COOKIES! COOKIES! COOKIES! Right now. On Ridge. We popped by Famous 4th to chat with an owner about plans for their new bakery in the old liquor store.
Let’s get this right out: we are all within walking distance to the most delicious cookies, baked from old family recipes unchanged for generations. Famous 4th isn’t open for retail yet but pick-up, people! Order online or by phone (215-625-9870) and they’ll tell you when you can swing by for your own little box of heaven (Monday thru Friday, 7am – 3pm).
Fifteen flavors available, of course we had to ask Tina Phillips which was her favorite: chocolate oatmeal walnut, which frankly sounds a little healthy to us…
Tina could use all the nourishment she can get — opening this bakery as Holiday orders roll in has Famous 4th in high gear. She and her husband Brian, along with partner Michael Untermeyer, are newbies in the cookie game. They purchased the company in February of this year from the Auspitz family, who began selling their cookies in the early 80’s (at 70, David Auspitz was ready to retire).
So now Tina, Brian, and Mike scramble to learn the bakery biz and hopefully grow Famous 4th’s wholesale and online ordering. Their new location has tons of space for shipping, and a big shiny industrial kitchen with a gianormous mixer and one of those conveyor-belt machines like in that I Love Lucy bit with the chocolates.
When we made our appointment to come by, we were hoping to grab photos/video of the kitchen in action (from a sanitary distance!) but unfortunately that day the machines were down. When we checked in earlier, we considered rescheduling but then Tina told us she brought cookies for us from their Reading Terminal Location: chocolate chip and peanut butter, yet — the best flavors ever. We’ll be right over!
“Moving all this industrial equipment to a new space is a huge deal,” Tina explained as a repair man convened with the bakery managers (who were part of the deal when they acquired Famous 4th). “We are trusting them to know what we need to run a smooth operation.”
Likewise, the guys we spoke with expressed appreciation for their new bosses, who aren’t cutting corners with staff. “A lot of bakery jobs are filled by temps, but here they’ve hired a great crew who enjoy coming to work every day,” said Sam, their “cut master” (who’s been with the company 15 years).
Tina told us she hopes Famous 4th will grow enough to hire some locals. Already, they’ve got plans to expand into retail sales in early 2017 and maybe eventually even a coffee counter or window seating or something. It’s all waaaaay too early to even think of additional avenues when they’re practically maxed out where they are now.
“We are learning as we go, trying to keep on top of all these orders coming in while relocating everything across the city, to a space that needed plumbing, refrigeration, exhaust, everything — and of course now we learn that whenever you move these machines, they need to be professionally leveled, adjusted, calibrated… We just take every opportunity to understand the business better.”
In the half-hour she showed us around, Tina was constantly fielding questions from all directions, including her phone. Through it all, she somehow remained present enough to keep answering *our* questions — come to think, it must’ve been like a whirlwind of interrogation for her. Yet she was remarkably serene.
Ah, the magic of cookies. “There’s a lot going on, but I don’t really stress over it,” Tina told us, “How can you stress over cookies?”
Indeed. We’re still blissing out over our take-home. Not your average cookie — these babies are thick and buttery, with generous additions of good stuff: chips, nuts, raisins, oats… all the classics. Old-school yumminess, if you’re a cookie fan you’ll totally want to get friendly with this menu (FYI: their chocolate chip was voted Best in Pennsylvania by Cosmopolitan).
BEST OF LUCK TO FAMOUS FOURTH! Thank you for the awesome cookies, and welcome to East Falls.
Famous 4th Street Cookies
4177 Ridge Avenue
7am – 3pm
Monday thru Friday
*Limited hours, pickup only until they open for retail in early 2017*