Gelato has returned to the Georgetown building that housed the original Dolcezza. The newest business in the storefront at 560 Wisconsin Avenue NW is family-owned bakery that sells both savory and sweet pastries alongside smoothies and scoops from Villa Dolce Gelato to combat the heat.
La Jolie Bleue opened in July in Dolcezza’s longtime former home, which most recently underwent a brief stint as a fast-casual Indian restaurant.
Step into the window-filled storefront, and La Jolie Bleue owner Tahar Slimani is likely to offer a sample of one of the shop’s thirst-quenching green smoothies or icy strawberry drinks. A pastry case is full of desserts including biscotti, kataif (shredded phyllo), baklava, almond cake, almond cookies, French shortbread sablé, and kalbelouz (“almond hearts” cookie).
A phyllo pastry stuffed with shredded chicken, fresh mushroom, onions, tomatoes, and pecorino and Romano cheese is a hearty lunch. There’s also spanakopita and savory pastries stuffed with ground lamb and beef.
The bakery is the first physical location for Slimani and his family, who’ve set up shop at Eastern Market for the past six years and sold baked goods other local farmers markets.
“Working in a farmers market is not easy,” Slimani says. “You go there and it’s raining, you go home.”
Slimani got interested in the restaurant trade back when he was a student learning from his uncle, who had a hotel, pub, and restaurant in France near the English Channel. In D.C., he and his wife started selling cookies at farmers markets on the side, and the business grew from there. Today, the whole family, including their three children, is helping out.
La Jolie Bleue has been open for about a month, transforming the storefront and upstairs dining room into a Mediterranean blue-hued escape.
Slimani is adding menu items slowly, preparing for a time when Georgetown students go back to school and neighborhood families return from their August vacations. Soon, a menu of sandwiches and paninis will greet visitors too — with plans to bring in gluten-free items from Happy Tart in Falls Church and fall-ready soups like Turkish lentil and Italian farmer soup.