Changes are underway at 2941 Restaurant. First we learned that both the interior and the concept are getting a makeover in January 2012, morphing from a stately French-American dining room to a more casual Mediterranean-inspired eatery. Now award-winning pastry chef Anthony Chavez says he’ll be out of the kitchen as of January 1, and is seeking a brick-and-mortar space for Layered Cake Patisserie, a baking company he started with wife, Barbara, this past summer.
“It’s a good feeling working in a restaurant,” says Chavez. “But it’s a great feeling to be standing behind a display and everything in there has your own name on it.”
Chavez emphasizes that his new project has nothing to do with the redesign. Even after landing a space—the couple is looking in Leesburg, Ashburn, and other spots in Loudoun County near their home—he will be active in 2941’s catering and banquet side, creating cakes for weddings and other celebrations. Special occasion cakes are a large part of his vision for the patisserie, as well, in addition to a lineup of French-influenced pastries like macarons, éclairs, Viennoiserie, and cookies. His wife, a veteran of the management program at Starbucks, will be handling specialty coffee and espresso drinks. Further in the future, sandwiches and savory croissants may join the menu.
Taking over Chavez’s position at 2941 is sous chef Caitlin Dysart, who started her career in New Orleans before moving to Chicago and attended the same pastry school where Chavez took classes post–Culinary Institute of America. The pastry menu will change along with the concept, but both Dysart and 2941’s executive chef, Bertrand Chemel, say that desserts will remain well-executed and whimsical, though not too heavy or sweet. Ideas include a pine-nut-and-chocolate tart, a caramel éclair with roasted pineapple and rosemary cream, and a riff on Dysart’s favorite cocktail, the Dark and Stormy, with Jamaican rum cake and lime sorbet.
Both the new 2941 and Layered Cake Patisserie shop are months away—the former is aiming for a mid-January debut, while Chavez says it’ll be nine months or more before his store opens. Those anxious to try the Chavez’s line of sweets can drop by the Leesburg farmers’ market on Saturday mornings in the meantime, or preorder items through the Web site. Look for sweets like salted-caramel-and-vanilla cupcakes, chocolate-bourbon pecan pies, cookies, macarons, and Yule logs for the holidays.