LeoNora Bakery Now Open in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com December 13, 2011 at 4:12 pm 8,774 41 Comments

LeoNora Gourmet Bakery (1108 N. Irving Street) is now open in Clarendon. The small bake shop quietly held a soft opening on Saturday and has been serving customers ever since.

It’s the first brick-and-mortar storefront for LeoNora and its Colombian-born, French-trained owner, Carolina Garcia. Garcia started LeoNora as a baked good delivery service out of her home. She started renting out the kitchen of a local restaurant after the business grew too big for her home — and now she has a place to call her own after outgrowing the shared kitchen.

With the shop open, Garcia says she’s now going to focus on growing in-store sales — though she’s still offering delivery service for baked good orders over $50.

All baking is taking space at LeoNora’s new location, in a room adjacent to Garcia’s small retail space. In addition to artisan baked goods, LeoNora is offering patrons fresh-brewed Colombian coffee.

Though Clarendon is an expensive place to run a business, Garcia says the store’s slightly off-the-beaten-path location is helping her to keep costs down.

LeoNora will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. It will be closed to customers on Monday.

  • bread

    Do they make freshly baked breads or just cupcakes and the sort?

    • a

      Read the menu picture. There are no cupcakes. Bread, tartines, quiche, croissants etc.

      • BurgerPizzaFroYo for you

        NO CUPCAKES???!!!

        I give it six months.

      • bread

        Sweet. Pun intended.

    • Ben

      Ha – was just going to tell arlnow that the bakery is open.

      Anyways they do have bread – just picked up a loaf campagne and it is nothing short of amazing.

  • V Dizzle


  • hoooos

    Better question: is Sam’s Corner a drug front, or what? What the hell is going on in that storefront?

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      Arlnow said they tried to do a story on Sam’s Corner and the owner ran them out.

      • Clarendon

        Sam’s had a note on the door saying closed for the Holidays. So, someone was in there at some point.

        LeoNora is a welcome addition !

    • Ben

      They are just older and don’t want to bother running the place on a regular basis. I think it’s been around for a long time – most of their income comes from rent as they own the entire block (O’sullivans etc).

      I know they are in litigation with the contractors that was supposed to build the space behind them (I think they went bankrupt or something) – part of the reason it’s not developed.

    • MC

      I wonder about the weird place next to Sam’s selling strange oils and paraphernalia. I never see any customers in there, or understand how they make a business of it. Arlington seems full of shell businesses, including used car lots with only a couple of beat up cars on them.

      • ClarendonBlvd

        True! What is up with that car lot across from Minhs? Or the massive empty lots by Whole Foods?

        • CW

          Exactly. This is one of the things that has bothered/intrigued me about the Arlington (let’s just say orange line corridor to keep it simple) real estate market ever since I moved here. On one hand, condos start at $500k and SFHs start at $1M. Businesses fight to get in the door; places spend tons of money to make everything look as fancy as possible. Yet probably 1/4 of the property in the area is filled with wasted space or junk businesses. Examples include: entire block of Sam’s Corner, Public Shoes, empty lot by whole foods and tiny used car dealership next to it, Japanese Auto Service in VA Square, former Taco Bell site, auto repair place behind headstone carver, and many, many more examples. It’s just weird because prices here are as high as in SF, Chicago, etc. but unlike those cities, there is still a TON of space here that has not been urbanized. You would think the market would drive this to change.

          • Ben

            A lot of stuff in this city is tied up in litigation after the housing crash.

          • Clarendon

            IMO, the biggest impediment to development of urban areas is the parking requirements and the land ownership. When a large block is owned in lots by multiple people (which is the tranditional and I would say healthy ownership pattern in urban areas), an individual lot cannot be practically redeveloped due to the need to provide parking. Instead, you have to have the stars align and most or all of the land owners sell to a single developer which then allows an efficient underground garage to be dug out.

          • CW

            That is very true. But it still blows my mind that some of these places hold on. The assumption is that they own their land, as opposed to paying astronomical rents for businesses that are not profitable. I just can’t imagine what is possessing, say, the small car dealer on the corner of the empty lot next to WF, to hold on.

