Mark Furstenberg to roll out Bread Furst in Van Ness next year

September 3, 2013
(Courtesy Mark Furstenberg) (Courtesy Mark Furstenberg)

After three years of scouting locations, Mark Furstenberg has finally landed a neighborhood spot to his liking and last week signed a lease for a fresh retail bakery. Bread Furst is expected to open at 4434 Connecticut Ave. NW in February, says the Washington baker widely credited for bringing good bread to the city with Marvelous Market in 1990.

Located near a dry cleaner and a car wash and promising plenty of foot traffic, the 3,200-square-foot shop in Van Ness will feature a working bread mixer in the front window and a steam-injected deck oven from Italy behind the counter. Local architect Peter Hapstak has been hired to design the space, which will have seats for 14, “enough,” Furstenberg says, “for people to sit down and have a cup of coffee in the morning.”

• Mark Furstenberg: What's missing from D.C.'s food scene? A lot.

Bread Furst’s morning menu will find Danish pastries, croissants, biscuits and scones; afternoon selections will gather cookies, pies and house-churned ice cream. Breads will include brioche, whole-grain loaves, challah on Friday and baguettes made every four hours, so they can be enjoyed the way the baker thinks they should be: “Right away.”

Why the wait to open in winter? The entrepreneur points to both a long lead time for ordering the custom-built equipment and the city’s requirement for “meticulous” plans for fire, gas and exhaust.

While he intends to be doing plenty of baking, Furstenberg says he’s poised to hire a talent to assist him. “I’m 75,” he says.

Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace.
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