One of the most popular offerings at Le Diplomate isn’t technically on the menu. It’s the complimentary fresh-baked bread you get at the beginning of the meal. The buzzy French brasserie does sell a limited number of baguettes and boules, but snagging the hot commodity is not always a guarantee.
Finally, though, Starr Restaurants Group is opening a bakery specifically devoted to its signature loaves. Bread Alley, located in an alley behind sister restaurant St. Anselm near Union Market, will open Monday, September 6.
The shop will initially sell only the contents of Le Diplomate’s bread basket—crusty French baguettes, multigrain levain boules, and cranberry-walnut boules—alongside a handful of local jams. In the coming months, the offerings will expand to include more specialty breads and pastries as well as local butter, honey, salts, and La Colombe canned coffee.
The six-person team will begin baking fresh batches every morning at 3:30 AM, and the bakery will be open from 9 AM until 5 PM—or as soon as the bread sells out. (Follow @breadalleydc on Instagram for daily offerings and the sell-out status.) The tiny 100-square-foot “microshop” has no seating. Windows will give customers a glimpse of the larger production area in the back.
Starr Restaurants Group had most recently been baking all the bread for its DC restaurants out of food incubator Union Kitchen, but those operations will also move to the new location.
Director of Restaurants Eva Torres says customer demand for the bread only grew during the pandemic, which helped push the plans forward.
“It was just the right time,” she says. “That bread is one of the major draws of the restaurant. It deserved its own home.”
Bread Alley. Morse St., NE alley between Fourth and Fifth sts.