It’s easy to imagine a certain arrogance on the part of New York- and Los Angeles-based chains when they open an outpost here in Washington.  “We’ll show them how to REALLY do <insert trendy food here>,” we can hear the smug CEO chuckle as he maps out his next conquest.  Maybe it’s an inferiority complex on our part, or a recognition of the fact that we’ve still got a way to go to be recognized as a real food city.

Whatever the reason, the reality rarely fits our expectations.  DC establishments usually take on their own character, diverging in ways both simple and significant from their origins.  And they can actually bring new takes to even the most saturated concepts.

Like cupcakes.

When Crumbs Bake Shop opened across from H&M on 11th Street, it caught its share of flack for coming into a market that we all know is more than covered when it comes to cupcakes.  We’ve even got a reality TV show based on a DC cupcake shop, for crying out loud!  What could these New Yorkers bring to the field that we hadn’t already seen?

As it turns out, they fill an interesting and unexpected niche.  Check it out after the jump.

Crumbs is Kosher.  Their Kashruth certification is on display right there in the front window.  And with this being one of the last nights of Hanukkah, we wanted to let you know that they’re offering special orders for a variety of sweets including the oh-so-addictive rugelach in several flavors.  Whether your tastes run to the traditional or you’re more likely to be tempted by a Star of David cupcake, Crumbs has your number.

Much like Sticky Fingers (the vegan bakery in Columbia Heights), though, Crumbs isn’t content to just fill its niche.  They come out swinging with as many as FIFTY different varieties of cupcake.  Sure, a couple of them remind you that the company is based in New York (one is named after Howard Stern’s producer Gary “Baba Booey” Dell’Abate), but there are enough chioces here to satisfy just about any sweet tooth.  And at $3.75 for most varieties, they fall well within the norms of their countless local competitors.

Kind of over cupcakes already?  Not to worry.  Crumbs is a full-service sweets bakery – and they even serve hot beverages on site.  You can opt for a big, chewy cookie instead of a cupcake, or you can turn your attention to what seems to be the next big dessert-snack trade: whoopie pies.  When I was in there they were offering both traditional and pumpkin varieties of the creme filled sandwich cakes.

If you’d like to try Crumbs’ special Hanukkah treats, you’d better act quickly.  They request 24 hours’ notice, so you’ve got just enough time to place an order for that eighth crazy night.

And once the holidays have settled down and you’re ready to check out the rest of their menu, be sure to wash it down with that hot caramel apple cider…

Crumbs Bake Shop
604 11th Street, NW
Washington, DC
Crumbs Bake Shop on Urbanspoon