The concept behind Fresh Baguette is self-evident from its name.
Serving freshly baked, artisanal bread and pastries, the Bethesda-based bakery is on the rise in the D.C. area, with its newest store expected to open in McLean early this fall.
If the store passes its final inspection by the Fairfax County Health Department this week, it will be on track for a grand opening at 6707 Old Dominion Drive around Labor Day, according to Fresh Baguette founder and owner Florent de Felcourt.
“We will have racks with fresh products coming out of the oven, and we serve them from the rack directly with the freshest products that we can provide, so it’s really a concept of freshness,” de Felcourt told FFXnow.
A native of France and former naval officer who had worked at the French Embassy in D.C., de Felcourt launched Fresh Baguette in October 2013 to fill what he saw as a deficit in good bakeries in the area.
The business now has five locations, including the McLean one, its second in Northern Virginia after opening an Alexandria bakery on March 1. With a recently leased, 30,000-square-foot space in Germantown expected to significantly increase production, de Felcourt hopes to eventually have 20 or more sites across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
He saw McLean as a fitting location for its origins as a stop on the Great Falls & Old Dominion Railroad that connected Great Falls to D.C. in the early 20th century.
“A bakery is great for connecting people,” he said. “…People come here, and they find a different environment, different universe, different products they don’t find anywhere else. They talk together. So, yeah, it’s a way for them to connect differently.”
Under construction for roughly nine months, the bakery will have 14 to 16 seats for people who want to eat and drink on site, but customers typically get their orders to go, de Felcourt says, attributing the company’s success during the pandemic in part to that approach.
In addition to baguette and loaf breads, which is all made daily with entirely organic ingredients, Fresh Baguette serves croissants, sandwiches, quiche, and various sweets and pastries. The menu will have some seasonal items, such as a yule log cake offered around Christmas each year.
Even with his ambitious expansion plans, de Felcourt has no intentions of turning to franchising or altering his emphasis on making each product fresh, including those sold to company’s 180 wholesale customers.
“The products are very specific,” he said. “They are inspired by French bakeries, but they are very specific, and we want everyone to put all his heart in our products, in displaying the products, in respecting the products, and we want our customers to feel like they want to eat these products just by looking at them.”
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