Bakers & Baristas Opens Wednesday
Bakers & Baristas, a new a Viennese-inspired patisserie from Aaron Gordon’s Gordon Restaurant Group, will open Wednesday at 501 7th St. NW in Penn Quarter. It is opening in the former Tangysweet frozen yogurt shop that was also owned by Gordon across from the Penn Quarter Starbucks. Gordon also owns Red Velvet Cupcakery next door, and Drafting Table and Red Light on the 14th Street corridor.
“During my recent travels to Europe, I was inspired by the coffeehouses of Vienna,” Gordon said. “I wanted to open a concept in nation’s capital where Washingtonians and tourists alike could linger over exceptional coffee and delicate Danish pastries.”
Blue Duck Tavern pastry chef Naomi Gallego created the desserts. Lindsay Meehan, who is the executive pastry chef at Red Velvet, will oversee the daily kitchen operations.
Bakers & Baristas takes full day to make its danishes. It takes seven hours rolling, proofing and chilling the paper-thin puff pastry dough by hand, said Brian Scott, Gordon Restaurant Group’s director of operation. It will be made twice a day. Bakers will arrive at 10 p.m. each night to make the next morning’s pastries. Beyond danishes, they will also make brioche pastries, Parker House rolls, Viennese cookies and macaroons.
Scott said only high quality ingredients including European butter, Madagascar vanilla, Valrhona chocolate, locally raised eggs, milk from Lancaster, Pa., and freshly-made whipped cream.
“You can really taste the difference between something that is shipped frozen and baked on premises and something that is made fresh,” Scott said.
Mornings will bring brews and espresso from local roaster Compass Coffee, which is just nine blocks away, along with tea, chai and hot chocolate. There will also be a mix of sweet and cheese danishes, plain, vegetable, ham and cheese and chocolate croissants, spandauers with apple filling, blueberry envelopes, strawberry custard pinwheels, zucker brötchen (sugar buns), citrus streusel buns with orange blossom cream cheese and butterkuchen with custard and toasted almonds.
The shop will be serving two Viennese classic coffees: melanges made with half coffee and half steamed milk topped with whipped cream, and einspänners, a double shot of espresso with a dollop of whipped cream.
In about two weeks, Scott said, lunch will include savory turnovers and pressed sandwiches made with the Parker House rolls including prosciutto and gruyere, turkey and brie, and fresh roasted vegetables. In the evenings, guests can enjoy Viennese style desserts such as cheesecake, sacher tortes made with chocolate-mousse crumble cake and raspberry filling covered in dark chocolate, fruit custard tarts and large macaroons.
Pastries range from $2.50-$6, cookies from $8-$8.50, and sandwiches from $6-$7.50. Drip coffee range from $1.65-$2.50; espresso drinks from $2-$4.50; and tea, chai and hot chocolate from $1.95-$4.
The KUBE Architecture firm designed the 32-seat orange and gray interior will accents of wood. There is both café style seating and amphitheater seating, similar to the steps of the National Portrait Gallery across the street. Guests can watch the bakers through an open view into the pastry kitchen the shop shares with Red Velvet behind the large glass display case.
Bakers & Baristas will be open from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. weekdays beginning Wednesday and 9 a.m.-11 p.m. on weekends.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.