Washington, D.C. Is America’s Next Great Bakery Town

Has there ever been a year when baking– and consuming baked items– made more sense?

While many of us were homebound and anxious, we whipped up breads, babkas, and cookies. We searched online grocers for flour, cleared supermarket racks of yeast, and nurtured sourdough starters like they were our own kids.

There’s never been a much better time to purchase baked products, either. One place, in particular, truly took it to the next level: Washington, D.C. Not just was the city the birth place of Bakers Against Racism– the around the world bake sale that raises money for organizations that support Black Lives Matter– it’s likewise been home to a boom in bakeries this year, both from homegrown shops and well-known transplants.
Why the sudden grow of flour? The timing definitely makes good sense, as the news has felt non-stop bad and we’ve understood for convenience in the kind of warm banana bread. According to Paola Velez, pastry chef of La Bodega and Compass Rose, baked goods provide more than simply comfort.

” People feel linked– they find a connection with what we do,” she says. “It’s a lot more than just a bakery for them. This is a taste of home when they can’t really travel.”
Whether it’s a yearning for home or for a carb-filled balm, read on for a few of the brightest brand-new bakeshop additions to the capital city.

La Bodega
Pastry chef Paola Velez began the year at Kith + Kin, making her signature plantain sticky buns and thick chocolate chip cookies. When the pandemic prompted a shutdown and the personnel was furloughed, she began a new gig, but not before establishing Bakers Against Racism with Willa Pelini and Rob Rubba, which has so far raised over $2 million for social justice triggers. Now, Velez is at the helm of La Bodega, a bakery inside Rose Previte’s Compass Rose. She draws from her background and childhood growing up in the Dominican Republic and New York City, making a brand-new breed of baked products she calls New Americana.
” It’s the American story retold by first-generation and second-generation Americans,” she says. That location has babka– a nod to Velez’s Jewish neighborhood in the Bronx, however it’s made with guava and cheese or dulce de leche.

Drink director Jess Weinstein is making cocktails that complement Velez’s baked goods and inform her own story. “Those stories melt together because that is what America is,” says Velez.
Sharbat
The city’s very first Azerbaijan pastry shop opened over the summer season in Adams Morgan, introducing numerous Washingtonians to deals with like pakhlava (comparable to baklava), or shekerbura, the ground hazelnut-filled pastry so elaborately detailed it looks crocheted. Owner Ilhama Safarova, who immigrated to D.C about two years ago from the South Caucasian country, says they’ve had a warm reception because opening 5 months back. “A great deal of people have actually told us that they had the best pakhlava ever from our bakeshop,” she states.
Rose Ave Bakery Passionfruit Donut
While pakhlava, shekerbura, and goghal (round puffed pastry filled with spices and nuts) might just be readily available at Sharbat, Safarova says her delicately layered honey cake is her finest seller. The bakery likewise offers a variety of cakes, plus mouthwatering alternatives like pastries filled with feta, chicken, and veggies, and gurza, meat-filled Azerbaijani dumplings.

Rose Ave Bakery
Rose Nguyen opened her buzzy Asian-American bakeshop inside the Block food hall just a couple of days before the pandemic required many of the city’s businesses to shutter. Now, she’s stunning DC with stunning developments like her matcha swiss rolls, passion fruit donuts made with sweet potato brioche and dusted with raspberry sugar, and ube brioche rolls with ube butter.
” Although we are not a traditional Asian bakeshop, individuals tell me every week how grateful they are that we exist in D.C. which we make the Asian community so proud,” says Nguyen.

Call Your Mother.
“My daddy would make a fire and my mother would make facturas (Argentinian pastries) and pan casero (traditional bread made with lard and chicharrones). My mom constantly made whatever a little special and with a twist– never the standard method.”.

The growing regional chain has opened its newest shop in Georgetown over the summertime and Moreira is still bringing her own twist by introducing brand-new tastes to classic deals with, like her black-and-white alfajores, babka muffins, and horchata Rice Krispie treats.

Yellow.
” Yellow is the color of happiness and optimism, and even more so in our case: maybe a ray of hope,” says Gregory Baumgartner, pastry chef at Albi and Yellow. Chef and owner Michael Rafidi opened the coffee shop and pastry shop inside his Middle Eastern-inspired Navy Yard dining establishment in May, simply a few months after the pandemic took hold. Since then, Baumgartner has actually been whipping up a ray of hope in the form of za’atar crusted croissants stuffed with labne, sweet orange blossom-glazed croissants, and smoked cinnamon date molasses kouign amann.
Levain.
Famous for its substantial, gooey-centered cookies, the 25-year-old Manhattan bakeshop opened its very first outpost beyond New York in Georgetown this September. In addition to the classic lineup of tastes like chocolate chip walnut and dark chocolate chip peanut butter, the bakery made its D.C. debut by coordinating with Velez, who produced a Cafe Con Leche cookie. Inspired by her granny in the Dominican Republic, sales from the cinnamon chocolate cookie with espresso, Valrhona Dulcey, and cashews went to a local youth non-profit organization.

Mah Ze Dahr.
It was a huge year for renowned New York City pastry shops broadening to America’s capital, as Umber Ahmad’s West Village bakeshop carries its beloved roster of buttery deals with south. Located a stone’s throw from Nationals Park in the Navy Yard, the bakeshop is specifically cherished for its Madagascar vanilla-infused brioche donuts and a cheesecake considered the best in the Big Apple. Called for the Urdu word that describes the essence that makes something unique, Mah Ze Dahr has made devoted devotees with treats like apricot-glazed croissant monkey bread, cream cheese-iced Cinnamon rolls, and savory baked items.

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