Astoria, Astoria Arrivals, Bakeries, Community, Food and Drink, Neighborhood, News
Dec 11, 2019

The Story Behind ‘Bench Flour Bakers’ Coming Soon to 25th Ave (Plus a Sneak Peek!)

Last month we reported news of Bench Flour Bakers coming to the former Ani’s Pizza space on 25th Ave., and since then we’ve been able to chat with owner Christine (…)

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Instagram @benchflourbakers

Last month we reported news of Bench Flour Bakers coming to the former Ani’s Pizza space on 25th Ave., and since then we’ve been able to chat with owner Christine Yen even more about her baking background and journey to starting her own business, which is slated for a January 2020 opening!

It all began when Christine was a teenager and she got a job as a barista at the local bakery in her hometown on Long Island. But where she really wanted to be was the kitchen, so even though she didn’t have any experience, they let her work in there now and again.

Sooner or later, she became their full-time baker, and since then has totally delved into the pastry world. She has worked in several small bakeries in her hometown, gone to pastry school, worked in a few kitchens in Manhattan, and ran a pastry kitchen. Then came Bench Flour Bakers…

Courtesy Christine Yen.

“A few years into my baking career, I decided that I wanted to open my own bakery, but it was important to me to gain years of experience before I started my own business,” she explained. “While running someone else’s bakery kitchen, I started Bench Flour and did the baking for my business after getting home from my day job.”

A 10-year Astoria resident, Christine first started selling her goods at LIC Flea, then became the Breakfast Shack’s baker, then became a regular vendor at Queens Craft Brigade, and since then has been receiving custom and wholesale orders. Then, she and Breakfast Shack chef/owner Joe DeMato decided to join forces and become business partners.

Instagram @breakfastshackny (Christine in center)

“He has the same vision I do, and we work with each other so well, our partnership was a no-brainer,” Christine said. “We became co-owners of each other’s businesses, and as a result, both businesses really flourished.”

Christina always wanted to make food she believed in, using organic, all-natural, and local ingredients.

“I wanted to bring vibrant, seasonal, and honest treats to people,” she said. “Simply put, when you use the best ingredients and know what to do with them, you make the best food.”

Courtesy Christine Yen.

But, working in other people’s kitchens, she ended up making food she didn’t want or would necessarily eat herself, because of inexperienced management or chefs who were unmotivated. When Bench Flour Bakers was finally making consistent income, she decided to take the leap to full-time entrepreneurship, and soon after she found the empty storefront.

“I feel lucky to be a part of the small-biz community here,” she said of the Astoria community support. “People are truly excited and supportive of local businesses and make it a point to give you a chance and shop local. It’s a really beautiful display of kindness and neighborly love, and it’s an honor to bake for all of our neighbors.”

So, what can you expect? There will be a selection of breakfast pastries, like: croissants, danish, muffins, scones, coffee cake, morning buns, and cinnamon buns. There will be seasonal tarts, pies, bars, cookies, cakes and they hope to eventually introduce a small bread program. They will also have rotating small-batch seasonal specials, like figgy pudding during the winter holidays or granitas in the summer.

Instagram @benchflourbakers

Joe will head the savory kitchen and they will serve a small breakfast and lunch menu, with a seasonal brunch menu on the weekends. They also have their sights set on a beer and wine license, sourcing from local breweries and wineries.

“Making peopel happy and comforted by feeding them delicious and wholesome baked goods is such a simple and pure pleasure, it’s the best feeling when someone takes time out of their day to eat food you’ve so carefully and purposefully created,” she said.

YUM. January can’t come soon enough!

You can see a sneak peek of the space below, although Christine said they’re doing most of their own carpentry (building tables, counters and more) which they are finishing up over the next few weeks!

Courtesy Christine Yen.

Courtesy Christine Yen.

4318 25th Ave, Astoria 

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