Crave Cookies opened very recently in the heart of Pitman’s Downtown…well in Pitman, they call it Uptown! We stopped in last weekend and tried out Craves’ delicious baked goods! We also popped in on nearby Gentle Giant (Vegan) Cafe, who we promised many months ago when they opened, that we’d get over there to visit and write a post.
Read on for our full experience of both eateries, and don’t forget to scroll down for photos at the bottom!
Pitman, I am coming back soon to do a full story on your amazing Uptown downtown! It truly is a gem that more people need to know about. I am genuinely impressed with this thriving small town business district, and had a sense of awe with the variety of stores and restaurants… and how few empty stores there are.
“Hey a new store is coming, Words Matter Bookstore! oh I didn’t know about Chloe’s Creme Puffs! Oh this is where Thai Burger is! Damn I missed Sweet Lula’s!”. I even had a really nice chat with the owner of Atilio’s Pizza outside of his store… But for today I am happy to focus on Crave Cookies and Gentle Giant Cafe!
If you want to visit these new places, trust me.. you can make an afternoon out of it visiting shops, restaurants, and visiting TWO breweries and Merryman’s Pub. Literally all in a 4 block area!
Crave Cookies just opened within the last 2 weeks, and are located right on Broadway next to Thai Burger (a small alleyway separates them). A Touch of Ireland is close by, and Gentle Giant is just one store away!
We stopped in last weekend and had a chance to chat with some of their employees, and buy some of their products. Cookies are their primary thing, but they are dabbling into a variety of delicious sweet baked goods, and showed me a fresh tray of donuts (and now I wonder “Why didn’t I buy a donut!?”).
How about “Mikey’s Bacon Pancake bars” which are good for breakfast, lunch or night time snacking?!
And it’s not just about cookies and baked goods! They also offer coffee and have a variety of flavorings available, and can make a variety of tasty drinks.
For our cookie sampling we tried a Pumpkin Cheesecake cookie with a delicious creamy swirled frosting, and an OMG brownie cookie bar. Both were absolutely delicious!
The OMG seems to be a signature item; a chocolate brownie with whipped peanut butter frosting covered in a chocolate ganache. Amazing!
The Pumpkin Cheesecake cookie was my wife’s favorite. It’s a soft and fresh cookie, and the frosting really takes it way beyond just calling it a cookie!
Afterwards we reached out to the ownership to get their story on the new bakery!
Mike and Kathleen Bianco have had a lifelong passion for baking. After Mike retired from the telephone company, they both continue to run their security business, Bianco Security out of Vineland. Recently, they decided to pursue their love of baking and open a cookie shop and what better place than to open it in Pitman! They strive to provide the greatest quality products for everyone!
Another bonus for Crave is they are very active on Facebook and I even see some TikTok posts shared there! I have a couple of pictures here, but if you want to keep up with their deliciously creative minds, go like their Facebook page and other social media platforms.
The Gentle Giant Cafe
The Gentle Giant Cafe opened a bit ago… I’ve lost all track of time in this new world! But owner Dawn was reaching out to me even before the opened, and soon after.. but for a variety of reasons I never got over there until this past weekend. A very unique eatery in our area, they are Gloucester County’s first 100% plant-based eatery!
When I popped over early last weekend, it was actually just before their opening, and as I took a photo of the outside I happened to catch a gentleman as he set a delicious looking breakfast sandwich down on the front window table. The gentleman popped out to say high and I explained who I was. A minute later as I was just about to walk away, owner Dawn popped out, excitedly saying “You’re finally here!”.
We chatted for several minutes about her cafe, and how she is taking her dietary lifestyle choices and making them available to the public. Delicious dietary choices.
So I learned that the gentleman with the sandwich is Dawn’s husband and business partner, Aaron. He is also the creator of their vegan breakfast sandwich, and I commented to Dawn about it “I can’t believe that’s a vegan sandwich! It looks just like any other sausage, egg and bagel sandwich I’ve eaten 100 times before. Actually it looks better!”
“You want to try one? I have one made for myself that I haven’t touched yet. You can have it and I’ll make myself another”, Dawn offered.
Hmmm.. do I really want to take her personal breakfast away from her? But she has a kitchen full of food… and I really want to try it.
“Well if you really don’t mind, I would like to give it a try!”, I replied.
So I find myself next sitting in my car eating a delicious 100% plant based sausage breakfast sandwich. And it was delicious. I’m not even sure what I ate, ha. I didn’t ask what the ingredients were. But the texture and taste was just what I expected of any breakfast sandwich, and the plant based sausage had the seasonings that you would expect.
The Gentle Giant Cafe offers this description of their store
Why the Gentle Giant Café?; short answer is for selfish reasons my desire to live compassionately and that means not harming any animals. I don’t eat any meat, dairy or things made with animal products. But what do you do when you go out, you don’t always just want a salad….so, you learn what you can, take classes and aspire to open your own compassionate café. But I also want the café to support charities near and dear to me and teach others how to eat more healthy and compassionate. We will hold cooking classes, have tastings, events, movies and pet adoption opportunities. So stay tuned, we welcome your input, ideas and support.
Dawn also explained to me about the challenges they have in getting a new awning installed for the store, and funding is the biggest problem. They are running a GoFundMe to raise the money needed to put up a new awning with store signage. Dawn and the team area doing a great thing for the community with their cafe, and it’s not a high profit business… so this seems to me like a good use for GoFundMe
The Gentle Giant Cafe is also very active on Facebook! Go like their page. Right now they are sharing their experiments in making a Vegan Cheesesteak!
As mentioned, we’ll be back to feature Pitman and its really nice Broadway area shopping district. There are a variety of shops and restaurants, and what many may find surprising.. the previously “dry” Pitman has TWO breweries (Kelly Green and Human Village) and a new FULL BAR Restaurant with Merryman’s Pub!
These are all in a 4 block or so, very walkable area.
And come the Holiday season, we hope the Pitman Grove neighborhood is still having their amazing community Christmas display which is a half block from Merrymans Pub!
A Pet Check Urgent Care center is under development in Deptford NJ, taking over the building which previously housed Payless Shoes (across from the Mall). This is Pet Check's second location, with Washington Township opening back in 2019!
A much larger Polo Ralph Lauren store has opened in Blackwood's Gloucester Premium Outlets, taking over the large space which was formerly the food court and administration offices. We visited today and grabbed photos of the all new store. It was a crowded day at the Outlets, on a beautifully nice November Saturday!
Discount retailer Ocean State job Lot is officially open in Deptford NJ, taking over the former Toys R Us building (directly across from the mall). We stopped in this morning and share our thoughts and photos. Oh and I have a short commentary video!