help them. Many of their supporters were in the crowd.
“I’ve been following L’Appartement 4F for months now,” said Manhattan resident Raegan Baty, who calls herself a baked goods connoisseur. “I’m very excited to try all the goodies — the croissants, the chocolate chip cookies, the raspberry croissants.”
“L’Appartement 4F has amazing croissants,” said Brooklyn Heights resident Cara Riordan. “It’s been featured on a lot of TV stations and newspapers, but I also live right on Montague Street so I’ve just been watching it.”
Sarah Teng said she has tried the mini croissant cereal. “It’s literally hand-rolled croissants and they dehydrate them in the oven and then they cover them in a cinnamon-sugar coating. So they’re crispy, and they’re like this big. They taste a little like elephant ear palmiers,” she said. “Crispy and flaky.”
Montague Street turning point?
The opening of L’Appartement 4F was not only a triumph for the couple, but a success for the Brooklyn Heights Association. In December of 2020, in the midst of the COVID outbreak, one fifth of the storefronts on Montague Street were empty. BHA has spent the last several years trying to attract more businesses to the street.
“The BHA is especially proud of this opening today because we had an instrumental role in bringing them to Montague Street as part of the work that we’ve been doing to help new businesses open on the street,” said Lara Birnback, executive director of BHA.
In a survey carried out by BHA in 2020, respondents said “they wanted a bakery, with pastries and croissants,” Birnback said.
BHA member Eric Lawton, who sits on the Public Realm Committee, heard about L’Appartement 4F from his girlfriend and had a brainstorm, Birnback said. “Eric said, ‘I know who it should be!’ So we connected with Ashley and Gautier and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got some vacancies on Montague Street, and we know this community would support you and would love to have you. So they came, we showed them around, they saw this beautiful space, and they had the vision, wherewithall and motivation to to transform it into this amazing space that we’re opening.”
“I moved into Brooklyn Heights and Montague Street in the summer of 2019. The street was great, it’s a beautiful area, but it never really had a reason to exist — the street wasn’t a destination itself,” Lawton told the Brooklyn Eagle. After learning about L’Appartement 4F, Lawton decided, “We have all these vacant stores, and they have a thriving online business, and maybe they need the space. It was a good symbiosis.”
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Neighborhood Outreach Luc Saint Preux presented the couple with an illustrated map of Brooklyn showing their business location, which is a gift from the Chamber at grand openings.
“This is amazing,” Saint Preux said. “My parents are from Paris, so I’ll be coming here to indulge in the bakery.”
Cutting the red ribbon
Councilmember Lincoln Restler (District 33) presided over the ribbon cutting.
“This is the most anticipated opening on Montague Street in decades,” Restler said. “This is just the beginning. The synergy is a replicable model that we need to make things happen, so we have more and more great businesses in our community that meet our needs. I really believe that this bakery opening up on Montague Street is the turning point we’ve been waiting for.”
“This has been a very long time to open,” Gautier Coiffard told the crowd. “We are only here because of all of you — every single customer, every single friend who helped us from the very beginning.”
Kate Chura, executive director of the Montague Street BID, said, “We have some really great businesses here” on Montague Street, and teased, “We have some new storefronts opening up soon.”
‘Amazing community event’
The ribbon cutting coincided with Montague Street’s first car-free Saturday of the season, which was fortunate as the street was filled with fans of the bakery.
“Look at this line!” said Erika Belsey Worth, former president of BHA. “The opening of L’Appartement 4F is an amazing community event because people in the neighborhood have supported them and are going to continue to support them — and get croissants in return.”
She added, “It’s so symbolic of Montague Street coming back.”
Leave a Comment
Leave a Comment