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Good bread - where can I buy it?

We can never find really good bread around Northern Virginia so we have to bring it down from NJ where my wife's family is from. We prefer bread with body and a thick crust. Any suggestions>

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  1. Au Bon Pain (translated: good bread), Breadline, Panera, etc....those are some bread options...

    1. Catania's Bakery at 1404 North Capital Street in DC. Traditional Italian bread since 1932. Wholesales to restaurants and stores like Litteri's. Open for retail sales on Saturday from 6AM until 1 PM. Also croissants and biscotti in a variety of flavors.

      Firehook Bakery has fabulous bread. See their selection and locations online.

      1. You might try Marvelous Market at locations around the area. If you get north of the Potomac you should try Upper Crust in Colesville, MD (a/k/a North Silver Spring). They have a good variety of breads and rolls. Go early in the day as they sell out of the good stuff by 2 pm. They are closed on Mondays.

        1. Have you tried any of the Great Harvest shops?

          If you're in the Herndon area, try Grace's Pastries in the K-Mart center as well. These are more homestyle breads.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dennis S

            Oh, and in Leesburg is Lightfoot's cafe, right next to the resto.

          2. In Arlington, Pastries by Randolph (I know the name says "pastries," but their baguettes and batards are excellent); (second choice) Heidelberg Bakery (more selection than Randolph's, but Randolph's is better with the lighter stuff; Heidelberg is good for the hearty, like-your-German-grandmother-used-to-make stuff).

            1. Breadline is the closest to decent I've had in the area. Firehook is passable. Panera and Au Bon Pain are awful -- don't do that to yourself. If you ever find yourself in the Baltimore area, try Bonaparte in Fells Point or Savage. Their miche is delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Magali

                You can sometimes get Bonaparte French loaves at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, and they also sell at the Dupont Freshfarm market (if I'm not mistaken) along with one or two other bakeries.

              2. if youre in NoVa, i'd go to falls church and get a loaf or two from cafe 2941

                1. Best Buns in Shirlington. Never had anything that was less than excellent from this place, which is part of the Carlyle Grand operation.

                  And, you can call in orders. I particularly love that.


                  1. Another option: Cenan's Bakery in Vienna. This is an excellent Turkish bakery that introduced me (and probably many others) to ciabatta. There's another good Turkish bakery in Fairfax called Simit Bakery that has a Turkish bagel-like thing that is very good.

                    Also, I second the rec of Heidelberg for really hearty breads that will stand up to anything. I grew up in RI eating a really crusty rye bread we knew as sissel bread and Heidelberg's rye comes about as close to that as anything I've found around here.

                    Finally, you can try the wares from several really small bakeries at the local farmers' markets, some of which are now open year round. For example, there's a bakery at the Leesburg market that has several nice crusty loaves.

                    1. Thanks for all the good ideas (I changed my user Id). I had tried Au Bon Pain and Panera Bread before and wasn't that impressed: there breads are tasty, but aren't the dense, full-bodied types with heavy crusts that we want. I think the Heidelberg Bakery and Cenan's Bakery sound like great possibilities. We'll be trying their breads in the next few days.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: alexofoakton

                        Wegmans, Marvelous Market, Great Grains

                      2. The Swiss Bakery in Fairfax is pretty awesome. The Wuerzelbrot is fantastic and you certainly won't find it any other place. It's too bad that they don't have Schmelzbroetli or Weggli.