Years in the making, the new Pluma by Bluebird Bakery opening Saturday, February 3, near Union Market (391 Morse Street NE) showcases the combined talents of pastry chefs Camila Arango and Tom Wellings at a level the two have never been able to match before.
The first-time restaurateurs, who trained under Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi (Fiola, Fiola Mare, Casa Luca, Sfoglina, Del Mar), are baking everything from scratch and exercising much more quality control than the married couple can offer the coffee houses and other wholesale clients they currently supply. Customers familiar with Bluebird Bakery products served locally at Peregrine Espresso, Dolcezza, Philz Coffee or Zeke’s Coffee may be in for a whole new experience.
The opportunity to taste quality baked goods at peak freshness is rare. Bakeries commonly prepare the day’s offerings in one pre-dawn batch and serve hours-old pastries until closing time. Skillfully crafted with premium ingredients and attention to detail, Pluma’s baked goods will be potentially unrecognizable from their coffee house kin.
“We’re excited to share the difference fresh baking makes,” Arango tells Eater. “We’re an old-school, traditional bakery doing everything by hand. We’re baking fresh all day to impress D.C. with the best we have to offer.”
Equipped with their own retail space for the first time in their careers, the duo will bake classic morning and daytime goods throughout the day. Pastries lean classically French, while Italian flavors accent the savory menu.
The morning menu includes sweet pastries and savory items such as a bacon, onion, and cheddar scone. Heartier options include quiche, as well as an egg and porchetta breakfast sandwich. Afternoons bring salads, sandwiches, and an assortment of sweet pastries. Pizza will be be prepared a la Romana — meaning a rectangular pie made with a thicker dough than Neapolitan-style pizza.
The bakery has a rustic, airy design, which allows the custom-made floor tiles to dominate the interior. Arango traveled to her native Columbia to source the tiles, which feature an abstract bluebird and a floral motif. Bethesda-based firm GTM Architects worked with Arango and Wellings on the personally inspired details.
The open kitchen provides a peek into the inner workings of the bakery.
Pluma is projected to operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays, and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays.
Status: Scheduled to open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, February 3. 391 Morse Street NE; website.