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The Swiss Bakery, Burke and Springfield - Pastry Chef Laurie Alleman Weber, Formerly at Galileo - No Tips Accepted!


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The Swiss Bakery-  (Burke)..It is run my Laurie Alleman (former PC at Galileo) and her husband who I think used to do something at Albert Uster.  Everything I have had there has been quite good.  Nice Swiss/German style cookies, danish, etc...I had a palmier there this morning that was near perfect. (I still need to clean the crumbs out of my car...)

I am going to second what Jason said about The Swiss Bakery. I also enjoy some of their unique breads.

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Add my recommendation for the Swiss Bakery. It is my fairly new indulgence to stop by on the weekend and get a box of their excellent cookies to keep around the house. Other items I've tried were also very good, including the shelved and refrigerated sundries.

One disappointment though was ordering holiday pies through them. I suspect that they farmed out this work because I did not feel the pies were up to the other items quality(and the volume of people picking up was huge). We won't order the pies in advance from there again.

Breads and especially the dinner rolls were great for the holiday dinner.

BD

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The Laugen rolls are my favorite. They are like round soft pretzels. I think they brush them with butter before they sprinkle on the salt. (Like Auntie Ann's, but better.) I had a flattened one with Swiss cheese melted on it the other day - I think they call it "cheese bread" - yum. Also their health bread is very good. The white chocolate mousse cake is to die for.

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Went for the first time last week. Tried their Swiss Cheese loaf which had a mild cheese flavor and was incredibly soft...almost like wonder bread. Kind of surprising to buy an artisinal loaf that didn't have a hard crust. Also had their seeded specialty loaf (forget the name, it starts with a "W"), which I loved. Long like a baguette, had a good crust with a chewy interior. Will be going back to try more carb renditions

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We were at a garden party at the Swiss embassy about a week ago, and the Swiss Bakery was one of the sponsors. My wife is German and has mastered practically all the difficulties of adjusting to life in the US, save one: the lack of decent loaf-style bread. You can find a good baguette here, or even Italian style breads, but anyone who has spent time in German-speaking Europe knows that finding the equivalent style of bread here is almost impossible. Well, our search has ended. This weekend we took a trip out to the Swiss Bakery based on our sampling of their wares at the embassy party. Their bread is the real thing, baked on site, and in all the perplexing variety you might find in a bakery in Basel or Zürich. We wanted the Waliser, but they only bake it on Thursdays, so we ended up getting a large chunk of sourdough rye, which is sold by the pound. This bread was so authentic in aroma, taste, and texture, my wife got even a little teary-eyed from homesickness as she ate it. I can think of no batter stamp of authenticity. She felt the same about the cinnamon rolls (which had a delicacy and texture completely unlike the doughy and overblown concoctions that usually go by that name), and the Laugengebäck was also excellent. The next time we need a cake we will also come here. It was a real joy to discover this place.

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My Swiss-born sister-in-law (now living in Pennsylvania) orders products by mail from the Swiss Bakery to assuage her homesickness.

I noticed last weekend that there seems to be a second location in the Ravensworth Shopping Center on Braddock Road just west of 495. Didn't have time to check it out, but it certainly would be more convenient for folks to the north and east of Burke.

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I noticed last weekend that there seems to be a second location in the Ravensworth Shopping Center on Braddock Road just west of 495. Didn't have time to check it out, but it certainly would be more convenient for folks to the north and east of Burke.

I should read this website more often - I had no idea The Swiss Bakery had opened a second location in Ravensworth.

I don't remember them having anything savory (other than dried sausage) in the Burke location, but their Ham and Cheese Croissant ($2.75) is a welcome change from the Cardiac Scramble at nearby Smith and Clarkson's, and the Raisin Scone ($2.25) is perfect with a cup of coffee.

And they have pints of homemade ice cream, some (but not all) made without corn syrup.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Actually, they are in the process of expanding that location. It looked like they were doubling the square footage. It is a great place. Good breads and very friendly folks. It is a real jem in that shopping center.

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If you're driving by the Braddock Road exit of the Beltway in the morning, and are the least bit hungry, head to The Swiss Bakery and get a Ham and Cheese Croissant ($2.75). They'll heat it up for you, and your total in-and-out time will be about three minutes. Their croissants (chocolate, plain, almond) are excellent, and this is a regular breakfast stop for me when I'm in the area. Good luck not loading yourself down with pastries!

