Background: Opened in April, the café is a retail operation for Sunflower Bakery, a Gaithersburg workforce training facility that teaches people with cognitive or developmental disabilities about pastry arts. Located on the lobby level of the North Bethesda office building owned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the clean, bright café provides separate training in marketing and customer service. The nonprofit café is a collaboration between the Jewish Federation, the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes and the United Jewish Endowment Fund.
The goods: A full range of kosher baked items, including cookies, bars, muffins, pies and cupcakes, is delivered each weekday from the Gaithersburg bakery. For the upcoming Jewish holidays, look for desserts such as honey cake and apple cake. Café Sunflower also sells challah, bagels and light lunch dishes, which are not prepared by the bakery.
Feivel Cohen (above) mans the counter at Café Sunflower in North Bethesda.
Taste test: As Laurie Wexler, co-founder of Sunflower Bakery and Café Sunflower, puts it, “people will come once if they think you’re doing something good. They’ll come twice if they like the product.” There’s much to like; the raspberry crumb bars, blondies, oatmeal raisin cookies and mandel bread are especially good.
Where to buy: Café Sunflower, 6101 Executive Blvd., Suite 115, North Bethesda, 301-321-3280. Baked goods can also be ordered online and picked up at the Sunflower Bakery, 8507 Ziggy Lane, Gaithersburg, as well as at several synagogues in the area. 240-361-3698, www.sunflowerbakery.org.