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Sneak peek: RareSweets coming to CityCenterDC (and it's not too 'cutesy')

Friday - 7/25/2014, 5:18pm  ET

RareSweets owner and pastry chef Meredith Tomason might not have been able to articulate how she wanted her new CityCenterDC bakery to look, but she knew exactly what she didn’t want. It involved words like “cutesy,” “lacey” and “feminine.”

The cakes, cookies and other pastries will be sweet enough.

That’s why the lines and colors planned for the RareSweets space — designed by Allison Cooke of Core architecture and design firm — are clean and neutral.

Neutral-colored paneling will cover the walls, augmented by cut-outs meant to recall old-fashioned cookbooks and pie-savers. Instead of the Carrera marble more typical in bakeries, the display case features a mink marble with very regular lines. And the floor, with large hexagon tiles, reflects the old-fashioned black-and-white hexagons of old, said Cooke.

The idea was to mirror Tomason’s baking style, which takes old-fashioned recipes and reimagines them for the modern palate.

Think an updated version of a 1910 chocolate layer cake recipe, or red velvet cake made with something that would naturally turn it red: beets. There are also Tomason’s family recipes, some of which, like the cocoa crinkles, don’t need tweaking.

“That’s a recipe I grew up making. I’m not changing them at all,” she said. “They’re the perfect food.”

The bakery will offer a range of retail treats, including cookies and brownies, as well as slices of layer cakes, Tomason’s signature mini-Bundts and breakfast pastries. Passersby will also be able to see a special treat of the day in a jewel box-style case in the front window.

Tomason’s bakery is the first local business to be announced for CityCenterDC, the massive retail, office and residential development in downtown D.C. on the site of the former convention center.

When Tomason moved to D.C. from New York a little over a year ago to launch her own business, she didn’t necessarily think that she’d be opening in the city’s most anticipated development in years. She launched her wholesale business out of Union Kitchen last spring and has been looking for brick-and-mortar space for the past year.

“I wanted this to be in a location that is at the forefront of things here, and CityCenter is definitely that,” Tomason said. “I hope that people appreciate us being there among all these bigger brands. It's very exciting and slightly scary, but we're doing everything we can to make sure everyone’s excited."

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.