Glen’s Garden Market revved up its fryers last week. The smell of fresh apple cider doughnuts wafted through Dupont Circle, coaxing customers to stop in for a snack. Every Wednesday morning, the grocer offers cider doughnuts and an additional flavor, such as cold brew coffee, from 8 a.m. until they sell out.
“We made 90 and sold 87,” says Glen’s Garden Market founder Danielle Vogel. She and her cousin, Justin Rosengarten, ate the other three. The secret to apple cider doughnuts that leave a lasting impression? “I hate to say this, but it’s the willingness to get up and labor over them to get them out to people as warm as possible,” Rosengarten says. “Cut no corners.”
Rosengarten would know. While he’s worked as the director of service at Glen’s for two years, he has an impressive baking resume that makes him a secret weapon for the store. After working at bakeries in Vermont and running a wood-fired bagel bakery in Upstate New York, Rosengarten landed the head baker job for Danny Meyer’s famed Union Square Cafe in New York City.
When Meyer relocated Union Square Cafe in 2015, he planned for the new space to include an in-house bakery and tapped Rosengarten to lead the team that also produced a line of breads for Meyer’s fast-casual restaurant Daily Provisions.
“I was interested in making sure the breads were sourced using local grains and made with techniques I had honed over many years using older-school techniques,” Rosengarten says. “It blossomed into something I was totally proud of and it lives on without me.”
“Danny Meyer fell in love with his bread at first bite,” Vogel says. “The last time I ran into Meyer he said, ‘Justin Rosengarten’s fingerprints are on every piece of bread we sell.’” She swells with pride when she talks about her cousin, especially because when he joined the team at Glen’s, the store officially became a family business. Both are now fourth-generation grocers.
“I’ve looked at him so many times and thought, we were put on this planet to put jars of jelly on shelves,” Vogel jokes. “It lends a whole different level of warmth and excitement for the way we’re repping our family legacy.”
Rosengarten has spent the past two years away from the oven, honing his management and leadership skills. It was time well spent, he says, because it prepared Glen’s Garden Market employees to “pull their punches” during the pandemic, when running a grocery store is especially demanding.
Now he’s slowly starting to show off his skills. For his next trick he’s assembling a bread basket that can double as a centerpiece for Thanksgiving. It’s filled with soft Parker House rolls, cranberry walnut brioche, savory fantails, mini poppyseed & sesame seed challah rolls, and heirloom cornbread. All orders must be placed by midnight on Nov. 24.
“I wanted to contribute something to our offerings for Thanksgiving to round out what we had to offer and make sure that people coming to our catering menu and coming to us for Thanksgiving immediately felt this was something really special and unique,” Rosengarten says.
The goal, he adds, is to make Thanksgiving feel “warm and special” even though social distancing protocols make large gatherings ill-advised.
“Obviously it takes a village to run a grocery store,” Rosengarten says. “I couldn’t be more proud to be contributing to what is ultimately an ocean of passion from everyone at Glen’s.”