From the second I first walked into Sub Rosa Bakery in Richmond’s Church Hill district, I knew it was special. I was immediately hit with the aroma of real butter and freshly baked bread. At the back of the shop I saw baker and co-owner, Ervim Dogu, pulling perfect, golden croissants from his wood-fired oven. After just one bite of an almond croissant I was hooked. Its buttery layers were topped with a thick crust of sliced almonds and filled with a sweet, creamy almond paste. I came back every Saturday until a fire, caused by a lit cigarette outside, forced Sub Rosa to close its doors.
My heart sunk; only four months after opening they were out of operation. Months passed where I habitually checked their Facebook page and did spontaneous drive-bys of the bakery looking for signs of life. While I was in Sub Rosa-remission, Ervim and his sister/co-owner, Evin, were traveling the country learning from other wood-fire bakers. At the same time, the Richmond restaurant community rallied behind Sub Rosa with benefit dinners and fundraisers.
After nine months of being closed, the day finally arrived with the much anticipated news: Sub Rosa's doors would re-open. I marked my calendar, and in the early morning of January 18th I pulled up to a line that wrapped around the bakery. I was glad to see that throngs of fans had come to support the business, and I happily got in line.
The bakery was restored to its original glory, and just like my first visit, Ervim was hard at work at his brick oven. I originally planned on just a couple pastries, but when I approached the display case my excitement got the best of me. I ended up with two lamb boreks, an almond & chocolate croissant, a winter greens & feta tart, and a preserves & cheese croissant. All were phenomenal, but my favorite was the winter greens & feta tart, a pastry that exemplified the baker’s Turkish heritage.
This is a bakery where you can feel the passion that goes into every handcrafted croissant and loaf of bread. The attention to detail is staggering, from the organic Virginian grain that is stone-ground on-site, to the special blend of coffee that is uniquely roasted by Richmond’s Lamplighter Roasting Company. It’s the type of place that exists out of sheer pleasure of the craft. Sub Rosa is a world-class bakery that can compete with the best in the country and I’m proud to say it belongs to Richmond.
Sub Rosa Wood Fired Bakery
620 North 25th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23223