Ovenly goodness! Two gals start a savory snack business

Ovenly goodness! Two gals start a savory snack business
Photo by Erica Sackin

Sayonara, stale popcorn. Bon voyage, boiled peanuts. Hungry bar patrons in Williamsburg just got a brand new snack to munch on, and it tastes a lot like bacon.

Or caramel, or curry, or any number of the unique flavor combinations invented by culinary queens Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga. This June, the two ladies founded Ovenly, a small bakery-kitchen that’s producing tasty treats to sell in bars and coffee shops. And with sweet/savory options like spicy bacon caramel corn, peppery pistachio sesame brittle, pear mascarpone tart with gingersnap crust, and gluten-free pistachio cardamom muffins, the duo is hoping to do away with boring bar snacks.

“Our motto is, ‘Nothing too sweet,’ ” said Patinkin. “By far what excites us the most are the flavor combinations.”

Patinkin and Kulaga met a few years ago when they were both delinquent members in a food-focused book club. Each were impressed with the baked goods that the other brought to the meetings, and they started toying with the idea of creating a business. Their lack of professional baking training wasn’t an issue — both come from a long line of bakers and grew up working in the kitchen.

“What’s been really fun is a lot of the places we sell to are also new,” Patinkin says. “It’s been really fun and collaborative.”

For now, Ovenly’s treats are available at the Bedford Hill Coffee Bar in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg, Champion Coffee and Veronica Peoples Club in Greenpoint, and the Manhattan-based Brooklyneer, though they can also be ordered directly from the company.

Patinkin just quit her full-time job to help the company expand, and the ladies have plans to start offering their goods in retail locations in 2011.

“I’m killing my career, quitting my job, and going back to wages I earned when I was 21-years-old,” says Patinkin. “It’s terrifying, but we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t believe in our product, or if we didn’t believe we could grow.”

Ovenly is available at the Brooklyn Brewery [79 N. 11th St. between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 486-7422]; Veronica Peoples Club [105 Franklin St. between Milton Street and Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint, (718) 349-2901]. For info, visit ovenlynyc.com/beta.