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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Brooklyn Public Library Partners with Local Small Business, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, to Bring New Café to Central Library 

Custom-Made Pies, Sandwiches, Stumptown Coffee and More Come to Central; Limited Menu Offered Now, Full Menu Coming in March

Brooklyn NY –Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) today announced that local small business Four & Twenty Blackbirds will open a new café in BPL’s Central Library, offering their signature custom-made pies, Stumptown coffee, sandwiches and other items. A limited menu of coffee and snacks will be available starting Tuesday, February 18th, with the full menu available in early March.  

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. Homegrown in Brooklyn, they initially ran their operations and produced their custom-baked pies in their shared Brooklyn apartment. By 2010, they opened the Brooklyn-based Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop.

“At Brooklyn Public Library, we are proud to support our community by offering visitors the cultural, recreational, and educational resources they need to be well-informed – and well-fed. We are excited to take that commitment to our community one step further by opening our doors to local Brooklyn businesses like Four & Twenty Blackbirds,” Linda E. Johnson, President & CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “Not only do the Elsen sisters make delicious food, they are also published authors, which makes them a perfect fit for the Library.”

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. Motivated by their passion for baking and their commitment to the Brooklyn community, the sisters are excited to work with BPL. 

“Brooklyn Public Library has long been an important resource to us as Brooklynites; the Central Library building and location in Grand Army Plaza are iconic Brooklyn landmarks, and we are thrilled to bring our product to a wider audience in this setting. We as a company strive to support community, education and creativity from a culinary perspective, and we very much look forward to overlapping BPL’s mission with ours,” said Melissa and Emily Elsen, Owners of Four & Twenty Blackbirds. 

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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