Cheers,

Rocks.

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If you're driving by the Braddock Road exit of the Beltway in the morning, and are the least bit hungry, head to The Swiss Bakery and get a Ham and Cheese Croissant ($2.75). They'll heat it up for you, and your total in-and-out time will be about three minutes. Their croissants (chocolate, plain, almond) are excellent, and this is a regular breakfast stop for me when I'm in the area. Good luck not loading yourself down with pastries!

Cheers,

Rocks.

Second, recommending this place. Really great stuff. pastries are outstanding.

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If you look at the pictures from the link for Curry 36 in Berlin you'll note the small round rolls that the sausages are placed in. These rolls are incredible-they are just unlike anything you can find here.

Ah, but you haven't had the Laugenbrötchen at The Swiss Bakery.

And how do you spell disgusting in German? You spell it like Curry 36 does ... like this.

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A carryout of Chicken Noodle Soup ($2.95, includes a Brotchen roll), which follows closely on the heels of my Matzah Ball Soup at Hudson, reminds me that I haven't had any truly good chicken broth in quite awhile now. Without knowing how either was made, there was something bouillon-esque in the nose of both - but for $2.95, this served as more than an adequate Brotchen-dunk, and the curly noodles were nicely pasty, the carrots and celery freshly chopped.

Most importantly, when I paid for my order (with some other things), the "tip" line on the credit-card bill ... you know that "thing" that you always feel obligated to leave even though you're only grabbing something quick to-go? ... the tip line said "tips are not accepted." Although this was pretty much industry-standard ten years ago, it stands out today as an elegant, classy touch.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Has anyone ever been to the Springfield Swiss Bakery and NOT seen Lisa Scruggs (ex- Pastry Chef at Equinox) working? I'm batting like 50-for-50.

I prefer the ham and cheese croissants not heated (I got mine warmed this morning) - they're really good at room temperature, but the water in the ham disperses into the soft, inward side of the croissant upon heating (didn't notice the method, but it's not an oven-bake (which also means the whole thing gets a touch "soft")).

Whoever waited on me this morning was one of the nicest people I've come across in awhile (didn't get the name, but she beamed kindness). And this leads me to reiterate that The Swiss Bakery actively discourages tipping which, to me, is huge, and says a lot about (what I perceive to be) the philosophy here.

(As a side note, I noticed that a new strip-mall Americanized Chinese place is about to open in the same shopping center. Not a big deal, but a potential threat to Hunan Manor for afternoon commuters getting take-out.)

Cheers,

Rockenstollen

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I tried the one in Ravensworth today, and was favorably impressed. I'm not one who tends to frequent bakeries, but this turns out to be so much more and then some. My general observations....

First observation -- when I'm looking for a nice place to visit in the Burke area, I am nearly 0% likely to consult "Multiple Locations" in the Dining Guide. 'Nuff said 'bout that dead horse.

Second observation -- closed on Saturday and Sunday? OK, I understand they set up at the Lorton and Vienna Farmer's Markets on weekends, but covering that $8000/month rent requires weekend traffic.

Third observation -- I now know where to get my various fixes that I've had trouble finding, like Baltimore Landjaeger, spatzle, senf, unusual central European wines, and many of the Munchener Hofbrau beer mugs I forgot to bring back with me those many years ago.

Fourth observation -- the sweet offerings look grand, but that case of fresh-made ice cream and sorbet would be attacked on frequent occasions if not for the Second Observation.

Fifth observation -- lovely savory offerings, like the ham and cheese croissant, and what may have been the best "Reuben" I've ever had, which was the Kessler pork and sauerkraut with cheese in grilled rye. The strange method of busing your own table by finding the big gray bus bin and dropping in your dish can develop into a charming touch, if not for the Second Observation.

I really like this place, and I want to like it even more, but I guess I'll have to save my love for weekdays....

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Their website says they are both open on Saturday and Sunday.

Go to the Ravensworth store. The hours on the sign on the front door indicate that it's closed on weekends, and the menu inside carries the same message. On the door as you exit, there is a sign that says they set up at the Lorton and Vienna Farmers markets on Saturday and Sunday.

