Levain Bakery in Georgetown is worth the wait

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Photo by Isabelle Pala

Isabelle Pala

If you’ve been to Georgetown in the last week, you’ve likely noticed the long line of millennials winding down M St. They all have one mission: to have a taste of New York’s most beloved cookie. Levain Bakery opened their DC location just two weeks ago, and it has already gained similar traction to the infamous Georgetown Cupcake.

As I waited in line to see if this place was as good as everyone says, I immediately noticed how kind the staff were. They greeted each customer with a warm smile (or what seemed like a warm smile from under their masks), and gracefully directed the line, letting people in and out in a pace that can maintain the shop’s safe capacity. From the way they interacted with each other, it was clear that they treated each other as family, despite the fact that some had only been working with each other for a matter of days. 

The inside of the shop mirrored the same warmth I noticed among the workers. Cute paintings on the walls depicting scenes in Georgetown and big windows that let in lots of light made it seem cozy and lively at the same time. With dozens of people cycling in and out, Levain emanated a similar energy to the hustle-and-bustle of New York, the city in which it was first established. 

When asked about the decision to open a new location amid the ongoing pandemic, Annie, a staff member at Levain, described how important the community was to the bakery and how giving back came first. “Whatever we don’t sell, we donate, and in DC we partner with Horton’s Kids. All of the opening day sales were donated there and all the proceeds from the cafe con leche cookie are donated,” she elaborated. Ultimately, they followed through with opening their doors so they could “bring joy to the community, because that’s really our only mission.” 

Now, for the part you’ve been waiting for: the food. Even though Levain made its name with the famous giant cookies, they also serve a variety of other pastries including cakes, muffins, and fresh bread. I ordered four items (I couldn’t help myself), a slice of banana bread and pumpkin bread, an oatmeal raisin cookie, and a cafe con leche cookie. It’s pretty difficult to go wrong with banana and pumpkin bread, so both were obviously delicious. Light, fluffy, flavorful, and warm, the bread is a true must-have, now that the fall weather is becoming the norm. I’m not really sure why I ordered the oatmeal raisin cookie, considering that I don’t like raisins at all, but I wasn’t completely unhappy with my choice. After picking out each and every raisin (I will say there were a lot), the oatmeal base was still very yummy. 

Saving the best for last, the cafe con leche cookie was amazing. With a mix of dark chocolate, espresso, cinnamon, sea salt, and cashews, this unique cookie sold me on the new bakery. Annie explained that it was the product of a partnership with a famous DC pastry chef, Paola Velez. “This was her way of bringing back her Dominican roots into the cookies,” she said. “She would wake up in the morning, her grandmother would be making cafe con leche, her mother would be making cookies, so that was her inspiration.” 

With welcoming employees, a creative menu, and delicious cookies, it’s really difficult to go wrong with this new addition to DC’s ever-blossoming food scene.