In Brooklyn Heights, a Tale of the Small Business Success L’Appartement 4F — and a Lot of Flour

The internet famous French bakery, L’Appartement 4F, goes from a kitchen table production to a thriving Brooklyn storefront.


Judy Greene

Carefully curated and meticulously decorated, the upstairs of L’Appartement 4F provides a cozy atmosphere in which to eat your purchases.

The Coronavirus pandemic brought on changes for everyone. Not all of us, however, are Ashley and Guittier Coiffard, who opened a wildly successful French bakery in Brooklyn Heights. L’Appartement 4F has blown up in the past year, taking an operation born in the Coiffards’ apartment kitchen to the Drew Barrymore show and beyond. 

L’Appartement 4F opened its Brooklyn Heights storefront in April 2022, but the duo began selling their baked goods during 2020. Born out of Guittier’s attempts to recreate a true French croissant in his New York City kitchen, he originally baked solely for himself, Ashley, and their friends. By February 2020, he found success with his croissants, perfecting a recipe that reminded him of France. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, their first attempts to start selling them were paused. After a few months rolled by, it was June 2020 and the Coiffards posted their first menu online. Originally, the baking was a side hustle, bringing in around $150 dollars per week. Eventually, as Ashley told CBS News, “we had flour covering everything we had. We had to get a storage unit so we could put our own stuff into a storage unit…because we needed to store baked goods and flour and sugar.” The demand for Guittier’s croissants (and, soon, their croissant cereal!) outpaced their Brooklyn kitchen, (located in their apartment, apartment 4F a.k.a. the bakery’s namesake), and, in spring 2021, the couple put down a payment on 115 Montague Street.

The bakery quickly went viral.

L’Appartement 4F began with croissants, so it is only fitting that a croissant would bring them their internet fame. Their mini croissant cereal, made of the regular croissant dough and coated in cinnamon sugar, quickly racked up views on TikTok and Instagram, and brought a new level of fame to the bakery.

On a chilly January 2023 weekend, my mom, my friend Noa, her mom, and I took a trip to Brooklyn Heights and L’Appartement 4F. Ashley, before she quit to run the bakery full time, had been the school nurse at the school my mom teaches at, and we wanted to check it out. When we got there, the line stretched out the door and a few stores down but moved quickly. Once we got inside, the long line made sense — the inside counter area was small, with space for only a few people to cluster while they waited for their orders. The smell of bread, sugar, and coffee hit us instantly.  

My mom and I got a baguette sandwich, hot chocolate, raspberry and almond croissants, and chocolate chip tahini cookies. After ordering, we went upstairs, where the second floor has been turned into a cute loft packed with tables and chairs. We sat upstairs snacking on our croissants (delicious), and I drank my hot chocolate (also delicious). 

The kitchen is open and fully visible from the counter, adding to the bakery’s intimate feeling. While ordering, my mom spotted a coworker of hers who works in the kitchen at L’Appartement on weekends. He brought us a box of croissants and other pastries, which tasted incredible there and held up on the counter for a few days after. 

L’Appartement 4F certainly blew up for good reason and its popularity has only grown. The Coiffards have plans to expand, with a wine bar and evening bistro in the works. Set up in an optimal location in Brooklyn Heights, just a quick walk to the water and to Borough Hall, L’Appartement 4F attracts foot traffic passing through but also brings quite a bit of its own. 

Ashley and Guttier admit they may not have known what they were getting themselves into with opening a bakery. Purchasing ingredients is expensive, and importing certain ones from France takes a healthy bite out of the bakery’s income, but their rousing success (and the incredible taste of their pastries) more than makes up for it. 

The story of L’Appartement 4F is unique in many ways — how many of us turned our pandemic sourdough into an internet famous and wildly successful bakery? Thousands of New York businesses closed during the pandemic, with over 5,000 reported in Manhattan alone. Owning and operating a business in New York City is hard enough in normal circumstances; when the world shut down for COVID-19, the difficulty level was ramped up tenfold. But L’Appartement is certainly not the only pandemic success story. 

There’s no real common thread between these New York businesses born in the pandemic, ranging from a new Krispy Kreme outpost to a hip Brooklyn restaurant (similar to L’Appartement). But they all have found their niches and made it work.

L’Appartement 4F is a labor of love, started by Guittier Couffard’s desire to taste a little bit of his French hometown here in New York. What began with baked goods sold to friends and family has blown up into an internet sensation (given the photos posted on their Instagram account, there’s no question about how that happened). I can say pretty confidently that it lives up to the hype, both in terms of the food itself (the most important part) and the carefully curated atmosphere. Their success is no surprise and it is certainly worth a trip.

For information about hours, menu, and more, you can find L’Appartement 4F HERE and on Instagram. 

The story of L’Appartement 4F is unique in many ways — how many of us turned our pandemic sourdough into an internet famous and wildly successful bakery?