Food & Drink
FOOD: D.C.’s Union Market is New Again!
by Laurette Cidonnie Green
Union Market is back.
Beginning as an open-air market on the grounds of what is now the National Archives, this marketplace has seen many changes over the past two hundred plus years that it has been in existence. From the building of its first building in 1871, to its first relocation in 1931, to its current location, to its fall from prominence with the prohibition of open air meat and egg sales in 1962, to its forced competition with more modern distribution centers and local grocery stores and now supermarket chains.
What is an urban market center to do? Change the game. Newly geared towards an urban market looking for artisanal food options that are ready to eat, along with food and gift options, Union Market has found a new home in its old neighborhood.
As a not so closeted foodie, caterer, and lover of all things local, I am happy that another old face of the city has returned, bringing things local and tasty to the Gallaudet neighborhood and the reviving Capital city market area. It features fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and meats from vendors from across the region. However, Union Market is more than just a venue for buying local foods.
Marketed as an event venue, the old building has been redone and is open in white and chrome with vendors, event space, indoor and outdoor seating areas, and sliding glass garage doors that can be opened when the weather is nice to bring the old feel of the outdoor market.
As the holiday season is upon us, the market is now open five days a week: Wednesday through Friday, 11pm to 8pm and 8am to 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Salt & Sundry, a venue owned by metrocurean food writer Amanda McClements features an assortment of food and entertaining items that will get you through the holiday season.
And Bazaar Spices features a cinnamon for your holiday baking that will, “take your Sweet Potato or Apple pie,” as co-owner Monica Grover stated, “to a whole other level.” I agree. Although, on my most recent trip to the market I was looking for a crushed Aleppo pepper I use on everything. Their selection of spices and herbs, spice blends, salts, flours and teas appeals to the most international of menus and tastes.
Featuring prepared food vendors that you may know from other venues: like DC Empanadas and Curbside Cupcakes of the food truck circuit, or Rappahannock River Oysters, which provides local restaurants with oysters pulled from the salty and brackish waters where the Rappahannock river empties into the Atlantic, Union Market is a venue to sit down and have a meal, at a location and price that will appeal to the palates and wallets of a young audience with discerning taste.
Stop in for lunch or bring your coworkers to a new happy hour location where you can get a drink and also pick up food for dinner. Located at 1309 5th Street, Northeast, in Washington, DC, Union Market is a venue that is coming into its own in a city where it has always belonged.