By Emmanuel Touhey - 02/13/13 05:43 PM ET
Sara Fatell and Jamilyah Smith-Kanze
Grassroots Gourmet, Bloomingdale, Washington, D.C.
Grassroots Gourmet moved its catering operation into a newly minted storefront on Rhode Island Avenue in November, serving the Bloomingdale-LeDroit Park community and beyond.
These two cousins complement each other. Jamilyah Smith-Kanze describes herself as “master of the spreadsheet,” while Sara Fatell, who does most of the baking, is “master of the mixer.”
Taste is paramount here — you won’t find fondant on the menu, no matter how beautiful it might look.
“Our goal is to fill it with good food. We focus more on the taste and the way it makes you feel,” says Smith-Kanze.
Grassroots admits to attracting off-beat couples, and it’s just fine with that. Smith-Kanze and Fatell pride themselves on the personal touch, and believe that good things come in small packages — namely cupcakes and whoopie pies. You won’t get a cake larger than 10 inches.
The first meeting with a couple takes about an hour; stories are shared, flavors and combinations discussed and ideas shared. All the information is then entered into a spreadsheet.
“At the end they feel lost and we feel better,” jokes Fatell.
New ideas and combinations are born from there, and within a month the couple is invited back to the bakery for a tasting. All cakes are served in cupcake form.
“We bring you a plate and run you through all the things you wanted to taste,” said Fatell. “Then we sit and talk about it and we try to work with them to narrow it down.”
Grassroots requires minimum order of 1 dozen items per flavor. Cupcakes start at $25 a dozen, cakes at $45, pies at $28 and whoopie pies at $22.
The bakery has already become a neighborhood favorite, and baked goods fly off the display case all too quickly. If either woman catches your eye as you pass by their window, you’ll have to stop in and you won’t be allowed to leave empty-handed — nor would you wish to.