Jimmy Hopper had been baking about 15 years as a hobby and for most of that time, has wanted to open his own bakery. He finally took the plunge when after about two years of planning, Three Fifty Bakery and Coffee Bar (threefifty.com) opened at 1926 17th St., N.W. at 17th and U Streets.
Having tired of the corporate world — he worked for years as a manager with Fidelity Investments in his native Texas — he was ready for a change. At Three Fifty (the name comes from the oven baking temperature), he makes and sells sweets, muffins, scones, cookies, bread pudding, turnovers, croissants and “a little bit of everything.” It’s open daily from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays) and he hopes eventually, once more baristas are hired and trained, to have longer hours as well.
“It’s been really great so far,” the 47-year-old Weatherford, Texas, native says. “It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding and the neighborhood has been so great. I feel it’s going to be a huge success.”
After two years of long distance dating, Hopper moved to Washington two years ago to be with his partner, Michael Graham. They met at a grocery store on vacation in Provincetown four years ago.
They live in Brightwood with their dogs, Tyson and Talulah. Hopper enjoys antiques and woodworking in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out for 20 years. Other than my parents and sisters, coming out to my best friend from the Air Force was the hardest because I had no idea how he would take it or if he would still want to be friends.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Not sure if this counts, but President Obama. I feel that without him, I might have never seen gay marriage become legal. I think that the LGBT community owes a lot to him.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I haven’t been here long enough to really answer. I can answer for the best in Dallas!
Describe your dream wedding.
A country wedding on my partner Michael’s family farm. Outdoor, relaxed and laid back, great food and barn dance with all my family and friends.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Anti-bullying. I need to do more and be more involved. It is such a huge issue that is so unnecessary. There has to be zero tolerance.
What historical outcome would you change?
9-11. It took so many lives, taking away many of our freedoms and negatively affecting our lives in so many ways.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Anything Julia Roberts — favorite actress of my time. I’m a huge chick flick fan.
On what do you insist?
That I treat people with kindness and they treat me the same. Life is way too short to treat people poorly and allow them to treat you poorly.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A couple weeks ago I posted about my first week of the bakery being open.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“A Good Guy! (at least I try to be)”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would have considered it when I was 15, but not now. I am very happy with who I am.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe that our spirit/soul live on after this world. I hope that whatever it is, that I have the connections to my family and friends in some way.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Keep fighting for our rights and don’t accept anything but equal. Our freedoms should not be defined differently because we are not different, we are all the same.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
Of course my partner, family, friends and my dogs.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That a gay relationship is based on sex. Our relationships are no different than straight relationships. All relationships start out physical, but they are so much more. We can be just as boring as straight married couples.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Shaking hands. I prefer hugs.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
It might be a little premature now, but eventually I’d like to win a readers’ poll prize for the bakery.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That being gay was OK. Also that I wanted to be a pastry chef/bakery.
Because my partner was here. And I always wanted to open a bakery in a walking city. I also love being in the heart of America!