We continue our review of local foodie places in Metro DC with this guide to our three favorite gluten-free bakeries! If you’re in the mood for a cookie or need a gluten-free cake for an upcoming celebration, these are our recommended spots!
Cinnamon bun, Oreo, croissants, and cupcake from Rise Bakery
Price: Anywhere from $3 to $50 or more for whole cakes
2307A Mt Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301
410 S Maple Avenue, Unit 110
Falls Church, VA 22046
2409 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
167 Glyndon St SE
Vienna, VA 22180
Why is it special?
One of the things that people have to give up first when they go paleo is pretty much every baked good ever invented. That includes cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, bread, rolls, pizza crust, and pretty much anything else that you have to bake in an oven. For many people, this is a hardship that seems impossible to surmount. After all, for many people these kinds of treats are absolutely beloved. But gluten-free options and exclusively gluten-free bakeries are becoming viable businesses all over the country.
While gluten-free is distinctly not paleo, if you’ve read our blog for a while or our book Real Life Paleo you know our Phase 1 philosophy is to live life the way that works for you, for the long-term. We love these options because they focus on quality ingredients that all stick within our Phase 1 guidelines – allowing us to enjoy special treats for birthdays and special occassions without derailing our health.
In our area, we have three favorite places to grab the occasional gluten-free treat: Happy Tart, Rise Bakery, and Silva’s Patisserie.
Finn’s TMNT cake and guest favor cookies from Happy Tart
For years, I struggled to make my own paleo cakes. While my recipes are good and I love them, baking isn’t something I love and cake decorating is something I hate, frankly. Leading up to one of the boys birthdays, Stacy happened to be walking around Alexandria and stumbled into the cutest little bakery right off Mt Vernon Avenue in Del Ray called Happy Tart. Immediately, Stacy hit it off with the owner, Emma, and found out that it was a dedicated gluten-free facility run by a woman with celiac disease. It’s become a favorite stop ever since.
Later, we found other gluten-free bakeries as well. Silva’s is a small but very popular “regular” bakery shop in Vienna run by a couple who are multi-generational bakers who learned they were gluten-intolerant and now live a grain-free life, offering many gluten-free options. While the shop is not a dedicated facility, they are aware of and careful with cross-contamination. And in DC proper, there’s a great dedicated gluten-free shop called Rise Bakery. We’re true suburbanites and rarely go “into the big city” but when there’s gluten-free croissants and cinnamon buns we’ll sometimes make the trip!
When you visit a gluten-free bakery, there are something to ask so that you are aware of what you are eating. Ask what flours and flour blends they are using. They might be using a lot of corn starch or chick pea flour, which we avoid because we don’t react well, for example. Ask if they use eggs or nuts or butter in their recipes if you are sensitive. If you are very reactive to gluten, ask if everything is baked in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
What We Love
Here’s what we love to get at each of our favorite bakeries!
- Pizza Crust
- Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Crackle Cookies
- S’mores Cupcakes
- Quiches, like our favorites Lorraine and Mushroom
- Designed Cakes for the boys’ birthdays
Stacy’s carrot cake birthday cake from Silva’s
- Valrhona Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Carrot Cake (order ahead!)
- Gluten-free muffins & scones
- Almond crescents
- Irish Potatoes (Cole’s favorite)
Oreo from Rise Bakery
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Carrot Cupcake
- Red Velvet Cupcake
- Croissants, especially chocolate, almond, and ham & cheese
- Sausage & egg biscuits (if you can find one in the freezer)
If you’re not local, we hope you can find an allergen-friendly bakery in your neighborhood!
Finn’s birthday cake and guest favor cookies from Happy Tart