Steve Tekle, owner of new Aroma Bakery and the U Wine and Beer store, told me last week that he was working with the current owner of Maggie Moos on U street to buy all of the equipment and take over their lease. It wasn’t a done deal yet so he didn’t want me to write anything about it on my blog. However, now that Prince of Petworth has confirmed it I guess I can write about it too.

Steve will not be keeping the franchise of Maggie Moos (woo hoo!) but will keep the location as an ice cream shop. When we were talking he said that he thought the location could do a lot better, that the service wasn’t that great and the ice cream was overpriced (part of it being a franchise made the ice cream expensive). I agree with him, and on top of that the ice cream isn’t very good. I can count the number of times I’ve been in Maggie Moos on one hand and I’ve lived in the area nearly 3 years. I’m excited for a better, cheaper ice cream place on U street and wish Steve the best of luck!

Aroma bakery

Aroma bakery

A few weeks ago, I noticed Aroma Bakery had opened, only after a couple of weeks after the Dollar Store had closed. It is, indeed, as I had guessed, still owned by Steve Tekle, the local business owner who also owns the U Wine and Beer store across the street. The bakery doesn’t offer breads by the loaf, but does have a decent selection of deli sandwiches, salads, assorted pastries/deserts, coffee, snacks, and a nice selection of more gourmet-type sodas and juices.

I spoke with Steve while picking up some sandwiches for a Sunday lunch. He told me that he had been planning for a while to close the Dollar Store and open something that would fit in more with the current dynamics of the neighborhood. He thought that the neighborhood could use, and support, a business that would attract different customers than a dollar store would. Similar to what he’s done with U Wine and Beer, which went from a convenience store to a pretty nice beer/wine store, he decided to open a nicer, but decently priced bakery, focusing on lunch fare.

The space is nice, bigger than I thought it would be from the street. The bakery is airy and open, with a few tables to stand by and eat if you desire. The menu is fairly priced, with sandwiches ranging from $4 to $6.50, salads from $5 to $6.50. They even have a sandwich named after Jim Graham. The sandwiches we had, an Italian sub and a Reuben, were good. I liked the Reuben better, more because I like corned beef and the pumpernickel/rye bread that it was served on was very good. So good that it was better than other bread I’ve had on deli sandwiches in the area. The Italian sub was a nice rendition of the classic sub. Servings were big enough that I had leftovers to bring to work.

A very good Reuben

A very good Reuben

What I especially appreciated when speaking with Steve was his willingness to adapt to his customer’s needs and wants. He said that he was open to changing nearly anything about the bakery if a customer asked. He wants to serve the neighborhood and what it wants, which is something that I find really likable in a business owner.

So, definitely stop by for a sandwich, salad, coffee, or pastry at Aroma Bakery – it could easily become a go-to spot to get lunch or a quick dinner in the neighborhood.  And check out some more photos of Aroma Bakery, including the menu, on my Flickr photostream.

Blogger note: Once I asked to take photos of the bakery, I was soon outed as “U Street Girl” and offered sandwiches on the house, which I accepted. I was certainly hoping the sandwiches would be good enough so that I wouldn’t have to write something unfavorable about a local business owner I like. And thankfully, I didn’t.  They still would have been good if they weren’t free.

Aroma bakery, seems to be open

Aroma bakery, seems to be open

Well, that was fast. I was on my way to a yoga class so didn’t have time to stop in, but it appears that Aroma Bakery, formerly the Dollar Store, is open now. It only closed a few weeks ago, so that was a quick turnaround if I ever saw one. I will stop in soon and give my impressions on the new bakery.

Well, that didn’t take long to figure out, the dollar store on U street is becoming Aroma Bakery. I assume it is and will continue to be owned by Steve Tekle.

And, the empty lot/pit next to Marvin will  become a wine bar/bakery called 14th Street Bakery and Wine Bar.

So our ‘hood is going from having zero bakeries to two? Not bad.