Opening of the first DC Wegmans near Tenleytown DC
Wegmans DC’s shelves weren’t fully stocked when we visited, but here’s what the grocery store usually looks like. Photograph courtesy of Wegmans.
Opening a supermarket doesn’t usually elicit the breathless excitement of the first (ever!) Wegmans in the district, especially in the Upper Northwest, home to the Social Safeway and Just-Walk-Out Whole Foods, among others. Still, Wegmans’ massive market in the City Ridge development in Tenleytown is drawing tons of hype ahead of the grand opening on Wednesday, July 13. Mayor Bowser took a walk the alleys. Local news crews camped outside. popville double it is an “84,000 square foot Shangri-La”. There’s even a Women of Wegmans fan club who will show up, dressed to the nines, for the 9am opener.
So what’s up with all this fuss?
Wegmans newbies like me may be skeptical. How great can a chain of 107 stores be? Turns out it’s pretty awesome.
The biggest appeal of DC Wegmans is that it’s a literal, rare one-stop-shop. Customers can buy liquor or wine, necessities like dog food and paper towels, non-essentials like fancy cheese or personalized poke bowls, and seemingly everything in between. . The store offers 70,000 grocery items, specialty departments for fresh cut flowers and home entertainment, a pharmacy and a Burger Bar. Opening hours are also extended – from 6am to midnight – and there is parking for 750 people under the market in addition to online shopping, delivery and curbside pickup options.
Unlike most other DC supermarkets, Wegmans sells 500 varieties of global spirits, vermouths and sakes. This is in addition to an equally long selection of beers and ciders (including DIY six-packs). An extensive wine offering ranges from economy bottles at Chateau Lafite Rothschild to $1,200 in the fancy temperature-controlled wine cellar. Pair the booze with plentiful sections of cheese and charcuterie, and the party is set.
The market offers indoor and outdoor seating for 160 people with plenty of in-store dining options: a family-friendly burger bar and pizzeria; customizable salad and sandwich stations; self-service buffets with soups or Asian dishes; a raw bar with poke bowls and sushi (including cooked and vegetarian options); a bakery loaded with homemade pastries and donuts; and a Buzz Cafe.
Ambitious home cooks can catch live lobsters, whole ribs and delicacies like caviar or foie gras. But there are also accessible family packs. Seafood and meat products come in different stages of preparation: ready-to-cook raw platters of marsala chicken or langoustines with prawns, ready meals such as Peruvian-style chicken and hot dishes to take away. The same goes for meatless options, such as ready-made veggie burger patties. A lush produce department mixes fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms as well as domestic growers and items from Wegmans Organic Farm & Orchard in Canandaigua, New York.
For the uninitiated, Wegmans has the allure of a Costco when it comes to bulk item sizes and prices; Whole Foods for specialty ingredients and organic discoveries; and Giant for accessibility and convenience. But as one staff member of the store’s 450 employees pointed out to us, “It’s just Wegmans, there’s nothing else really like it.”
Wegmans DC. 41 Ridge Square, NW.