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Bakeshop in Clarendon (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington-based Bakeshop is opening up a third location just across the Key Bridge in Georgetown.

It was more than a decade ago, in the middle of Snowmageddon, when the bakery first started satisfying Arlington’s sweet tooth at 1025 N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon. Since then, Bakeshop has expanded to Falls Church, weathered a pandemic, and, now, is once again growing.

Bakeshop is moving into 3210 Grace Street NW in D.C., just about a mile walk from Gateway Park in Rosslyn and only two and a half miles from their original Clarendon shop.

“Georgetown is a charming little slice of DC, it’s both historic, extremely active and has a good bakery scene,” owner Justin Stegall wrote in an email to ARLnow. “It’s going to be great opening up next to South Block — we’ve been neighbors for over 10 years in Arlington and it’s great to be neighbors in DC.”

The plan is to open by the end of the month (October) “as long as inspections etc. are done,” he notes.

The menu will be similar to that of the other locations, offering vegan treats, Vietnamese coffee, and ice cream “cookiewiches.”

In January 2020, Stegall told ARLnow that he had “no immediate plans to open more” shops but would “do it again if the moment feels right.”

Nearly two years later, the moment felt right despite being in the midst of challenging times.

“The last 18 months has been extremely challenging and has felt more like 5 years. The overall uncertainty about what tomorrow will be like and constantly trying to look out for ourselves and our customers,” Stegall writes. “My team has been brave and very professional throughout this whole ordeal and I’m really proud of them.

Stegall also says the shop is fortunate because it’s “in a business that suits take-out ordering and delivery.”

But there’s certainly something about in-person connections.

“We’ve really missed having our community in the shops for their morning routine of newspaper, pastry and coffee, parents bringing their kids in for a treat, and people just convening in general,” he writes. “That aspect of community has always been a big part of us and it has been sorely missed.”

Over the years, the Bakeshop has gotten attention beyond their treats and expansion. In 2012, the shop was featured on the Cooking Channel and, in 2016, there was a viral Facebook post from Stegall’s mom where she showed her love for her son.

When asked if the shop could expand even more so in the future, Stegall said that’s the plan, if all goes well.

“I hope we will expand further because it is very exciting and rewarding to join a new neighborhood and become part of that community,” he said.

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(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Tatte Bakery in Clarendon is finally set to open.

The growing Boston-based chain’s Arlington location will open tomorrow (Wednesday), according to a sign in the window. It was first announced earlier this year and was originally expected to open in July.

The cafe is located at 2805 Clarendon Blvd, around where the Baja Fresh used to be before it closed in late 2018, ahead of extensive renovations to the building.

Tatte now has more than 20 locations, with a majority in the Boston-area. However, over the last year, the bakery has expanded to the D.C. area, including two relatively new locations in D.C. and one in Bethesda, Maryland which just opened in March.

The Clarendon spot is focused on breakfast, brunch, and lunch, with hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will have the same menu as the other D.C.-areas locations, except no dinner. The menu includes sandwiches, tartines, shakshuka, salads, bowls, and coffee.

The interior of the restaurant features a modern aesthetic and tiled counters.

The bakery is housed within The Crossing Clarendon, the multi-block, mixed-use development and retail center formerly known Market Common Clarendon.

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(Updated 10:35 a.m.) Tacombi, a New York City-based taqueria chain, is expected to open in Crystal City in a couple of months.

The new spot will be located in the revamped Central District Retail shopping plaza, also known as “Crystal Square.” This recently redone property at 1550 Crystal Drive, owned by JBG Smith, has attracted a number of other retail options that have opened already or are set to open over the course of the year.

A CVS opened in February and hit NYC bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr opened in mid-June. Another location of the boutique gym, Solidcore, is set to open in August, according to a spokeswoman.

A spokesperson for Tacombi said Thursday that it expects to open its 3,000 square-foot space in Crystal City in September.

“All of our taquerias are bright, open and airy spaces where guests can enjoy warm hospitality and a menu with selections from different regions throughout Mexico,” she said. “We look forward to bringing a little piece of this incredible country to our new friends in Arlington, and to swinging open our taqueria doors this fall.”

Tacombi got its start on the beaches of Yucatan, Mexico. The owner sold tacos from a Volkswagen Bus and eventually opened his first taqueria in the mid-2000s in New York City. Nine other locations have since opened in NYC.

These openings are happening amid a handful of other openings in Miami and Queens, the spokeswoman said. The taqueria will cement its presence in the D.C. area with a Bethesda location also set to open in September.

“We were drawn to Crystal City’s evolving identity and to its own journey from a largely-industrial zone in the sixties to today’s quickly developing community,” she said. “And while National Landing is part of a cosmopolitan world capital, it also maintains the neighborhood quality that best allows us to share authentic Mexican culture.”

