The lines are usually long at this downtown bread bakery and sandwich shop.

From June 2006 Cheap Eats

Marvelous Market and Breadline founder Mark Furstenburg is credited with bringing excellent bread to Washington–you'll find the latest examples in the baskets behind the register here and on the tables at restaurants like Citronelle and Maestro. Though Furstenburg sold his stake in Marvelous Market years ago and in Breadline last year, the breads and sandwiches at Breadline remain largely unchanged–and delicious.

World Bank expats, White House staffers, media hotshots, and even Mayor Williams regularly line up for small-batch fruit sodas, terrific salads, and the best workday sandwiches in the area. The lunch rush can be crowded and chaotic, but there's usually a seat to be found along the wooden counter or outside under an umbrella.

What to order? Tough call. It's hard to turn down the shavings of prosciutto piled with watercress on mascarpone-slathered walnut bread, or egg salad topped with house-made sun-dried tomatoes on olive bread, or salads like Persian chicken, tabbouleh, or lentil and feta. Daily specials are uneven: The bland Philly cheesesteak, the too-cuminy Cubano, and the grease-soaked Reuben are skippable. So, too, the underseasoned soups. But the fried oyster po' boy, BLT, and fried-soft-shell-crab sandwich are summertime treasures. The best dessert? Another sandwich: two soft, slightly salty chocolate cookies stuffed with mascarpone.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.