D.C.’s first completely gluten-free bakery and cafe is coming to Adams Morgan early this summer. Rise Bakery comes from Michael Koritko, who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005 and lamented the lack of gluten-free bakeries in the area.
“I always saw myself doing something that would help other people. I kind of thought it would be nonprofit,” Koritko says. Instead, he quit his job in project management about a year ago to open the gluten-free bakery. “I know it’s not easy to find gluten-free food, especially fresh-baked gluten-free food.”
Head pastry chef Mollie Bird, previously a pastry sous chef at The Source, is working with Jaimie Mertz of The Red Bandana gluten-free bakery in Bethesda to develop the recipes. And even manager Suzy Johnson, who also has celiac disease, has experience working for a gluten-free bakery in New York.
Rise will serve a variety of cupcakes, muffins, tarts, cookies, pies, pop-tarts, and cakes. Instead of wheat-based flour which is high in gluten, the baked goods use nut, tapioca, rice, and coconut flours. Dairy-free, vegan, and paleo-friendly foods will also be available.
The cafe will also serve Ceremony Coffee and sandwiches made with gluten-free bread. That bread, along with bagels and pizza crust, are the only items Rise won’t bake in-house. Instead, Koritko says he visited 25 bakeries across the U.S. and Canada looking for the best products. He’s not revealing the identity of the supplier yet, but he’s looking to have an exclusive deal to bring the bread here. “I want to be the only guy in D.C. who has it. And right now, no one has it,” he says.
Koritko claims his gluten-free creations might even be mistaken for the real deal.
“People can’t tell at all,” he says. “That’s been one of my things is testing it on people who do eat gluten. That’s really the toughest test. If you can pass that test, then you’re in great shape.”
Rise Bakery, 2409 18th St. NW; riseglutenfree.com
Photos courtesy Michael Koritko