Crowds of customers lined up outside Bakeshop, a new bakery in the Georgetown neighborhood, to get a first taste of the desserts for sale during the grand opening celebration.
Justin Stegall, owner and founder of Bakeshop, opened the new storefront at 3210 Grace St. NW on Nov. 10 in the Grace Street Collective, a small market space that is home to a smoothie bowl shop, a coffeehouse and other small food and clothing shops. The bakery serves homemade cupcakes, cakes, macarons, pies and drinks.
The grand opening celebration, held Nov. 13, was a success, with many customers visiting the new storefront, according to Stegall.
“There are a lot of Georgetown students, which has been really cool, and the first few days have been nice,” Stegall said in an interview with The Hoya. “We’re just getting our feet wet and trying to understand the flow of things here because every time you open a store, each one is its own entity.”
According to Eric Bolden, a customer who sampled a Vietnamese iced coffee, an assortment of cookies and some macarons, everything tasted delicious but the macarons were the standout.
“I took a macaron cooking class in Paris, and these are the best,” Bolden said in an interview with The Hoya. “They’re the closest thing to what I’ve had in France.”
Stegall started his baking career in the kitchen of his mom’s house, eventually leading to the opening of the first Bakeshop location in Arlington, Va., in 2010, followed by a Falls Church, Va. location in 2019. Opening a location in Georgetown was always the ultimate goal, according to Stegall, who has been trying to obtain a storefront in the neighborhood since the start of his business.
“I was looking for space in Georgetown 12 years ago but was just never able to find a spot,” Stegall said. “It’s always been in the back of my mind to do something here, and then this space became available.”
The COVID-19 pandemic hit shortly after the opening of the Falls Church location, forcing Bakeshop to continue operations by offering takeout services for cakes and deliveries to local hospitals.
Takeout sales allowed the bakery to remain open while abiding by public health restrictions, according to Stegall.
“We went through all the precautions, and we were lucky to get through it, and what really saved us was the fact that we’re mostly a takeout business,” Stegall said. “We don’t rely on people to sit inside and eat, so we were able to continue to do business throughout the whole thing just by limiting people in the shop.”
Regular customers from other Bakeshop locations came to celebrate both the new location and Bakeshop’s survival through the pandemic, according to Alyson Fligg, an employee at Bakeshop.
“It has been a fun day,” Fligg said in an interview with The Hoya. “This is our celebration of opening, so we have seen a really nice crowd, and a lot of our regular customers from around the area have come to see us.”
Rohan Agarwal, who came from Arlington, Va., to celebrate the grand opening, was excited to have a new dessert option in the area.
“I feel like a lot of the bakeries in Georgetown are mainly cupcakes,” Agarwal said in an interview with The Hoya. “Bakeshop has a bunch of variety, and their macarons are the best ever.”
Northern Virginia Magazine declared Bakeshop the winner in the Bakery/Patisserie category for its Best of NoVa 2021: Food feature, applauding its vegan options, ice cream cookie sandwiches and macarons.
According to Stegall, employees having the opportunity to interact with the local community is an integral part of the Bakeshop experience.
“I love working with students, so I’m excited to employ some Georgetown students here,” Stegall said. “We have a lot of kids from high school to college to just out of college who work here, and it’s a nice collective group.”
Stegall looks forward to connecting with the Georgetown community by providing high-quality and delicious dessert options at Bakeshop.
“We do it the right way,” Stegall said. “We take a lot of pride in it, and everything is top-notch.”