Lavash, Armenia’s national bread, is a kitchen staple for the Armenian community. For years, there was no local source for fresh lavash—until Arman Manoukian came along.
House of Lavash, located at 7 Cushing Ave, Belmont, Massachusetts, promises its patrons light and delicious bread. Since the store’s opening in 2022, owner Manoukian has sparked a newfound appreciation for fresh lavash that has strengthened the local Armenian community. His bakery pursues one mission: “to make sure our community has access to freshly baked lavash flatbread.”
House of Lavash offers homemade goods baked daily, and Manoukian sees the benefits firsthand. “The production equipment is brought from Armenia, and the recipe is locally developed,” Manoukian told the Weekly during a recent visit. Imported lavash is frozen with yeast and preservatives to prolong shelf life, so it falls apart. Manoukian’s lavash is elastic and long-lasting, with no artificial ingredients. It can be frozen for up to eight months and refrigerated for up to ten days.
“We started with our own recipe, with no yeast and no preservatives, and it’s been a hit from the get-go. Everyone likes it. Some people say that even in Armenia there is no such lavash,” Manoukian said.
In addition to lavash, the bakery offers gata, an Armenian sweetbread pastry, and a variety of products “grown in Armenia, dried in Armenia, shipped from Armenia directly.” From this selection, Manoukian featured dried apricot slices, chewy and perfectly sweet.
Despite its reputation for delicious baked and imported goods, House of Lavash transcends the role of a bakery. “It’s a meeting place at this point. People come and talk,” Manoukian said.
These community ties are further woven into the store’s operations. The bakery is family-run, which “makes it a pleasure to be in the store,” Manoukian said. “With love and care, when it goes into production, it shows in the product.”
Surrounded by family and the local Armenian community, Manoukian has found significant support for his mission. He expressed, “It’s not only the family here, but the community that comes and talks to you about the importance of having fresh lavash.”
At House of Lavash, non-Armenians also have a new way to experience Armenian culture. The store website features information on lavash’s preparation, origin and cultural importance. It details the legend of Armenian king Aram, who hid lavash in his shield to stay strong during an archery competition with his Assyrian counterpart, as well as highlighting lavash’s place on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014. However, according to Manoukian, the real impact occurs in the store. “Initially, it took a while to introduce what lavash is. Now it has become their go-to bread. Those who have tried it are now regulars,” Manoukian said.
House of Lavash is a gateway to meeting fellow Armenians or being introduced to Armenian food and culture. However, first and foremost, it’s a place where you can find “the two best things” – quality bread and desserts.