The taqueria made headlines this year for its work during the pandemic feeding thousands of food-insecure New Yorkers.

Also coming to Central District Retail will be a thus-far unnamed grocery store, rumored to be a possible Amazon Fresh location. The store will be built in the existing office building at 1550 Crystal Drive, according to Arlington County.

“JBG SMITH declines to comment,” a spokesperson for the property owner said when asked about it yesterday.

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(Updated at 10:25 a.m. on 6/18/21) Brioche Cinnamon Rolls and Dark Chocolate Explosion Cookies are coming to Crystal City this weekend with the arrival of a brand new Mah-Ze-Dahr location.

The popular New York-based bakery founded in 2013 takes its name from an Urdu expression meaning a taste you can’t quite describe but want to experience again and again — it is a representation of what the restaurant hopes to offer with its sweet treats.

This time the bakery isn’t limiting itself to pastries. The Crystal City location, which opens Saturday at 1550 Crystal Drive, will be the company’s biggest shop to date — bigger than others in New York City and D.C.’s Navy Yard. It will also have the broadest menu.

The company is expanding into breakfast and lunch foods adding salmon and cream cheese-filled croissants and sandwich flights exclusively to the Arlington menu.

“We always think its fun to have things you can only have in one place,” said Mah-Ze-Dahr founder Umber Ahmad. “It helps the community feel wanted and special in that way.”

Customers will be able to sit inside or outside the 2,600 square foot bakery, which has exterior seating for 36 and interior seating for 55.

This Mah-Ze-Dahr will also have an extra large kitchen to serve not only its local customers but to also provide pastries to other D.C. area retailers.

Ahmad says the bakery will soon announce its partnerships with several local D.C. coffee chains and hotels. In the meantime, it will be doling out delectable goods from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.

Mah-Ze-Dahr will be next to the new CVS store in the emerging Central District Retail center. The shopping and dining strip will also one day include NYC-based taco restaurant Tacombi, fitness studio Solidcore and, nearby, an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

For first time customers trying out Mah-Ze-Dahr this weekend, Ahmad recommends the croissants.

“I humbly think they are the best outside of France,” she said.

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(Updated at 9:35 p.m.) A new CVS Pharmacy is open at the revamped Central District Retail shopping plaza, also known as “Crystal Square,” in Crystal City.

The store opened on Sunday, Feb. 28, a JBG Smith spokesperson confirmed. It is part of a major redevelopment that the property owner has planned for a block of Crystal Drive between 15th and 18th streets.

In 2018, the County Board approved the project, which JBG says will blend retail, public spaces and transit services.

Signage appears to now be up for two more occupants: Mah-Ze-Dahr, a bakery said to have some of New York City’s best doughnuts, as well as a yet-unnamed specialty grocery store. The first D.C. outpost of the NYC bakery opened in Navy Yard in the fall.

JBG once more declined to comment on which grocer will be filling the space. Permits indicate that the store will offer prepared foods like packaged salads, sandwiches, entrees and soups, as well as various beverages. The permits further specify that the store will have “self app check-out.”

A spokesperson previously confirmed that the specialty grocer will sell produce, meats and poultry, frozen foods and baked goods. Taken as a whole, the concept sounds similar to that of Amazon Fresh stores, a new bricks-and-mortar retail offering of the tech giant, which is currently constructing its HQ2 up the street.

The store will be built in the existing office building at 1550 Crystal Drive, according to the county. The new one-story retail area will replace a 1990s-era strip and will link the grocery store to a planned Alamo Drafthouse movie theater at 1750 Crystal Drive.

The theater chain recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but a company spokesman tells ARLnow the planned Crystal City location is owned by a franchisee “which has not filed for bankruptcy.”

“There are no changes to its development plans at 1750 Crystal Drive,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, outposts of New York City taco chain Tacombi and the boutique fitness gym Solidcore — which has existing locations in Courthouse and Ballston — are still on track to open in the area.

A spokeswoman for Solidcore confirmed that the gym is slated to open this summer.

“Central District Retail will enhance the street-level experience with new dining, shopping and entertainment options on Crystal Drive,” Amy Rice, senior vice president of Retail Leasing at JBG Smith, previously told ARLnow in a statement. “It will serve as the retail heart of National Landing and a vibrant destination for people throughout the region.”

Photo (2) courtesy Car-Free#HQ2/Twitter

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Boston-based Tatte Bakery and Cafe is coming to fill a Baja Fresh-sized hole in Clarendon at 2805 Clarendon Blvd.

The company recently filed for a permit to build a new bakery within the existing building, adding new interior partitions and finishes throughout the facility.

Tatte Bakery and Cafe is a small bakery franchise with around 18 locations, mostly around Boston. The cafe offers pastries and desserts along with brunch and some dinner offerings, like maple chicken and potatoes.

