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.”
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Insomnia Cookies has set up shop in Fairfax County.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the late-night bakery chain will open the doors of its new location at University Mall (10669 Braddock Road, Suite D-7) with a 13-hour grand opening event — and yes, there will be free cookies.
Throughout the grand opening, which will last from noon until 1 a.m., customers will be granted one free “classic” cookie with no purchase required. Additional free cookies and other giveaways will also be available to those who participate in a “Sink a Shot” milk pong challenge, according to a press release.
As previously reported, this is Insomnia Cookies’ first bakery in the Fairfax area, though it has six locations elsewhere in Virginia.
“We’re so excited to be joining the Fairfax community,” Insomnia Cookies Chief Marketing Officer Tom Carusona said. “This new location near George Mason will allow us to deliver warm cookies to both students on campus nearby as well as reach new Insomniacs throughout Northern Virginia.”
Headquartered in Philadelphia and New York, the business was founded in 2003 by Seth Berkowitz, who was a University of Pennsylvania student at the time and came up with the concept in his dorm room. It now has more than 220 locations across the country.
Menus vary across locations. The Fairfax bakery’s cookie line-up features “classic” flavors, including gluten-free chocolate chip, vegan birthday cake, and snickerdoodle, as well as “deluxe” flavors, such as s’mores and chocolate peanut butter cup.
The store also sells brownies, ice cream, ice cream sandwiches and cakes.
After the grand opening, operating hours will be:
- Monday to Wednesday: 11 a.m.-midnight
- Thursday and Friday: 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
- Saturday: noon-1 a.m.
- Sunday: noon-midnight
In addition to its brick-and-mortar stores, Insomnia Cookies ships cookies nationwide and offers deliveries, including late at night.
Per the press release, the Fairfax bakery will deliver to George Mason University, Fairfax City and other nearby parts of the county, including Centreville, Chantilly, Springfield, Lake Ridge, and Vienna. Delivery hours go until midnight or 1 a.m., depending on the day, according to the website.
A French and Asian fusion bakery is coming soon to Annandale.
TOUS les JOURS, a South Korean bakery, plans to open a new location in Annandale. It will be located in the same strip as The Block food hall at 4243 John Marr Drive, according to county permits.
The business did not immediately reply to requests for comment, but county permits indicate that an application for its fire alarms system was processed last month.
The franchise — which means everyday in French — launched in 2004 and has since expanded to 70 stores in the United States and more than 1,650 stores around the world.
Items on the menu include breads, pastries, cakes and light meals, according to its website.
The Annandale location will be Virginia’s first. The nearest location is in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Photo via TOUS les JOURS/Facebook
One of Chantilly’s core shopping centers is getting a jolt of life with the arrival of a few new businesses, including a recently added bakery.
Notably, Shilla Bakery & Cafe opened a third location in the Sully Place Shopping Center late last month. The traditional Korean bakery first opened in 1999 and has since expanded to three locations, including a spot in Tysons. The bakery opened at 13938 Metrotech Drive on April 25.
EggHolic, a fast-casual restaurant that sells Indian street food, also plans to open sometime this year in the Lotte-anchored shopping center (13951 Metrotech Drive), which occupies 500,000 square feet at the Route 50 and Centreville Road intersection.
As its name suggests, most of its menu items involve eggs in one form or the other.
The business is rapidly expanding to other locations across the country, including Ontario, New Jersey and Maryland. It already has locations in Illinois, Kentucky and Texas.
The vegan restaurant serves items like cheese katori — two boiled eggs filled with spices and cheese — and specials like lack — shredded green bell pepper cooked with cheese and eggs. The complete menu is available online.
Cousins Bhagyesh and Lay Patel launched the business three years ago in Chicago. The business did not immediately return requests for comment on exactly when it is expected to open.
McLean has a new hot spot for Middle Eastern tea, cookies and honey.
Sayyareh Parsa and her brother opened Parsa Bakery less than a month ago, but the Persian shop is already starting to attract buzz, primarily through word-of-mouth on the social media app Nextdoor.
“We haven’t done a lot of advertisement yet, but a lot of people know us through Nextdoor,” Parsa said when FFXnow visited on Saturday (March 26). “We have a lot of clients who posted and commented on Nextdoor. It’s picking up little by little.”
Parsa Bakery is located in the Salona Village Shopping Center, taking over the space at 1349 Chain Bridge Road previously filled by Bebe Gol Market, which was also Middle Eastern-focused.
Parsa worked in banking before deciding to pursue her dream of baking and starting her own shop. With their parents’ assistance, she and her brother took over the former Bebe Gol site about a month and a half ago.
Fairfax County issued a non-residential use permit for the business on Feb. 8.
Opened in early March, the store offers a variety of baked goods and shelved products, including spices, rosewater, and Turkish delight.
The fresh pastries are currently made by a hired baker and distributor, but the Parsas hope to eventually do their own baking in the store’s basement. They also plan to operate a small cafe in the main store, where customers will be able to enjoy food and coffee.
All of the ingredients used in the pastries and the future menu of food will be sold in the store.
“So if there’s a dish that they really like, we’ll sell the ingredients,” Parsa said. “If they’d like to try it at home, that would be good too.”