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Adams Morgan History Revealed Part Two – Avignone Freres Bakery

by Prince Of Petworth October 17, 2016 at 10:05 pm 20 Comments

1777 Columbia Rd, NW

Back in 2012 a reader wrote in:

Check out the “old bones” that lie under the drywall, linoleum, indoor/outdoor carpet, and drop ceiling at the former Payless Shoes site on Columbia Road. More importantly, it’s the former Avignone Freres historic bakery, which furnished the White House with cakes and pastries.”

Now a remnant old sign is visible on the outside:


Stay tuned for a new mixed use development coming here:


  • saf

    This place was still open when I lived in Adams Morgan. I used to love to get brunch there.

  • Blithe

    My parents got their wedding cake from Avignone Freres. I think I still remember the warm-ish, sweet-ish bakery smell from when I was a kid — getting tiny tastes of what I was convinced was sophisticated European sensibilities.

  • KBM

    When I moved to DC in December 1989, there was a club at that location.

    • jenster8dc

      Yep — Opera and then Dakota. Or possibly the other way around. Spend many a night boogie-ing there!

  • This makes me so sad! I remember brunches at Avignone Freres in the early 1990’s, when I had just moved to DC and was living in an “English basement” in Adams Morgan…

  • Anon

    I found a building permit for this property with five stories above – 80 units in some sort of micro/communal living arrangement, and ground floor retail. Would love to see some renderings if anyone with better sleuthing ability has found them. Streetsense is the architect, Ellis is the construction company, and Beztak is the developer/owner. There is an old rendering (from 2014) that does not reflect the preservation of the old façade, which is now protected under an MOU with the ANC.

    Happy for the development, but hoping the final product looks a little more interesting.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    It would be awesome to see Avignone Freres resurrected after the redevelopment is complete, but it will probably end up as the lobby of an ugly, out of proportion apartment building. Or it will be retail space, which will sit empty for years before ending up a dry cleaners or cell phone store.

    • Anon

      Thank you for making it abundantly clear that you seem to be rather out of touch with reality. A well-heeled restaurateur will surely snap this up assuming reasonable asking rates. See: Philz, Tail up Goat. Streetsense seems to also be the leasing agent for the retail space. They should be able to fill those bays without too much problem.

      • Ashy Oldlady

        How can you be so sure? I’m sure that’s what you wish would happen, but you have no way of knowing what sort of tenant will end up occupying that space, or when.

        • Jan

          Personally, I’m hoping for another mobile phone store.

      • JakeOnDC

        Once the hotel is completed across the street those storefronts will be leased in the blink of an eye. I embrace the resurrection of A M ….. this project is positioning themselves exactly where they need to be..

  • Nancy

    I remember it well. Was a weekend treat for us. Was so sad when it closed.

  • AMDCer

    Yup – brunched there in the early 90’s – loved it, cockroaches and all…

  • david westlein

    We had our wedding reception there is May 1965. They had a catering operation and reception area upstairs. The Orcino family ran it. The son, John Orcino is still around. We have a picnic every year, a reunion of sorts, for Mt Pleasant residents from the 60’s. John was there with his beautifully restored delivery sedan with Avignone Freres logos and signage.

  • Dandy

    Remember it well. Wish I had a dollar for every time I walked past that location. Such a beautiful bakery. The good old days!

  • Gina

    This was my family business. These amazing comments and memories mean a lot to the whole family! It is a legacy that is surely missed.

    Gina Orcino

  • Giovanni (john)Orcino

    I was the last family member to own AVIGNONE FRERES I miss it but I’m up in age and reside in FL and so happy to see all the enjoyment our customers had with our family wish I could still be there

    • JakeOnDC

      When did the bakery officially close ?

  • Sonia Rapp

    I am Sonia Rapp, I was John Orcino’s step daughter. I have many many fond memories of when I was a child running around the entire establishment bouth in the front and behind the scenes . It is sad that its not around for other generations to enjoy it.

  • Robert Inshetski

    I remember John and Faye’s daughter Gina (my cousin) going around firing staff. She was only 5 or 6 years old. I also remember my cousin Monica and my sister, Sue selling freshly squeezed orange juice out front of the Restaurant. Those were fun times.


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