The Weales in part name their business in tribute to the New Croton Dam.
Photos courtesy of Dam Good English Muffins
A Croton couple use culinary experience and entrepreneurship to elevate English muffins along with their community in Westchester County.
The journey to wholesale success for Denise and Ross Weale began when they had homemade English muffins at a friend’s house. “They were amazing,” Denise says. “Very difficult to go back to a store brand.”
So, the couple, residents of Croton-on-Hudson for upwards of 20 years, started creating their own English muffins, drawing on their pedigree as Johnson & Wales graduates. One day in 2016, when the Weales were walking and discussing returning to their culinary roots, they stumbled onto a piece of trash. It was a Thomas’ English Muffins box.
“This is kind of a sign,” Denise said at the time. “All right, let’s go for it!”
Back in 2002, the Weales had established an S corporation to publish a cookbook they’d written. Around the end of 2016, the Weales decided to begin doing business through that entity as Dam Good English Muffins, allusions to both their town’s dam and the quality of their product.
A watershed moment in the fledgling company’s history occurred in early 2017, when they brought their product to Susan O’Keefe’s popular Croton bakery, Baked by Susan. O’Keefe says she doesn’t sell anyone else’s products but made an exception for the Weales’ English muffins because they were that good. After selling out during a trial run, Baked by Susan continued carrying the muffins, and the Weales leveraged that success to begin selling their all-natural, non-GMO, soy-free English muffins not only at local farmers’ markets but also to other stores in the area, including Chappaqua Village Market and Mt. Kisco Seafood.
Following a stint in a restaurant basement in Peekskill, Dam Good English Muffins leased a new 1,500 sq. ft. production facility last fall on John Walsh Blvd in Peekskill, where they’re keeping up with orders for such popular products as the vegan sourdough and cinnamon swirl, through their website and for curbside pickup at the production facility. One of the secrets of their success involves the process, which includes a cold-fermentation period, followed by cutting their artisan sourdough muffins, then griddling them, like pancakes, often in avocado oil.
According to Denise, she and her husband take great pride in their products, but she says that applies equally to their community. Using open-hiring practices inspired by Yonkers’ Greyston Bakery, Denise asserts, “It’s important to give people second chances and opportunities to learn a skill, and we can provide that here.” The company also donates products to Fred’s Food Pantry in Peekskill.