8 DC Food Artisans You Need to Know

By Rina Rapuano  |  April 7, 2014
Credit: Emily Goodstein Photography

If the recent uptick in gourmet markets is any indication, we can't get enough of the fun, artisanal foods popping up in such spaces - not to mention farmer's market stalls and other food meccas like Union Market. Local artisans are only too happy to fill those shelves - and our bellies - with their creative flavor combinations. Often, they have quit stable jobs to chase their passions after one too many people said, "That's amazing! You should bottle that." 

Here are eight up-and-coming culinary pioneers who might be the next Gordy's Pickle Jar or Vigilante Coffee Co. or Soupergirl - or even Georgetown Cupcake. This next generation of artisans lead the way with their clever flavor twists, their drive and their entrepreneurial spirits, and we happily follow. 

  • Credit: Anna Carson Dewitt

    Number 1 Sons

    Why We Love Them: This brother-sister team not only makes familiar pickles using fermentation rather than vinegar, but also plays around with sauerkraut and slaw recipes to come up with offerings like kale-chi and Ruby Rich kraut, made with Chinese five-spice, red cabbage, onions, salt and chiles.
    Signature Item: Kicky Kosher pickles
    Where to Buy: Smucker Farms of Lancaster CountyPleasant PopsGlen’s Garden MarketEach Peach Market​, Little Red Fox, farmer's markets
    Where to Try: Sweetgreen, DGS DelicatessenGCDC (expected to open April 11)

  • Makin’ Whoopie

    Why We Love Them: Owner and baker Kimberly Robinson takes whoopie pies to a whole new level with flavors like the French Tickler (raspberry cake with rose-champagne buttercream) and Rise and Grind (Kona coffee and mocha cake with Irish cream buttercream) using all-natural ingredients.
    Signature Item: Sticky Icky on the Sweet Ooey Gooey (triple chocolate fudge cake with a salted caramel buttercream)
    Where to Buy: A brick-and-mortar store in upper Georgetown is in the works, but as of now you can order by e-mail or phone - she delivers.
    Where to Try: The Daily Dish in Silver Spring, as well as charity events like Chefs for Equality and Sugar & Champagne

  • Apinya

    Why We Love Them: Adam and Apinya Ross blend Thai chiles and other ingredients with flavors from around the world, creating such wild sauces as coconut harissa, Thai basil aji and pumpkin Penang sauces. A fifth flavor, Ghost Vindaloo, will be released next week.
    Signature Item: Thai Chile Sauce
    Where to Buy: Red Apron Butcher, Smucker Farms of Lancaster County, Glen's Garden Market, Gone Native at Union Market
    Where to Try: Mad Momos, Aroi Thai, Kushi​

  • Acme Pie Co.

    Why We Love Them: Baker Sol Schott quit making pies for restaurants late last year and struck out on his own, offering six or so pies per season - often including vegan and gluten-free options, and all using local ingredients whenever possible.  
    Signature Item: Coconut custard pie
    Where to Buy: Stachowski's Market in Georgetown and Westover Market in Arlington; you can also order them with 48-hours' notice or have them shipped.
    Where to Try: You can buy a slice at Duke's Grocery, Society FairCopperwood Tavern, Java Shack in Arlington and CycleLife USA in Georgetown.

  • Karen Mary Confectionery

    Why We Love Them: Ryan Eakes started selling the marshmallows named after his wife at her DC Rollergirls jams. Eakes eventually graduated from making vanilla to more playful flavors like orange cream, vanilla chai, toasted coconut and...beer-flavored marshmallows? Yup. 
    Signature Item: Caramel Classics (vanilla marshmallow, layer of caramel, dipped in dark chocolate, topped with sea salt)
    Where to Buy: West End Cinema, The Chocolate Moose, Periwinkle, Grassroots Gourmet and Gone Native at Union Market
    Where to Try: Cork Market & Tasting Room

  • Spring Gap Mountain Creamery

    Why We Love Them: The cheeses from this West Virginia farm are made with milk from certified humanely raised Jersey cows, which make milk that's very high in butterfat. Those who know their French cheeses will appreciate that these are made with unpasteurized milk.
    Signature Item: Shenandoah Sunrise, a southern French farmstead cheese
    Where to Buy: Righteous Cheese at Union Market, farmer's markets 
    Where to Try: Tallula, The Ashby Inn, 8407 Kitchen Bar

  • Craft Kombucha

    Why We Love Them: There are a few kombucha producers making waves around town, but Craft Kombucha founder Tanya Maynigo-Loucks fuses hers with a love of beer by adding hops to a few of her brews, resulting in flavors like Citra Hops & Honey and Hibiscus Galaxy Hops. (We also love her more conventional flavors like mango and grapefruit.)
    Signature Item: Blackstrap Chinook Hops
    Where to Buy: She sells cups, bottles and growlers at a Heller's Bakery pop-up Saturdays from 10 AM-2 PM in winter; across the street at the Mount Pleasant farmer's market starting this Saturday during market hours (9 AM-1 PM); and at Kazaxe, a fitness studio in Springfield, VA, Mondays and Thursdays from 5-9 PM.
    Where to Try: Same as above - she's working on partnerships with restaurants, though, and hopes to have her kombuchas served at some soon.

  • Credit: Kelly Hahn


    Why We Love Them: Julie Stinar started serving all-natural, herb-infused lemonades and teas to showcase the herbs she grows at Evensong Farm, but her refreshments - which come in such flavors as sacred basil tea and tarragon-basil lemonade - started gaining their own following.
    Signature Item: Mint and sage lemonade
    Where to Buy: Crystal City, Foggy Bottom, White House, Silver Spring and Penn Quarter FreshFarm Markets
    Where to Try: Three Little Pigs Charcuterie and Salumi