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Powerhouse NYC Bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr Plans D.C. Expansion With a New Partner

The group behind Succotash and Mi Vida will help baker Umber Ahmad move in

Assorted baked goods at Mah-Za-Dahr in New York.
Nick Solares [Eater]
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

A famed New York City bakery that makes the best doughnut in Manhattan (according to The New York Times) is expanding into the D.C. area as part of a partnership announced today with Knead Hospitality + Design.

Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery’s Umber Ahmad, right, with investor Tom Colicchio.
Baker Umber Ahmad, right, with Tom Colicchio.
Mah-Ze-Dahr [official]

Mah-Ze-Dahr comes from Umber Ahmad, a former investment banker who was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Baker award this year. The bakery is also the first investment in Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio’s Discovery program.

Knead Hospitality + Design has already lured two other big-name chefs to town as part of its two existing properties: Edward Lee’s Succotash and Roberto Santibañez’s Mi Vida.

According to today’s announcement, Mah-Ze-Dahr and Knead have plans to open locations in D.C. and Virginia in the first half of next year.

Knead already announced last summer that it was working with Ahmad to incorporate Mah-Ze-Dahr into a two-piece restaurant complex slated to open early next year at 1221 Half Street SE, right by Nationals Park. The 9,000-square-foot complex, now called Gatsby, will provide Mah-Ze-Dahr with its own space, including a separate entrance.

More Mah-Ze-Dahr locations will include standalone unitsand joint ventures within existing Knead restaurants. Knead has two Succotash properties (Penn Quarter, National Harbor) and Mi Vida at the Wharf. The group is also opening a restaurant called the Grill at the Wharf and is developing three more to-be-announced restaurants, per today’s statement.

Ahmad opened the first Mah-Ze-Dahr in Greenwich Village in 2016. Some of its hit items include vanilla cream-filled brioche doughnuts that have drawn notice from Colicchio and Oprah, cheesecakes ranked No. 1 in the city by NY Magazine, and gourmet granola made with rolled oats, dried cherries, and extra virgin olive oil.

The D.C. expansion builds upon Ahmad’s plans to grow Mah-Ze-Dahr in New York City, in other parts of the U.S., and through international licensing.