Leave it to retail bakeries in Washington, DC to reinvent their concept with imagination and zeal. Our nation’s capital is home to many things, and now the city is emerging as a forward-thinking bakery hotspot where a growing number of bakeries are flourishing thanks to creative product positioning and ambitious marketing.

A recent issue of Food & Wine makes the bold proclamation: “Washington, DC Is America's Next Great Bakery Town.” That in itself is quite a statement, and a closer look lends a lot of credibility to the claim.

Here are bakeries on the list:

  • La Bodega
  • Sharbat
  • Rose Ave Bakery
  • Call Your Mother
  • Yellow
  • Levain
  • Mah Ze Dahr

The latter two are prominent bakeries that are making the successful expansion from New York City into our nation’s capital. Levain, featured a year ago on the cover of Bake magazine, pledges to change the world, one delicious cookie at a time. Like the meaning of Mah-Ze-Dahr, this beloved bakery is a culmination of years of traveling the world and experiencing people through their food, decades of culinary and restaurant experience, and the staunch belief that what you eat changes who you are.

La Bodega is a Washington, DC, bakery by executive pastry chef Paola Velez, inspired by bodegas around the world and the mom-and-pop shops the family grew up in. There is an important twist: The menu includes an inspired breakfast sandwich line and home delivery via DoorDash.

Sharbat, the city’s first bakery featuring the foods of Azerbaijan, also serves an appetizing breakfast, and features honey cake, shekerbura (a decorated pastry filled with nuts and sugar), and borek (filled with chicken breast and topped with sesame seeds).

The list of bakery innovations in Washington, D.C. goes on. The point is that America’s retail bakeries are adapting to change amid a tumultuous time during the COVD-19 pandemic, and there are continued examples of innovation to show the way for our industry’s future.