Staff at Tatte Bakery’s lone D.C. location, at 1200 New Hampshire Avenue NW in the West End, said the Arlington location will open in July if all goes well with permitting and renovations. The Arlington location will have the same menu as the D.C. location.

The bakery will be on the southeast corner of the block being redeveloped as Market Common Clarendon Phase 2.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt. Photo via Google Maps.

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When Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse delivered food to the security personnel in the District on Monday, it took two-and-a-half hours and many phone calls — even to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser — to pass each checkpoint. 

“When I arrived the Commander of that unit and the policeman literally cheered, [saying] ‘Bayou Bakery is here,'” Guas tells ARLnow.

Bayou Bakery and Arlington-founded District Taco are helping nourish the 25,000 servicemen and women, along with law enforcement, deployed to protect the nation’s capital during the 59th Inauguration.

The homegrown Mexican chain donated 2,000 burritos to the National Guard on Monday. The day before, Guas said he and his crew worked into the night to prepare biscuits and sandwich lunches for the Monday delivery.

The two join about 30 D.C.-area restaurants distributing meals to the multitudes, hailing from Maine to Guam. The heightened security is in response to the mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.  

District Taco donated burritos that were pledged during a “Buy One, Give One Burrito” campaign in December.

On Monday, CEO and co-founder Osiris Hoil cashed in all 2,000 BOGO burritos to feed the National Guard. He said they were so popular that supplies ran out long before the lunch hours ended.

“When I saw the brave servicemen and women protecting the Capitol building, I knew exactly where I wanted those pledged burritos to go,” Hoil said in a press release. 

District Taco also donated hundreds of burritos to essential workers in hospitals and food banks last October and November. Hoil said he is proud to continue this longstanding tradition of giving back.

“Thanks to the support of our community, our restaurants are still open,” Hoil said. 

Guas also uses his food for good. He co-founded Chefs Feeding Families during the pandemic and has cooked for the annual awards dinner put on by Blue Star Families.

“Not having served in the military myself — but having grandparents that did — I’ve always jumped at the opportunity to help our men and women in uniform who protect our freedom,” he said.

Guas credits his involvement to Micheline Mendelsohn Luhn and Spike Mendelsohn, his friends and two of the family members behind We, The Pizza. The duo told ABC News that D.C. restaurants — despite struggles during the pandemic — are pitching in to provide fresh food to upwards of 5,000 people, who might otherwise have to rely on pre-packaged military meals, each day.

Photos (1) via District Taco, (2-3) via Bayou Bakery

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An unnamed specialty grocery store and Mah-Ze-Dahr, a bakery said to have some of New York City’s best doughnuts, are two of the businesses coming to Crystal City as part of a major redevelopment.

JBG Smith is giving a block of Crystal Drive between 15th and 18th streets — also known as “Crystal Square” — a facelift and a new name: Central District Retail. The redevelopment, approved by the County Board in 2018, will blend retail, public spaces and transit services, according to the developer’s website.

“Central District Retail will enhance the street-level experience with new dining, shopping and entertainment options on Crystal Drive,” Amy Rice, senior vice president of Retail Leasing at JBG Smith, said in a statement. “It will serve as the retail heart of National Landing and a vibrant destination for people throughout the region.”

The specialty grocery store in Central District Retail will have produce, meats and poultry, frozen foods, baked goods and prepared foods, Justina Lombardo, a PR rep for JBG Smith, said. At 15,000 square feet, it’s more the size of a Trader Joe’s than a full-service Giant, for instance.

Through Lombardo, JBG declined comment on which grocer will be filling the space.

The store will be built in the existing office building at 1550 Crystal Drive, according to the county. The new one-story retail area will replace a 1990s-era strip and link the grocery store to a planned Alamo Drafthouse movie theater at 1750 Crystal Drive.

According to permits filed with Arlington County, Central District Retail is also getting the second Washington, D.C.-area location of Mah-ze-Dahr. The popular New York City bakery serves brioche-style doughnuts and other baked goods endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Founder Umber Ahmad, a former Goldman Sachs executive, opened the first D.C. location in Navy Yard this September.

Permits also indicate that Crystal City will get a CVS, what appears to be an outpost of New York City taco chain Tacombi, and the boutique fitness gym Solidcore, which has locations in Clarendon and Buckingham.

There will also be a retail shop that will sell packaged salads, sandwiches and soups.

It’s unclear when the new shops and restaurants might open.

“The first phase of Central District Retail has been delivered to tenants for build-out,” Lombardo said. “JBG Smith typically defers to tenants on their individual timelines.”

The overall goal is to continue turning Crystal City into a neighborhood that’s more than just a 9-5 destination for office workers.

