Greenpoint is getting a new bakery from an alum of the celebrated Gramercy Tavern. Radio Bakery will open in spring 2023, taking over the storefront at 135 India Street, on the corner of Manhattan Avenue, that used to be home to Tomcats Barber Shop.
Radio Bakery’s co-owner and pastry chef, Kelly Mencin, told Greenpointers that the space at 135 India Street “was the perfect size, right across the street from the G train and on a quiet, tree lined street” and “felt like the right fit from the beginning.”
Though the bakery is currently under construction, Greenpointers was told that the space will have an open format concept with production taking up the majority of the square footage.
The customer experience at Radio Bakery will include a small section for grab-and-go pastries, bread, and coffee beverages, and there will be a limited seating area with a few stools in the window.
“The goal is that one can walk into the space and immediately smell and see everything we are making,” Mencin told Greenpointers.
Radio Bakery’s menu will be pulled from various influences, according to Mencin, with a dash of “good old-fashioned nostalgia.” Mencin plans to include classic viennoiserie, like croissants, plus specialties like passionfruit morning buns, ‘nduja and fontina croissants, and bolus, which is a Dutch sticky bun.
The menu concludes with a variety of breads, including focaccia, and ready-made sandwiches. “I think it’s so important to have a good mix of sweet and savory options; something for everyone,” Mencin said, who will be overseeing the menu and the day to day operations at the bakery.
Mencin, a Brooklyn resident, is no stranger to the kitchen. She helped open Rolo’s, a popular restaurant in Ridgewood, Queens, in January of 2021. “When I was brought onto the team in 2020, the plan was that we were going to be a dinner-only restaurant, and I would be handling the dessert and bread program,” Mencin explained. “Then the pandemic hit, and we had to pivot.”
So, the team opened Rolo’s as a cafe and bakery with a grocery store. Mencin was in charge of making all the pastries, focaccia, bread, and ice cream. “It turned out to be such a success that once we started doing full-service dinner at Rolo’s, we decided to keep the cafe and bakery portions,” said Mencin.
Before working at Rolo’s, Mencin was a cook at Gramercy Tavern, where she met Rolo’s co-owners, Rafiq Salim, Howard Kalachnikoff and Ben Howell. “I had known they were planning on opening a restaurant, but I never thought I would get the chance to work with them,” Mencin recalled.
Mencin remembers sitting down with Howard and Rafiq and pitching herself as a pastry chef, even though they had only known her as a savory cook at Gramercy Tavern. “Rafiq asked if I knew how to make ice cream… I said yes, and that was that,” said Mencin, who now considers herself incredibly “lucky” with her “dream job” at Radio Bakery.