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Lunch here today was a good deal. It was the week's special -- a Bauernwurst accompanied by all of sauerkraut, potato salad, two slices of rye bread, a redundant crouton, plenty of senf (mustard) and nice slices of cornichon, tomato and cucumber. For $9 it hit the spot nicely.

Lunch counter service here can be a bit on the slow side, all the more so today when a computer problem caused my order to disappear. However, after a few minutes I stuck my head into the service window to inquire, and they did a gracious and apologetic scramble to get my food to me as quickly as possible. No harm, no foul.

I had previously misinterpreted the signage to indicate that they were closed on weekends. Turns out they are open during the daytime on weekends, but the kitchen is closed on Sundays....meaning that only the cakes and sweets case, as well as the wrapped sandwich and cheese case, are available. But what the heck, who wouldn't enjoy a good central European beer, a Bavarian ham and Swiss cheese sandwich, a handful of Landjaeger and a bowl of house made ice cream on a Sunday afternoon?

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Not having been to either location, I am finally making a trip to the Springfield location tomorrow morn. Are there places to sit and chat for awhile? What is really not to miss and is the coffee alright here? (Too lazy to thoroughly read the thread - Thanks and sorry in advance.)

[Well, I can now answer my own question: plenty of seating and good coffee. Felt "meh" on the croissant I had, but I am not sure if it was because of the cold butter pat or that I was just crazy starving by that point.]

Edited by goodeats
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The Swiss Bakery is the only restaurant that I know of in the Washington, DC area that does not allow tipping. Because of this, I make it a point to go there at least once a month.

I needed to head out to Fairfax early Saturday morning, and wanted a grab-n-go breakfast. The Swiss Bakery (in Springfield) opens at 7 AM, so it fit the bill perfectly - it's right off the beltway, on Braddock Road.

The Swiss Bakery is the only restaurant that I know of in the Washington, DC area that does not allow tipping. Because of this, I make it a point to go there at least once a month.

A Ham and Swiss Croissant ($2.75) was exactly as its been each time I've gotten it (surely over a dozen times now). Served at room temperature, it's pretty much a perfect croissant crust, stuffed with a modest portion of lean ham and about the same amount of cheese. It's delicious, and very difficult not to wolf down in five bites - if you do manage to make it home, and want to heat it up, use an oven - or be very careful about microwaving it for any longer than a few seconds.

The Swiss Bakery is the only restaurant that I know of in the Washington, DC area that does not allow tipping. Because of this, I make it a point to go there at least once a month.

Their Almond Croissant ($2.25) is an entirely different shape - round, not rectangular - with slivers of almonds and powdered sugar on top, and marzipan in the middle. This is guaranteed to rain all over your shirt if you eat it in the car, so I advise against it, but good luck resisting.

The Swiss Bakery is the only restaurant that I know of in the Washington, DC area that does not allow tipping. Because of this, I make it a point to go there at least once a month.

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The Swiss Bakery is the only restaurant that I know of in the Washington, DC area that does not allow tipping. Because of this, I make it a point to go there at least once a month.

I needed to head out to Fairfax early Saturday morning, and wanted a grab-n-go breakfast. The Swiss Bakery (in Burke) opens at 7 AM, so it fit the bill perfectly - it's right off the beltway, on Braddock Road.

The Swiss Bakery is the only restaurant that I know of in the Washington, DC area that does not allow tipping. Because of this, I make it a point to go there at least once a month.

A Ham and Swiss Croissant ($2.75) was exactly as its been each time I've gotten it (surely over a dozen times now). Served at room temperature, it's pretty much a perfect croissant crust, stuffed with a modest portion of lean ham and about the same amount of cheese. It's delicious, and very difficult not to wolf down in five bites - if you do manage to make it home, and want to heat it up, use an oven - or be very careful about microwaving it for any longer than a few seconds.

The Swiss Bakery is the only restaurant that I know of in the Washington, DC area that does not allow tipping. Because of this, I make it a point to go there at least once a month.

Their Almond Croissant ($2.25) is an entirely different shape - round, not rectangular - with slivers of almonds and powdered sugar on top, and marzipan in the middle. This is guaranteed to rain all over your shirt if you eat it in the car, so I advise against it, but good luck resisting.

The Swiss Bakery is the only restaurant that I know of in the Washington, DC area that does not allow tipping. Because of this, I make it a point to go there at least once a month.

I hear they don't allow tipping....

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My wife and I stopped at the German Military Christmas Market in Reston tonight.  This is an annual event that attracts as many as 2,500 to 3,000 people for a very authentic feeling.  For all the world you could be in Munich or Nurnberg and some of the home made and baked goods rival what one can find in Deutschland.

We stopped at a bakery tent which was 30-40 deep with people standing in line.    On the side of the counter was shelving stocked with crusty, seeded foot long, six to eight inch thick loaves called Wurzelbrot.  I bought a loaf of it along with two other loaves of different breads.

I must note here that I have travelled heavily in Germany, Switzerland and Austria for more than thirty years.  I have as deep of a passion for crusty, seeded dark bread as anyone who has ever broke bread in Bavaria.  Over the years I have brought literally hundreds of loaves and rolls back on airplanes hoping they would be even distantly as good as they were when baked eighteen or more hours earlier.

The Wurzelbrot that I bought at the German Military Christmas Market is the best loaf of seeded dark bread I have ever had in the United States.  I say this as a veteran of Heidelberg in Arlington and Acme in Berkeley among others.

After lopping off the crusty end I then cut a six inch long wedge and toasted it in our oven.  Of course I also happened to have some unsalted French butter left over from Thanksgiving but that is another story!  Anyway, a few moans later I went back out into the parking lot in front of our house, started my car and drove back to the Christmas Market and bought three more loaves.

It is from a bakery that, living in Reston, I have never heard of:  The Swiss Bakery in the Ravensworth Shopping Center on 5224 Port Royal Road in Springfield.  (I am reading the card.)  They also have a website and the baker is remarkable: she won "Pastry Chef of the Year" from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington in 2001 when she worked for Roberto Donna at Galileo.

I have not been to this bakery.  But she makes an incredible loaf of dark seeded bread.  So much so that my wife and I will visit it over the weeked.  I cannot tell you how fortunate I feel to find a loaf this good on this side of the Atlantic.  I no longer need to bring bread back on an airplane.

From The Swiss Bakery's website, www.theswissbakery.com:

Laurie's introduction to the culinary world began as a child in her parents restaurant in the Midwest, her father was also a baker. There she developed her passion for cooking and baking, a path that has taken her to award-winning establishments, such as Remi Restaurant in NYC and Roberto Donna's Galileo in Washington, DC. It was while under Roberto's service that she earned the title, The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's Pastry Chef of the Year 2001. Laurie is a member of the Le Dames d'Escoffier and the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. She has given demonstrations for the FreshFarm Markets in Washington, DC and the ACF (American Chefs Federation) National Conference. She has also contributed to two cookbooks,Venetian Taste  by Francesco Antonucci and,Cooking in Piedmont  by Roberto Donna.

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With the kitchen remodel having hit the stage where it's problematic to cook at home, my sister and I went here for breakfast this morning.  2 Berner rosti (basically a giant hash brown with onion, a little ham, with cheese and a fried egg on top) and 2 large coffees came to $25 and change.  The rosti came with two slices of very nice walnut raisin bread and an orange wedge.  A bit underseasoned but a few shakes of salt fixed that.  I would have liked the egg runny, but I think that it's the default to cook it through; I should have specified when ordering.  It was far too much food for one serving but we ate it all anyway.  I think we're just going to have dinner about 4:30 and skip any other eating.

They're having their Oktoberfest this month with specials in the cafe thru the month (today's special was a currywurst breakfast, and a pork schnitzel later in the day).  The Columbus Day weekend will have a lot of specials, traditional music, free pretzel if you show up in Swiss/German costume, etc.

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Free PR to the pioneers of DC's no-tipping system. Thank you to The Swiss Bakery for being years ahead of everyone else (and shame on other publications for not recognizing them).

TIPS NOT ACCEPTED!

And it's also one of the very best bakeries in town - up there with BreadFurst in quality. Scroll up to Post #19 - they've been doing this for over *six years*.

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