“The project’s purpose is to turn the area into a vibrant gathering spot — complete with approachable and comfortable retail, an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, dynamic public spaces, and a new entrance and public plaza for the Crystal City Metro station,” says JBG Smith’s project information website. “Central District will create a sense of community and bring a true neighborhood feel to Crystal City.”

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Eclairons, a new French pastry shop, opened in the former Bean Good space in Rosslyn earlier this month.

The restaurant, at 1737 Wilson Blvd in the Colonial Village Shopping Center, serves coffee and baked goods. Signs posted earlier this year, near the start of the pandemic, said it would also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A new sign above the front door says the business is now hiring.

Eclairons does not yet have a functioning website, but the business has started to post on social media.

“At Eclairons you can enjoy a fine selection of desserts, pastries, and coffee rarely found at other pastry shops,” says the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Eclairons is managed by Maurice Pastries — serving the D.C. area with the finest pastries for over 35 years.”

More via social media:

This just in – Pumpkin is here! Enjoy a specialty pumpkin milkshake, pumpkin latte, or pumpkin chai latte as part of our seasonal menu :)See you soon!

Posted by Eclairons on Thursday, September 10, 2020

https://www.facebook.com/eclairons/posts/158295835915078

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Cinthia’s Bakery II has closed shop in Arlington amid road construction and the pandemic, but will continue to serve local customers at its original Bailey’s Crossroads location.

The restaurant announced the closure of its second location (5037 Columbia Pike) on its Facebook page this week. A sign in the window says it closed on Aug. 31.

“Cinthia’s 1 will open normally 7 days a week at 5860 Columbia Pike, Falls Church,” the sign adds. The driving distance between the two locations is just six minutes.

In addition to the pandemic hurting local restaurants, there has been ongoing construction and detours along Columbia Pike, in front of Cinthia’s Bakery II.

In January, a bakery employee told WJLA that the business saw “a significant drop off in the number of customers and an increase in empty tables due to construction.”

Staff photos by Jay Westcott. Hat tip to @bgannon97.

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Courthouse’s Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar and Eatery has reopened after its storefront was remodeled with COVID-19 precautions in mind.

During the restaurant’s nearly five month closure, its kitchen was remodeled to allow for physical distancing between employees and to minimize the amount of germs in the air. With the changes in place, Bayou opened its doors on Monday for takeout and patio dining.

Shelves now hang 10 feet above the floors, a new ventilation system whirs between the walls and an industrial fan maintains air flow throughout the space. A touch-free faucet was also added to the store’s bathroom, and a hands-free mechanism was installed to open its door.

The restaurant’s landlord provided funding in recent lease negotiations to make the remodel possible. Owner and chef David Guas said these changes were a must for Bayou Bakery to operate amid the pandemic.

“I feel it would have been negligent to not have put these measures into place before reopening our doors,” Guas said. “These newly adopted practices are going to be necessary moving forward — our industry now carries a very important responsibility when it comes to safety.”

Bayou Bakery originally closed its in-person dining on March 16, following a statewide order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. According to Guas, sales dropped by 70% between March 16-31 and the restaurant cut its 2o person staff to 10.

While Bayou Bakery still offered takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery during this time, Guas said staying open became unsustainable. On April 1, the restaurant fully closed.

Despite not serving customers, Guas used his facilities to support Chefs Feeding Families. He co-founded the project, which provides free grab-and-go meals to local school children and their families impacted by the pandemic, with McLean-based group Real Food for Kids in March as schools began to close.

“Key Elementary Schools is near my restaurant — there were about 300 kids on the meal plan when the school shut down,” Guas said. “I looked at my employees in the kitchen and thought of their children who went to that school. I asked myself how would they and so many others be fed? How many more would be affected?”

Guas said the project allowed him to keep four employees working, and Bayou Bakery has served about 400-500 meals a day to families impacted by school closures and job losses.

Since March 17, six other restaurants including Silver Diner, Rasa Grill and Pizzeria Paradiso have joined the effort. According to Bayou Bakery, Chefs Feeding Families has served over 90,000 meals at its 21 D.C. region pickup locations as of August 25.

All meals are vegetarian and no ID or proof of need is required to pick one up.

“It was important to us that we were presenting healthy and inclusive options that would appeal to as many people as possible,” Guas said. “I have faith in people and those who came out of their way to get a meal, so the honor system is the way we approached [giving out meals]. By not requiring ID, it opened the doors for us to reach so many more families in need.”

Now, while continuing to support Chefs Feeding Families, Bayou Bakery is open for “Grab N’ Geaux” takeout, delivery and socially distant dining on its patio. Meals like buttermilk biscuit sandwiches and chicken and smoked gumbo are available on an abbreviated menu.

Photos courtesy Bayou Bakery

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