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First Look at Clarendon’s New Cupcake Shop

Upscale cupcake bakeries are nothing new. Georgetown Cupcake, Baked & Wired, and Hello Cupcake are just a few of the gourmet baked goods establishments lining the streets of the District. Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe on 2150 N. Culpeper Street in North Arlington has won some online acclaim for its more traditional cupcakes. But Bakeshop, at 1025 N. Fillmore Street, has the distinction of being the first of its kind in Clarendon.

The store is a labor of love for chief cupcake maker Justin Stegall. Stegall’s sweets have been sold at various DC coffee shops, including Chinatown Coffee Co. (hat tip: Washington City Paper). Now, he finally has a storefront to call his own.

Bakeshop hasn’t officially opened yet, but Stegall has been inviting people to check out the store during special hours announced via Twitter. During Saturday’s snow storm, about 60 people stopped by for a so-called soft opening. Within five hours, the store was sold out.

(Pictures and an expert cupcake review, after the jump.)

The store opened up at 4:00 this afternoon, about an hour behind schedule. As curious first-time patrons trickled in, Stegall, still working in the back, iced each cupcake individually as it was ordered. The first customer of the day was a self-described “cupcake connoisseur,” who didn’t want her name published. Her verdict? Not the best she’s had, but pretty damn good.

The red velvet cupcake she ordered had just the right combination of light crunchiness on top and fluffiness in the middle, she said. The icing also got top marks for being tasty but not too heavy.

Bakeshop is also selling freshly-made cookies. The oatmeal-blueberry cookie being sold today was delicious. It was warm and soft, with a substantial but not overbearing amount of chunkiness.

Stegall’s friend and business partner, Robert Kim, says they hope to officially launch by next Saturday, in order to catch some Valentine’s Day business. However, the exact date for the opening is still in flux as last-minute details of the business get ironed out.

Inevitably, Kim was asked about the staying power of a primarily cupcake-based business. Kim says talk of the cupcake craze being a fad misses the point.

“I don’t think it’s a fad,” he said. “It’s a rediscovery of an American classic… an ideal treat.”

Look for more sweet treats to go on sale in the coming weeks, including pudding, cakes and pies. Bakeshop is also currently serving Wrecking Ball coffee, with espresso drinks in the works.

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