Bakers & Baristas Brings Old World Pastries To Penn Quarter

D.C. suffers from a dearth of bakeries that prepare their own quality Old World-style pastries and desserts. But that is about to change, thanks to Bakers & Baristas' soft opening next Wednesday, January 21. Aaron Gordon's laid-back, friendly nature belies his role as the force behind successful gourmand haunts like Drafting Table and Red Light in the 14th Street Corridor. Inspired by months spent in Salzburg and Vienna, Gordon wanted to open an excellent coffeehouse that offered handmade sweet and savory Viennese pastries in a visually appealing setting. With its wrought iron and wood-trimmed exterior and a sleek interior, Gordon has combined the architectural elegance of traditional European coffeehouses with modern design and amenities.

Bakers & Baristas is located next door to Red Velvet, another of Gordon's popular dessert-focused operations, but he wanted this project to be different. As he says, "I wanted to open a concept in the nation's capital where Washingtonians and tourists alike could linger over exceptional coffee and delicate Danish pastries." Thanks to the artisan-roasted coffee beans supplied by Compass Coffee, you are free to sip fantastic Joe while people-watching or monitoring the baking process underway in the open kitchen.

Gordon views Bakers & Baristas as an all-day concept, and he is working with Naomi Gallego, executive pastry chef of Blue Duck Tavern, and chef Lindsay Meehan to develop his unique line of breads, pastries, and desserts.

Crisp, flaky croissants; eggy, yeast-risen brioche buns; cream-filled strawberry pinwheel Danishes; and traditional German butterkuchen, a brioche, butter-laden cake made with pastry cream topped with crystal sugar and toasted almonds, are the current sweet morning staples, complemented by savory croissants and Danishes filled with Virginia ham and Brie. At lunch, simple sandwiches served on fresh housemade rolls are the focus, with more elaborate Viennese desserts such as Dobos and Sacher tortes served in the evening. For Wednesday's opening, the shop's hours will be 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., which will change to 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. in a couple of weeks. With time, new and seasonal sweet and savory items will also be added to the menu.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal and the DC Wine Examiner. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva.