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Junction Bakery and Bistro, Chef Nathan Hatfield's Baked Goods and Coffee Shop in the Former Mancini's Space in Del Ray


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Junction Bakery and Bistro had it's soft opening this week. It's where Mancini's used to be. They gutted it. I stopped by to get the staff's Friday breakfast. They've gotten real spoiled when I'm in the clinic on Fridays :) not Dunkin Donuts like my partners The place is cool, super retro looking, you can see into the bakery and watch them work and make delicious baked goods. Seems like people already know about it, it was fairly busy for just being open for 2 days. I got a bunch of stuff - ham and cheese croissant, chocolate croissant, everything croissant, lemon poppy tea cakes, cheddar chive biscuits, some scones, and then I get an Americano for myself. 

Was a big hit... Everyone loved it. The everything crossaint was a real winner. I had half a cheddar chive biscuit, and that was good. Everything was rich/moist. The Americano was ... watered down (I know, I know ... it has water in it), but it wasn't as strong as Swing's or Stomping Ground or even the new St. Elmo's (what a revamp!). 

Well, the next hipster thing continues in Del Ray, a full fledged bakery with people with those baking hats. Food is good. Looking forward to trying real breakfast here.

-S

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19 minutes ago, Josh Radigan said:

Went this morning and congrats to the crew. Saw Tami Hatridge working the floor which means the FOH is in order. Beautiful space, and great service. Overall a huge upgrade don't only for the space but as well the neighborhood and area.

How do I know Tami Hatridge? I'm certain I know her quite well, and I'm drawing a blank. Never mind - Restaurant Eve!

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Went to the new Junction Bakery & Bistro at Mt Vernon Ave & Monroe in Alexandria. They serve Comonwealth Joe coffee. I had the drip. Do not put on this list! Not terrible, but not good. Will sample the espresso service soon.

I hear many people are buying a baked item here and then going to Swing's for *real* coffee. Not that I endorse this kind of thing....

In other news, over the past two months, I've had good experinces at Killer ESP with both machiattos and lattes. Both very nice. I now endorse them for the list! :)

 

 

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Ok, I have to revise my comments. Today I had the cold-brew nitro coffee at Junction. It was very good. Sadly they don't seem to have glassware for "dining-in" so you just get a standard plastic to-go cup. I sampled some baked goods that were great, too (ham&cheese croissant and chia-something bar). On my next visit I will brave the espresso world. 

I noticed they have 4 or 5 varieties of Commonwealth Joe coffee on display. Maybe they just brew the wrong one. 

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35 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Hey Don, please add chef and baker Nathan Hatfield to the title of this thread. He deserves to get some recognition.

Indeed - Nathan was at Restaurant Eve for years, making their terrific bread.

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On 7/13/2016 at 3:50 PM, jondagle said:

Went to the new Junction Bakery & Bistro at Mt Vernon Ave & Monroe in Alexandria. They serve Comonwealth Joe coffee. I had the drip. Do not put on this list! Not terrible, but not good. Will sample the espresso service soon.

On 7/14/2016 at 0:09 PM, jondagle said:

Ok, I have to revise my comments. Today I had the cold-brew nitro coffee at Junction. It was very good. Sadly they don't seem to have glassware for "dining-in" so you just get a standard plastic to-go cup. I sampled some baked goods that were great, too (ham&cheese croissant and chia-something bar). On my next visit I will brave the espresso world. 

I noticed they have 4 or 5 varieties of Commonwealth Joe coffee on display. Maybe they just brew the wrong one. 

Can't speak to Junction Bakery and everything else they do, but I am really down on Commonwealth's Joe's coffee.  Have been for some time.  Admittedly the Cold-brew is better than any of their standard brews in drip.  But I enjoy different cold brews in a variety of places.  Its a well done tasty way to do coffee.  But with so many excellent coffee's around...commonwealth Joe's is simply second class imho.

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Went for brekkie Saturday. I though the cappuccino was fantastic. The "Country" (cheddar/chives biscuit, eggs, cheese, sausage patty) was excellent. But, the standout was the sticky bun. I dream of it... It was so good. I'm not a sweets person. But, I'm going to get another this week, because I deserve it. So good. Packed on Saturday, as expected in Del Ray. 

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Haven't seen any comments here recently.  I've recently had Junction baked goods at the Java Shack in Arlington.  BTW:  Java Shack is owned by Commonwealth Joe.  It appears they must have a reciprocal agreement:  Junction uses Commonwealth's coffee// Commonwealth sells Junction's baked goods.

Speaking of baked goods......I recently had the everything croissant twice and an almond croissant.     I've been aware that adding an everything topping to baked goods is a fairly recent trend, just had never tried anything outside of a bagel.  Of course an everything bagel is a very old staple.  Its one of my long time favorites.

The Junction Bakery everything croissant was terrific.  The amount of everything topping is less severe than on a typical bagel.  In fact I think the amount is ideal on a softer, fluffier croissant.  The croissant quality was excellent.  Flaky crust and soft interior--just excellent.  The bakers did a great job on this, assessing how much topping to impart to the delicious croissant.

I happened to be in a starbucks and ordered an everything croissant.  OOOOf.  Sad version.

The almond croissant was less outstanding in my opinion;  croissant quality excellent, topping not necessarily that good.

Commonwealth coffee.  Eh.  There is better.

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On 1/31/2018 at 4:31 PM, DaveO said:

Commonwealth coffee.  Eh.  There is better.

Huh.  I think they supply the baked goods to the Swing's "tasting room" just down the street on Monroe.  I'm surprised that they don't serve Swing's...

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Junction Bakery served me well towards the close of 2019: A dear friend dropped by for a visit on Dec 28 (and was forced to suffer through the LSU-Oklahoma game), and we purchased two Junction Bakery Baguettes at Arrowine (Lee Heights Shopping Center, Arlington), as well as an armada of cheese (more on that later). The baguettes from Junction Bakery are just about perfect, and are sold both at the outstanding (for wines and cheeses) Arrowine, and the outstanding (for meats and produce) Organic Butcher in McLean, as well as at the three locations of Junction Bakery itself (Del Ray, Chevy Chase, MD, and Capitol Hill).

On Sunday, Dec 29, there was some leftover baguette, and it was the perfect vehicle for sandwiches, encasing sliced pork tenderloin with a reduced cherry sauce.

On Dec 30th, we had plenty of leftover cheese, but no leftover baguette, so I hopped over to the actual Junction Bakery in Del Ray for a loaf of Ciabatta ($5.95) and White Bread ($5.95). This made for a wonderful (if excessive) Monday lunch, as you can see in the picture:

JunctionBread-300x225.jpg

The Ciabatta (right) was mostly the victim of this meal, and on Dec 31, there remained plenty of the White Bread (left), but nothing novel to go with it for New Year's Eve. So I went out to MOM's Organic Market in Mosaic District, and bought some smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers. With some Champagne (and a bottle of 1954 Fuenmayor Rioja thrown in for good measure), we used the White Bread as a quasi-bagel for a New Year's Eve dinner, watching the strange 2011 film, "The Tree of Life" (which won the Palme d'Or award at Cannes that year).

The breads at Junction bakery were so good that we decided to have dinner there on New Year's Day. More on that in another post.

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We enjoyed the two loaves of bread purchased at Junction Bakery so much that we decided to have our first dinner of 2020 at the Del Ray outlet. While I can’t recommend that people dine here, I purchased another loaf of White Bread ($5.95), and can urge people wholeheartedly to buy their daily bread here.

Dinner here is counter service, with wines purchased from bins while in the checkout line. A lovely Bacci Ciccio Toscana (DOG) ($20) did the trick with the modest cuisine enjoyed here, but the small selection of wines is by no means a guarantee of success – a little knowledge will go a long way here.

CicciaChianti.jpg

A Carolina Gold Rice Bowl ($15.99) with seared filet tips, broccolini, cilantro, house XO sauce, and lime wedge, was adequate – overcooked beef and undercooked rice, but with decent flavors. A Classic Burger ($14.99), ordered “with cheddar instead of American,” was a gooey Big-Mac-ish mess – a double patty (cooked to a full well-done), at least two types of cheese, lettuce, tomato, house-made dill pickles, “Junction sauce” (thousand-island dressing), on a brioche bun. It was dry and painful, but also had almost identical flavors to a Big Mac (which I haven’t had in many, many years), so if this is your sort of thing, order and enjoy.

SteakRice.jpgBigMac.jpg

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13 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I purchased another loaf of White Bread ($5.95), and can urge people wholeheartedly to buy their daily bread here.

People who spend $5.95 on a loaf of "daily white bread" most certainly do not have three kids in elementary and middle school

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On 1/2/2020 at 2:53 PM, DonRocks said:

On Dec 30th, we had plenty of leftover cheese, but no leftover baguette, so I hopped over to the actual Junction Bakery in Del Ray for a loaf of Ciabatta ($5.95) and White Bread ($5.95). This made for a wonderful (if excessive) Monday lunch, as you can see in the picture:

http://reviews.dcdining.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/JunctionBread-300x225.jpg

Funny - I was driving by today, and bought these exact same two loaves.

Junction is both a bakery and a restaurant, and as a bakery - especially for bread - it seems unsurpassed in Northern Virginia. Please go here and try their bread if you haven't yet bought a loaf.

As for my takeout sandwich - a Turkey Banh Mi ($14.99) featuring house-roasted turkey breast, pickled daikon radish, pickled carrot, jalapeño, sambal mayo, on a ciabattini roll - everything was quite good, except I'm having a hard time swallowing the "house-roasted turkey breast." This turkey meat came across as standard-issue shrink-wrapped turkey, and was salty throughout. I'm sure they roast it in-house, but I don't see why they bother - it's served cold, and it has the consistency of supermarket coldcuts. Other than that, my only issue was the price which was awfully high; granted, I opted for a bag of chips, when I could have had fries or a salad, but this seemed a bit expensive. This said, the flavors were all in place, and it really was a nice sandwich (I understand this sounds like I'm damning it with faint praise, but it was enjoyable, and could have been excellent)

.IMG_6835.jpg <--- Do you see what I mean about the turkey breast?

After numerous trips here to buy bread, one sit-down meal, and one carryout sandwich, I'm strongly leaning on Junction as my go-to local bakery, but not as my go-to local restaurant. Not when Ruthie's All-Day has just opened in South Arlington (more on that later) ...

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