Whether it’s a baguette made with specially ordered flour from France or a fried donut filled to order with Beth’s Farm Kitchen local jam, the Upper West Side will soon get to taste what has made Orwasher’s an Upper East Side institution for a century. The bakery will open its second location on Sept. 1 on the northwest corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 81st Street.
“I wanted to expand the brand and thought the Upper West Side was the place for me,” says Keith Cohen, owner of the artisan bread company since 2007.
Unlike the East 78th street location, the much larger new space allows for 18 stool seats along the front windows as well as outdoor café seating for 20. It will feature all the breads and specialties, such as the aforementioned donuts, as the East Side location, but will also serve sandwiches and toasts, that Cohen describes as “best in class” such as avocado, radish and sunflower seeds on multi-grain bread and almond butter and grape jelly on cinnamon raisin.
A full coffee bar will feature a small Brooklyn company, Nobletree. In the weeks to come, an old-fashioned soda fountain will be added for egg creams and more. The open kitchen will allow customers to see the baking process of the baguettes, pastries and, yes, another new item, bagels.
Joining Cohen in this endeavor is general manager, Jules Morland. Morland, 27, is from France, a certified pastry chef who also earned his MBA in management from St. John’s University. “The appeal for me was the huge challenge. I am more attracted to business openings,” he said.
“I connected with Keith right away,” Morland added. “Owners usually only care about money, but he’s really all about quality ingredients.”
Morland speaks lovingly, specifically, of the pastries, noting the sticky buns, orange blossom brioche and canelé de Bordeaux as just a few of the standouts.
“I saw myself in Jules when I was his age,” Cohen said. “That same hunger to master your craft.”
In addition to the grand opening, Cohen, 45, plans to celebrate the 100th year of Orwasher’s with some special promotions at both locations. “This store will give me the ability to showcase the 100 years of baking pedigree we have,” he said. “It’s my way of paying homage to the past bakers and becoming the mentor to bakers 100 years from now.”
While specific plans are not confirmed, the celebration will most likely take place in late September and Cohen advises customers on both sides of Manhattan to be on the lookout.
Morland expects only the best on Sept. 1 and beyond. “We offer the best product in the city and I expect lines out the door, all the time,” he said.
Cohen thinks a bit more long-term: “We want to keep innovating and constantly find ways to tweak our products. I want to set the tone with this store for the next 100 years.”