There are a bunch of places to get breakfast in Richmond, many of which boast quality pastries and delicious coffee. Few, however, achieve the level established by Church Hill bakery Sub Rosa.
Sub Rosa is, first and foremost, a very tasty bakery. The establishment churns out a wide range of pastries and breads from its wood fire oven – the latter requiring you to check their weekly schedule to figure out which days have which loaves. The pastries also sell out quickly, making it important to visit Sub Rosa before 10 AM – and to bring a snack to eat while you wait in their truly unending line.
The Sub Rosa line is a beast all by itself – at the same time slow and long, and not undeserving of its own paragraph. On the day of my last visit, I was eighth in line when I arrived, which gave me enough time to eat a banana, finish the wordle, call my mom, and plot out which of their offerings I would consider bringing home before demolishing in store alongside their absolutely terrific coffee. To get in the door and order took 19 minutes.
That said, once you’re in, you’re in for a treat. A bread pudding brings chocolaty goodness in a familiar form and is cut large enough to become three meals. Croissants are flakey and buttery and dissolve in your mouth (and all over the table, but that’s part of the fun). Savory options range from standard and well-executed ham and cheese items to more exotic seasonal options like shishito peppers and cheese in a turnover, or a lamb borek.
The coffee is also truly delicious, especially the house Sub Rosa blend drip, which I would argue is best enjoyed in one of their diner mugs while watching the line slowly creep forwards – and realizing you forgot to buy bread!
The slow line is the only thing preventing Sub Rosa from a perfect score, but sometimes you don’t have 25 minutes.
4.5 / 5 Stars