For three decades, the Randolph family has been baking up pastries in the DC area. From their beginning at the Watergate pastry shop to the business they now own in Arlington, Pastries by Randolph, the bakery, which is owned by Marc and Deborah Randolph along with Deborah’s sister, Cynthia McLachlen, has gained a loyal following of folks looking for delicious, handmade pastries. When Marc and Deborah’s son Justin married Penina about ten years ago, she brought more than just knowledge of baking and pastries to the family—she also knew a lot about keeping kosher.
Penina grew up religious, and when she decided to pursue a career in the food industry, she chose to focus on pastry because it is easier to make kosher than savory options. Upon joining the Randolph family and their family-owned business, she realized that the bakery was something she wanted her friends and family to be able to enjoy, too. While there was nothing truly preventing the bakery from being kosher, the process to get it there seemed difficult and potentially costly. And it was important to Penina and Justin to preserve the bakery’s original character and recipes while going kosher.
When Rabbi Shmuel Herzfled and Maharat Ruth Friedman introduced DC Kosher a few years ago, a kosher certification with no charge, making Pastries by Randolph started to look like a real possibility. Historically, kosher venues have had to pay for their certification, which can add a significant cost to an already costly business with low profit margins. In many cases, the cost of going kosher can make the switch prohibitive. With a free kosher certification, however, Penina saw a real chance to bring her kosher-keeping family and her Pastries by Randolph family together.
The Randolph family was excited by the endeavor, and after about a year of updating recipes to replace ingredients such as gelatin and cheese with kosher options, Pastries by Randolph was able to keep its original menu while making it kosher. In the year since getting the DC Kosher certification, the bakery has had no regrets about the change. New customers are happy to have a kosher place in Northern Virginia, and loyal customers are excited to have a kosher option for their kosher-keeping family members. The bakery has also arranged deliveries to synagogues like Ohev Shalom and is looking to expand.
Pastries by Randolph started as a family-owned business, and as the Randolph family has grown and expanded, the bakery has grown as well—now to include kosher-keeping families in the DC area, too.
Pastries by Randolph, 703-243-0070, 4500 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA, Monday-Friday 7 am–6:30 pm, Saturday 8 am–5 pm, Sunday 8 am–1pm. Kosher.
Photos courtesy of Pastries by Randolph