      • Clarendon

        I bought some incense at that place next to Sam’s. Given the small size of that space, it isn’t such a bad use. Sam’s has such a prominent location (which is why everyone knows “Sam’s Corner”) that it could really dominate if it had a real sandwich shop.

        How about replacing Sam’s with a Parisian-style baguette sandwich shop with fresh baguettes from LeoNora?


    • Plus8

      You must be a new Arlington resident. Sam’s has been at that location more than 20 years selling the best sandwiches in Arlington. Not fancy just good food. I will try LeoNoras soon. About time we had a good bakery in Clarendon to buy bread.

      • CW

        Everyone says this about Sam’s, and then when pressed regarding a time when Sam’s might actually be open, they fade back into the woodwork.

      • Plus8,

        Are you joking? Sam’s is never open and have never made a single sandwich. Are you one of the criminals associated with this place?

        • Ben

          They are open M-F for lunch only.

    • We have lived in the area a long time and have often suspected Sam’s Corner is a front just like the fake kitchen repair shop across from Whole Foods which finally closed down. We have honestly never seen the shop open in the 21 years we have lived here. If this is not gangster activity, I don’t know what is.

  • AllenB

    Looks like a great place; I’ll have to try it soon.

    Good luck to them!

  • Minicar

    Arrowine has been carrying this bread for a while now and it is EXCELLENT!!!! I feel like I am in France.

  • Jon

    Wondering when this was opening; will definitely try it this evening.

  • bread

    Yeah I’ll be trying it soon as well. I wish them good luck.

  • bread

    Wait, a $30 Quiche!? That thing better be awesome.

    • Cheep

      Goes with your nine dollar burger and twelve dollar cheesesteak.

  • E

    She blew us off three times for meetings. We are her freaking vendor. She doesn’t seem capable to run a business, she is not business savy to say the least. Two years tops. I work with many business owners, she is the most behind the ball on understanding

    • AllenB

      Bitter, Party of One… your table is ready.

      • E

        I’ll have the haterade with some ravioli

    • DCCHughes

      I would think as her vendor you would want the place to do well, not trash it in public. So I guess we have two options… 1) You aren’t all that on the ball as a businessperson yourself OR 2) You’re someone with a personal vendetta. Either way, I’m certainly not going to treat your post as credible.

  • HarryB

    I went over tonight around 6 after reading this to grab a baguette. She was out of bread which was too bad for me, but I’m happy to hear that she’s selling out of her stock. Anyway, I grabbed a couple of croissants and a pain au chocolate, which look delicious. She said that since they’ve only been open for a few days they’re still figuring out the right amount of stuff to bake for the demand they have. I’ll definitely be back to try some of her breads, Whole Foods’ breads are great, but I’d love to be able to support a small local baker.

  • Westover Leftover

    Don’t run into the sidewalk sign!

  • charles

    Didn’t Poe write about someone named LeoNora?

    • Scott

      Not quite, he wrote about Lenore, in the Raven. On a brighter note, this bakery sounds delicious, can’t wait to try it! Will the chocolate croissant hold up to those in france?

  • TJLinBallston

    I have been buying this fine, handcrafted bread at Arrowine for a long time. So glad to reach over the counter and buy the best bread around from the baker who baked it! This little joint is a treasure.

  • Shannon

    I went this morning with some coworkers and we can already tell we’ll be regulars. The coffee is delicious! We also bought a baguette w/bacon & cheese to share…it was unbelievable. So happy they are up and running, Clarendon needed a place like this!

    • Clarendon

      I picked up a Rum-soaked fruit bread this morning and we are eating it now at work. Very tasty.

  • Tom Smart

    Being from Colombia, I wish she would sell those huge Colombian Talmales.

  • BlueSkies

    After reading this post, I stopped in today and picked up some freshly baked madeleines dipped in chocolate. Yum! Thanks for sharing this, ArlNow.


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