Follow the aroma to Crave Pitman

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Offering large, fun “soft and gooey” cookies and so much more

The smell of fresh baked cookies straight out of the oven wafts from South Broadway’s Crave Pitman daily. And to be honest, it’s hard to miss.

“We have some people that confess they come in every day,” owner Kathleen Bianco said with a smile. “And it’s ‘OK.’”

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Bianco and her husband, Mike, officially opened Crave Pitman, a bakery that offers a variety of large, fun “soft and gooey” cookies and cookie bars, on Aug. 8, 2020, initially as a hobby.

In 2019, we just decided it was time to have some fun,” Bianco said. “We knew a lot about baking cookies since we have baked our whole lives. [Mike] with his grandmother. I baked with my mother, and we figured it was something fun to do.”

For Bianco and her mom Jenny Beckman-McGarry, baking “a lot of cookies” started on Black Friday into the Christmas season.

So, for the Biancos, opening up Crave takes them away from their mundane “office responsibilities from their other business [of selling security alarm systems]” because let’s face it, “security alarm systems are not nearly as much fun as cookies.”

“People don’t call me and tell me how much they love their alarms, but they do tell me how much they love their cookies,” Bianco said. 

In 2019, the couple, who are from Vineland in Cumberland County, started scoping out places. 

“We kinda came to Pitman to just to see what was here and we fell in love with the town,” Bianco said. “It was the week between Christmas and New Years and [the borough] was decorated beautifully for the holidays. There was garland and wreaths all over the place. People were walking. This is a walking town, which is completely opposite from where we live. It was very nice and refreshing.”

The location – 9 S. Broadway – happened to be vacant. 

“We made phone calls with the landlord [of the storefront property] on that day just to find more information on it,” Bianco recalled. “Sure enough, she answered.”

The couple started testing recipes at Crave on March 1, 2020. And the rest was history. Happily, baking ever after. Not quite.

The world shut down mid-March due to COVID-19. Literally. 

What luck, right. 

Despite the obstacle of many unknowns, the Biancos did not let that deter their goal of opening Crave. 

“We’re food so we considered ourselves essential,” Bianco said. “We were already under construction, so we kept moving. The construction of the building completed, and we opened on Aug. 8, 2020.

“Who knew that people would be waiting around the block to come in on opening day. It was amazing, really amazing.”

In summer 2020, Bianco said she believes people were not only excited that it was the middle of summer, but excited to “get out” and were essentially looking for comfort.

“Cookies are definitely comfort foods,” she said. 

Crave Pitman offers “comfort” year-round with cookies and cookie bars that change “constantly” with the holidays and seasons. 

Yes, Crave has their set cookies/cookie bars that they opened with. Some are still the original recipes of Bianco’s mom.

Cookies: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, sugar, peanut butter, chocolaty chocolate chip, cinnamon bon, thin lizzy, chocolate oatmeal, lemon ricotta, M&M, and cookies and cream.

Cookie Bars: OMG original recipe – rich moist brownie base layered with fluffy peanut butter frosting topped with chocolate ganache, blueberry crumbnie – short bread base, layered with juicy blueberries and topped with a short bread crumble, and classic brownie – a classic rich and moist chocolate brownie.

“When we first opened, my husband and I planned to do all the baking,” Bianco said. “But it was very clear within a couple of days that we would not be able keep up with the demand.”

Entering their third year, they have 10 to 15 employees including full-time bakers, who help the Bianco’s continuously come up with “cool, fresh, eclectic” ideas for cookies and cookie bars from cookie monster, strawberry matcha, Suzie Q, and peanut butter cup cookies to sugar dough cheesecake, cinnamon toast crunch bar, golden oreo cheesecake and circus animal cookie bars. Hence, the ever-changing menu. 

All baking is done on site and the bakery offers vegan and gluten-free options. 

Not only does Crave follow almost every holiday, but they also follow special events such as the Kentucky Derby and the recent coronation of King Charles III.

“It’s not something I thought about, but a customer requested it,” Bianco said of coronation day cookies. “I thought it would be fun … I like to do fun things.”

One of her favorite special events is National Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day in March. 

“It’s something I believe in and am very passionate about with kids and reading,” she said. “I always come out with a special cookie for Dr. Seuss Day.”

Bianco said they try to participate in as many community functions as they can from giving out cookies during the annual Halloween parade to giving out cookies to the senior outreach center for their monthly luncheons. More recently, they donated cookies for a blood drive. 

“It’s important to give back,” Bianco said. “While we are in business, it’s more important for us to serve the community. Serving the community is most important to us.”

Crazy Kat

So, if you have been to Crave Pitman, it’s hard not to be curious about Crazy Kat next door at 11 S. Broadway. Well, there is an opening to walk right through. And the neon pink sign Life is Short Eat Dessert First is definitely a draw into the opening. 

It’s Crave Pitman’s sister store. 

The space happened to open up in January 2022 and “here we are,” Bianco said, adding the want for the space essentially started out because her husband wanted an ice cream machine. The menu of items started as a build out from the machine. 

“We wanted to do a little bit more upscale desserts over here,” Bianco said. “So, of course we have ice cream cones, ice cream sandwiches, cakes, all of that. We also have all of our shooters; moose bombs are one of our main selling items. We always have cheesecakes, and we also have pre-decorated cakes. They are always ready. We bake cupcakes, right now mini bundt cakes are in.”

Add ons

As the businesses grow, Bianco said their vision continues to serve the community. More catering and a venture into customized wedding cakes are on the future menu, but their motto of “baking the world a better place” remains.

“We want people to come [to Crave] for the experience,” Bianco said. “Not just for whatever it is they are going to be eating.”

There are two locations of Crave – Pitman and now the Pink Crave Cottage in Mullica Hill, which will feature the baked goods from the Crave Pitman location. 

Crave Pitman is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information follow the aroma to www.cravepitman.com or call (856) 680-1111.

From l-r Danielle Harrell, Kathleen Bianco, Kendall Rooks, and Leah Heaney. Harrell and Rooks are bakers and Heaney is a lead shift at Crave Pitman. PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG

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