A promising trend is on the rise in Washington: independent neighborhood bakeries. We’re thinking of places like Georgetown’s new Dog Tag Bakery, Bread Furst in Van Ness, and Rare Sweets in CityCenterDC. Now Penn Quarter can claim its own when Bakers & Baristas soft-opens on Thursday.
Unlike many sweet spots in the city that specialize in American baked goods, Bakers angles to fill a niche for locally made, European-style pastries and desserts. Owner Aaron Gordon, who’s also behind the adjacent Red Velvet Cupcakery, tapped Blue Duck Tavern pastry chef Naomi Gallego to design the menu of Danish and Viennese treats alongside ongoing chef Lindsay Meehan. A full pastry kitchen off the 32-seat cafe turns out citrus-streusel buns with orange-blossom cream, pretzel-shaped kringles, flaky danishes, and butterkuchen, a German almond cake that tastes as rich as it sounds. In the morning, guests can opt for egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwiches on house-made bread alongside locally roasted Compass Coffee, or a mix of sweet and savory croissants. A line of simple sandwiches on house-baked bread arrive at lunch, stuffed with roasted vegetables or ham and Gruyère.
Though an all-day menu is offered, evenings are geared more to specialty Viennese desserts like the classic sachertorte—a dense chocolate cake—or fresh fruit tarts. After the soft-opening phase, Gordon plans to keep the bakeshop open until 11 daily for after-dinner sweet tooths.
Bakers & Baristas. 501 Seventh St., NW; 202-347-7893. Soft opening hours 7 to 6 daily. Full hours 7 to 11 daily.