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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Brooklyn Public Library Celebrates Grand Opening of Central Library’s New Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café on “Pi Day” – 3-14

Brooklyn-based pie shop debuts menu and new space this Friday; 
Full day of educational activities for kids, including “pi-ku” and pi wall

Brooklyn, NY –Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) today announced that local small business Four & Twenty Blackbirds will open its new café in BPL’s Central Library at 10 am on Pi Day – 3-14. The café will launch its full menu of fresh handmade foods, including Four & Twenty Blackbirds pies, and reveal its newly renovated bright and welcoming space.  The Library will also offer a day of hands-on activities to teach people about the mathematical concept of pi. 

The full café menu includes hot breakfast items, made-to-order sandwiches, locally made snacks and treats, Stumptown Coffee and bottled beverages.  Menu items include healthy, fresh sandwiches and salads, homemade pastries and cookies that will be baked on site, and Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ signature sweet and savory pies delivered fresh from their Gowanus pie shop.  The space has been renovated with new fixtures, a neon “PIE” sign and an added espresso machine.  The café will be open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 am-6 pm. 

BPL will offer experiences to learn about pi throughout the day, such as building a “pi wall,” where people can post the next digit in pi to create a chain that snakes through the library. Youth activities include “pi-ku” workshops to create 3-1-4 verses (rather than haiku’s standard 5-7-5) and making “pi necklaces” in a 3-1-4 pattern of beads. First graders visiting from PS 9 will read a story that ends with two robots sharing pie, see a graphic demonstration of pi with circles and string and leave with Four & Twenty Blackbirds pies for the class to enjoy at their school. 

“What could be better than enjoying a slice of pie and the latest bestseller at the Library? We are happy to support Four & Twenty Blackbirds and other local businesses and look forward to celebrating an educational and delicious Pi(e) Day,” said Linda E. Johnson, President & CEO of Brooklyn Public Library.

A family-run business, Four & Twenty Blackbirds is owned by sisters Melissa and Emily Elsen. Originally from South Dakota, Melissa and Emily pursued separate careers in finance and the arts, ultimately landing them both in Brooklyn, NY. Inspired by the memory of their family’s popular local restaurant in South Dakota, the Calico Kitchen, the Elsen sisters reunited and decided to start a pie business in 2009. They initially ran their operations and produced their custom-baked pies in their shared Brooklyn apartment. By 2010, the Elsen sisters opened the Brooklyn-based Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop.

"We are thrilled to open our doors at the Brooklyn Public Library with pie on Pi day and to share the fresh, hand made products that we’ll be preparing in the kitchen there,” said Melissa and Emily Elsen, Owners of Four & Twenty Blackbirds.Serving good food with a friendly smile is Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ mission; we strive to support community, education and creativity from a culinary perspective, and we very much look forward to overlapping BPL’s mission with ours.” 

Four & Twenty’s creative pie concoctions, which include flavors like Salted Caramel Apple, Chili Chocolate, Black Bottom Oat, Birch Beer Float and Malted Chocolate Pecan, have steadily garnered acclaim. Named “Artisans of the Year” by Time Out in 2011, Blackbirds’ pies have been featured across a variety of food media, such as the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, and New York Magazine

In order to execute this new venture, the Elsen sisters will be collaborating with fellow sibling chefs John and Mike Poiarkoff. Born into a family of cooks and bakers outside of Pittsburgh, PA, the Poiarkoff brothers cultivated their culinary skills from a young age. They have trained and worked at acclaimed establishments throughout New York City, including the The Modern and Char No. 4. John and Mike are currently the executive chefs at The Pines and Vinegar Hill House, respectively. Together, these sibling duos will unveil an exciting and innovative culinary smorgasbord at BPL. 


About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website:


About Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Four & Twenty Blackbirds is a local Brooklyn-based pie shop, located at 439 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. The shop was founded in 2010 by sister pie makers, Melissa and Emily Elsen. Alongside an evolving seasonal pie menu, the shop also offers catering services for weddings and large events. In October 2013, the shop released its first book of pie recipes, “The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, Uncommon Recipes From the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop,” which is now available through various providers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and iBookStore.



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