Washington’s newest dessert bar is so close to Vida and Number Nine, you could throw a chocolate malt cake truffle at it. Taking over a former auto repair shop, Milk Bar (1525 15th St., N.W.) opened its doors June 2, just in time for Capital Pride.
Chef, founder and CEO Christina Tosi is a Virginia native, but began her Milk Bar empire in New York in 2008 and has now opened 14 Milk Bar locations. This includes two other spots in Washington — at CityCenterDC, connected to the Momofuku restaurant; and at the Wharf, which also opened earlier this year. This Milk Bar, however, is standalone building, billed as a “flagship” that’s complete with desserts exclusive to the location, a classroom, an events space and outdoor communal picnic tables to show off colorful desserts to passers-by.
“I have tremendous respect for all of the creativity going on within the D.C. culinary scene right now, especially the rise of innovative neighborhood spots,” Tosi says. “In that spirit, we want Milk Bar Logan Circle to be a gathering space for neighbors, a destination for families and a place to learn and be inspired by others.”
And a destination heavy on the sugar.
For Tosi and her team of dessert scientists, almost nothing is too wacky or out of the box. Like her other locations, this flashy flagship starts with a menu of the famed Milk Bar classics: the Compost Cookie (pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, graham cracker, chocolate chips), B’day truffles (vanilla-infused milk rainbow cake, coated with white chocolate and rolled in rainbow cake crumb), cereal milk, soft serve, and yes, the controversially named crack pie (mostly butter, sugar and eggs but true to its name, is as addictive as pie could be).
Yet Tosi is truly showing off her baked-good chops at the Logan Circle shop, where she’s going to play with the offerings, with new items constantly popping out of the oven. One way she’s doing that is combining two breakfast faves: the subtly named Coffee+Donut, a “curated and crafted cone concoction.” It starts with a homemade cinnamon sugar-donut waffle cone layered with hot, thick chocolate fudge. It’s filled with soft serve and generously topped with donut crumbs, chocolate dough bites and a jump from something called coffee “sand.”
The fudge, while warm and gooey, is almost imperceptible under the soft serve but holds the whole thing together. The cone is drippy, messy and decadent — something plenty of people will want to stick their tongues in.
Customers in search of something with a measurement of protein may look to the savory breakfast items, called bombs. Exclusive to this Logan spot is the sausage, egg, and cheese bomb, along with others like the spinach-artichoke bombs, possibly one of the only items with something nominally green involved. The bombs tend to be heavy on the dough, but are otherwise interesting takes on breakfast items. Other offerings available only at this shop includes catering, ready-made carryout cakes and soft-serve toppings.
The team of crazy baked ball crafters here also hosts the Milk Bar Lab with a rotating R&D menu “where no ingredient combination is too wacky,” according to the shop. At these sessions, guests can play lab rats to taste test the team’s toothsome options. The new items will come out weekly on Wednesdays and will be displayed in glass cases in the front of the store. On a recent visit, the flavor of the week included a kimchi and blue cheese breakfast bomb — not something you’d eat every week, but that’s also part of the fun.
Milk Bar is also set to host an event series, called the Clubhouse, which will feature panels and interactive activities hosted by various speakers in the D.C. community, all had over desserts, snacks and other treats.
And through June 24, Milk Bar is celebrating Pride month with a special on the Iced Birthday Cake Latte. Proceeds from sales benefit the Blade Foundation. On June 15, Milk Bar hosted a sold-out Bake the Book Pride B’Day Cake class in partnership with the Blade and Absolut to benefit the Blade Foundation.
One of just a few commercial spaces on 15th Street, Milk Bar has the market cornered for your legal, comestible uppers, whether the coffee, the sundaes or the truffles. Pre- or post-workout, before or after the bars, there may be nothing better than heading over for that crack pie — or an extra squeeze of the crack pie caramel sauce.