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Bayou Bakery in SE targeting late April opening

The carriage house

Chef David Guas

Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery is expected to open this spring in the historic Carriage House at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. A late April/early May opening is planned for the Capitol Hill building, according to Simone Rathle, spokesperson for the restaurant.
Bayou Bakery is the second restaurant, and the first in Washington, D.C. for Chef David Guas, a TV host and cookbook author. His first Bayou Bakery is located in Arlington, Va.
“It will be the same cuisine” in both restaurants, Rathle says of the Louisiana-inspired and New Orleans-themed menu.
Rathle says that Guas has been working on the project in the carriage house for almost two years. Eight months was spent on the design alone. The project is now at the point where the fixtures have been ordered and the infrastructure is being installed. The herringbone stone floor will be picked up, cleaned and relaid.
The Carriage House, a two-story circa-1866 structure, was built next to the Civil War-era Hill Center, aka the Old Naval Hospital, the oldest naval hospital in Washington, D.C. The Hill Center is now an arts, culture and educational venue.
Bayou Bakery is the first retail operation in the Carriage House, which housed the horse-drawn ambulances of the time. President Abraham Lincoln commissioned the building a year before his death.
The Carriage House’s 19th-century interior is being restored as much as possible. The interior features details like exposed brick walls and wide-plank wood floors. An existing glass garden room has floor-to-ceiling windows. The restaurant will seat approximately 50 people; the garden room, about 20.
Chef Guas is a New Orleans native who has lived in the D.C. area for 17 years. Rathle says that he was attracted to the Carriage House by the wrought-iron fence around it. “It reminded him of New Orleans,” she says.
Rathle says that owners of the building were interested in having a restaurant tenant. “But they wanted someone who would do breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Read more articles by Barbara Pash.

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