You know how sometimes vegan baked goods taste flat? Well, not the ones from Champs Family Bakery. If you don’t already know that, you should. Brooklyn locals and visitors who are looking for fantastic vegan cuisine, especially baked goods, can rejoice in the offerings of Champs.
Owner Brad Baker found his niche in the welcoming arms of Brooklyn with their wide variety of appetizing vegan dishes served up with style. His flagship diner with its extensive four-page menu opened in Williamsburg to great acclaim around 2011. In an effort to keep up with its volume a second smaller luncheonette opened in Greenpoint (Champs Junior). As its popularity continues to expand, a third space opened up earlier this year in a cozy residential building in Bushwick proper (760 Bushwick Avenue) to keep up with the demand for its baked goods, complete with a large production kitchen that supplies to the other locations.
Part of the exponential success of Champs is the high quality of vegan products they create. Notably, their vegan croissants, cinnamon buns, red velvet cupcakes and the pillow-soft Kaiser rolls that cushion their sandwiches. The Bushwick location’s General Manager and Chef, Stella Leung explains, “The interesting thing about cooking with vegan ingredients, especially baking, is to simulate the chemical and mechanical reactions (you get) when you cook with eggs and butter. So we bake with a lot of egg (substitutes), which would be a combination of tapioca and potato starch, applesauce, soy milk, almond milk, and plenty of gluten-free options.”
Many of the staff live in Bushwick and are keen to the fact that their vegan cuisine is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. The Bushwick café extension also produces a smaller version of the flagship’s classic diner menu that includes their signature buffalo chicken sandwich and fresh salads. On weekends the Bushwick space also serves as a test kitchen allowing Leung to create experimental new brunch items that may make it to Champs permanent menu.
Eventually, Champs will be delivering to the Bushwick area out of their new location, but their Greenpoint and Williamsburg devotees can find them on grubhub.com now.
Champs hours are from 8am-6pm daily. They start serving their small café food items from 10a – 6pm (8a-10a for coffee and pastries).