Baker Yuri Oberbillig built a following for her white miso-chocolate chip cookies and matcha kouign-amann while operating out of the storefront of an Italian restaurant during the pandemic. Now, the Japan native, along with her husband and partner Jason Oberbillig, have opened a dedicated location for their Japanese-French pastry shop, SakuSaku Flakerie, in Tenleytown.
Yuri started baking in her hometown of Kobe—famous for its beef but just as noteworthy for its bakeries—and fine-tuned her craft working there and in Vancouver, Canada. Meanwhile, Jason was teaching English in Japan when he met Yuri. After getting married in 2017, the couple moved to the DC area, where Yuri continued baking for places like (since-closed) Maison Kayser, A Baked Joint, and Best Buns Bread Company. “My dream was always to own something,” Yuri says.
In 2020, Yuri got the chance to open her own shop in the storefront for Trattoria Al Volo in Cleveland Park, which wasn’t being used during the day. While that bakeshop remains open—along with another pop-up at the National Building Museum—all of the baking now takes places in the new Tenleytown kitchen.
“I don’t think I can emphasize enough how important it is to have our own space with equipment for a bakery,” Jason says. “I don’t know how she did what she did at the restaurant with an oven not intended for large-scale pastry.”
SakuSaku serves a range of classic croissants (almond, chocolate) alongside more fusion-y flavors (za’atar-and-gruyere) and other rotating specials (like a lychee raspberry rose version recently offered in Cleveland Park). The bakery has also become known for its cookies, in flavors like matcha white chocolate chip or marbled tahini, and cream pan (stuffed Japanese milk bread) with matcha or cherry fillings.
The new pink-walled cafe also has a full coffee bar using local Lost Sock Roasters’ beans, plus an expanded menu of teas. The improved kitchen setup will eventually allow SakuSaku to expand its offerings with more breads, grab-and-go sandwiches, and new Japanese and fusion pastries. One new weekend option is hojicha (roasted green tea) pecan sticky buns, but you can spot the latest specials on Instagram.
SakuSaku Flakerie. 4200 Wisconsin Ave., NW.