We can largely thank Levain for ushering in the trend of humongous, warm cookies that are chewy on the inside, but crispy on the out. The popular bakery on Manhattan’s Upper West Side has inspired numerous other bakeries and copycats, but have now made it so that you can get your hands on an original Levain cookie, no matter where you are in the country. The bakery announced last summer that it’d be selling pre-baked, frozen cookies at Texas’ Central Market, but this week expanded into Whole Foods nationwide.
Whole Foods will carry three flavors: Chocolate Chip Walnut, Two Chip Chocolate Chip, and Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, the dark chocolate option exclusively available at Whole Foods. “Whether we’re meeting customers in our bakeries or in the freezer section, we know they’re getting a true Levain Bakery experience,” founders Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald said in a statement. Levain “will expand only as quickly as we are able to maintain the quality of the product,” said CEO Andy Taylor.
One priority for the bakery is making sure the cookies stay frozen the entire time before reaching the customer. Levain first experimented with a shelf-stable cookie, but it didn’t have the same texture as the cookies straight from the bakery. If the freezer cookies take off, Levain is hoping to add other products like cake and brioche to the frozen aisle.
Taylor previously told reporters that Levain is planning to open brick-and-mortar locations across the country. Currently, there are seven locations in New York, and one in Washington D.C. The bakery is among the latest artisanal snack shops that once traded on exclusivity to expand to a national market with more stores or by moving into grocery markets. Milk Bar is now available in groceries nationwide, as is Jeni’s ice cream, and Carbone pasta sauce. Usually these products cost more than a bag of Chips Ahoy or a jar of Prego, so the exclusivity is still there. But it raises questions about accessibility (good!) versus the homogenizing of food culture (weird!).
Then again, we shouldn’t exactly be encouraging people to travel yet, so go ahead and enjoy the cookies.