As of September 28, 2022, our bakery is officially open for business in Westfield, New Jersey.
Our past few months have been busy beyond belief as we prepared for the bakery’s grand opening, ensuring it was stocked and ready for the first day of business. There is no denying that it was hard work, but when you love what you do, time flies, and the hard work is enjoyable.
It has always been a dream of Uyen’s to open a physical storefront, and the journey to get to where we are today has been long but very rewarding. From starting an online cookie business during the pandemic, moving across the country, to now opening our first feature bakery in Jeff’s hometown, things could not have worked out better.
Behind Kirshenbaum Baking Co., there is Uyen and Jeff Kirshenbaum.
Uyen’s 20-year career as a professional pastry chef started after college when she moved to Paris, France, to attend culinary school. Upon her graduation, she was offered an opportunity to work on the Vegas strip alongside some of the world’s top chefs. Uyen spent the next few years serving as the head pastry chef for several high-profile restaurants in hotels that included Bellagio, MGM, Mandalay Bay, and Caesars Palace.
Growing up the youngest of six girls, the bar had always been set high for Uyen, especially as she watched all of her sisters become successful professionals. This inspired Uyen to take a different route, turning her passion for French cuisine and pastries into her career. From Las Vegas she moved to California, her home state, where she first opened her own restaurant with her chef best friend, and then became David LeFevre’s (a noted chef and restauranteur) executive pastry chef for five years. It was in that role where she met Jeff, shortly after he opened his own restaurant right down the street from her.
Speaking of Jeff…he is a former wall street executive who received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and later completed an MBA in Finance and Economics. He first worked in accounting before moving to investment banking, where he climbed his way up to Vice President at Barclays. Following this, Jeff refocused his life and career, moving from NY to LA to enter the hospitality industry. He got a crash course in restaurant management by opening his own restaurant in Manhattan Beach, working as an operating partner and manager. He later moved around LA, gaining valuable experience as a general manager for Alimento Restaurant, Faith & Flower, and Simmzy’s in Long Beach.
We hadn’t realized that starting our own bakery was an option until 2020 when the pandemic hit, and everyone was forced to stay home. Kirshenbaum Baking Co. started as a fun side activity, where Uyen would bake cookies to send to family and friends around the country. It was a fun and tasty way to stay connected and even though they couldn’t get together in person, they were still top-of-mind.
Spending this time at home as a family reminded us of what it was like to slow down and enjoy every moment as they were. From here, we started Kirshenbaum Baking Co., which grew from being an outlet to keep busy to requiring us to rent commercial space and hire a small team of bakers to meet the growing demand for cookies available for nationwide delivery.
We couldn’t have predicted this success, but with the ability to ship our cookies anywhere in the US while retaining their original freshness, the pandemic may have been precisely what we needed to kickstart our dream.
Once the online cookie business was booming, the next step was to finally open our dream brick-and-mortar bakery, where Uyen could bake a variety of fresh artisan baked goods to sell on top of the cookies.
We spent countless hours scouring the real estate market to find the perfect location – a place for Kirshenbaum Baking Co. to plant roots and grow. We looked at numerous areas, including Morristown, Summit, and Millburn, but we ultimately settled on our new hometown of Westfield, NJ. Known for its incredible community and beautiful downtown area, Westfield just felt right.
Although sped up by the success of the cookie business, the decision to move out of LA to a place that would become both our family’s and bakery’s home had been an ongoing discussion. With the growth of Kirshenbaum Baking Co., the next step was to find a more permanent location where the business could truly take root and grow into its own. It was a big decision…this would be where our kids grow up, where the first Kirshenbaum Baking Co. Bakery was established, and most importantly, it would become home.
Not only did Westfield have the right atmosphere, but it was where Jeff worked at a small family deli in high school while growing up next door in Fanwood. So, we packed up our lives and made the move from Los Angeles, California, to Westfield, New Jersey.
While it was a crazy and exciting experience, it couldn’t have been possible without the help of everyone along the way. From family and friends who looked forward to the cookie deliveries to our customers all over the country who continue to order our cookies for delivery, you are not only a part of our dream but also our KBC family.
On September 28, our dream bakery became a reality, and now we get to serve cookies and so much more to the local community! We were lucky enough to have Mayor Shelley Brindle in attendance, who shared our excitement and congratulated us on choosing Westfield as the home of our new Kirshenbaum Baking Co. Bakery. With the support of the Westfield community, the grand opening was nothing short of a success.
It’s been a surreal experience from the beginning. Still, there are no words to describe the feeling of gratitude while hosting a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony to officiate the grand opening, especially with support from the local community. It’s not every day that we get to open a bakery, and being our first, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience – one we’re so thankful to enjoy with our friends, family, and amazing new Westfield neighbors.
While cookies are what got us started, we offer so much more than that!
Our bakery sells a large variety of goods from morning pastries like croissants and coffee cake, to cookies, cakes and pies, and everything is made from scratch in-house daily. We will also soon offer sandwiches made on house-baked breads, along with holiday specials and catering options. As a local bakery, we do our best to support other local businesses, which is why we source our coffee from our neighbor, Boxwood Coffee.
We understand that life gets busy and people may not always have the time to stop in and have a bite to eat, so we will soon be offering a selection of our fresh artisan goodies online for in-store pickup —just in case you want to treat yourself to quality food but are short on time. If interested, view our full in-store and for-pickup menu now.
We will continue to deliver our cookies nationwide for those who are too far for pickup to be a realistic option. You may not be able to access the bakery’s full menu, but we’ve ensured that there are plenty of delicious cookies available for delivery when ordering online.
Allergies or intolerances? Fear not! We have a whole cookie section dedicated to gluten-free and dairy-free cookies because everyone deserves to treat themselves to a tasty cookie. Check out Jeff’s Cookie Collection to view our gluten-free and dairy-free cookie offerings.
So, stop by 62 Elm St. in Westfield, NJ, to grab a bite! We look forward to greeting you with a fresh baked smile.