"Hang out in a supermarket on a weekend night" is not something you would expect in a city with a lively bar and restaurant scene. Maybe in the suburbs, when the other nearby restaurants are chain restaurants. But in Washington? And within walking distance of Bluejacket, Chloe, All Purpose and Salt Line?
On a Saturday night, at South Capitol Hill Whole Foods, which opened in a corner of Southeast Washington on October 19, there were only a few seats not quite at the Navy Yard and not quite Capitol Hill. The truth is, there are many reasons to go to this new grocery store after the weekly shopping.
Do not you want to wait for a bartender to pour you a glass of rosé? Feeling undecided and tasting different wines? I do not like talking to people. The Self-Serve Wine Bar automatically dispenses 16 options in one, three or six ounce pour. Purchase a rechargeable card from the bartender, slide it into the chic Enomatic wine cooler and press a button above your favorite bottle. That's it.
On recent visits, the wines started at $ 2 for an ounce splash and were up to $ 19 for six ounces of Ridge East Bench zinfandel. There are tasting notes on the menu next to the glass, if you need to know more before you throw that coin on a glass of wine. (Disclosure: Whole Foods is owned by Amazon.com Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, owns the Washington Post, but we still have to pay $ 19 for our wine like everyone else.)
And yes, you can carry a glass in the store while you "drink and shop". But it's also alright to sit down and chat with friends or open your laptop and get the job done (with free Wi-Fi, no less).
Inexpensive local craft beer
Craft beer can be expensive. The South Capitol Hill Whole Foods has a dozen taps – including an apple cider – and almost everything costs $ 5 per liter. Not $ 5 for a 12 ounce cup, but $ 5 for a 16 ounce glass. There are exceptions, such as Union's Double Duckpin Double-IPA, which was $ 5 for five ounces (in exceptional stalkware). However, last weekend, 9 out of 12 offers were only $ 5. Plus, everything was made in Washington, Maryland or Virginia, with RAR (Cambridge) and Stone (Richmond) the breweries farthest away.
Yes, there is a happy hour: 1 liter of beer and wine glasses from 4pm to 6pm. Monday till Thursday. While it ends up on the early side, it is one of the cheapest options in the neighborhood.
Wings, cheesesteaks and other delicious things
Whole Foods has worked with local restaurateurs elsewhere in DC, including Erik Bruner-Yang, whose Paper Horse concept can be seen in Foggy Bottom and H Street, and Kazuhiro "Kaz" Okochi of Kaz Sushi Bistro, whose sushi Capitol Hill can be found at several locations, including the South. The headliner of the new store is Philly Wing Fry, created by Kwame Onwuachi, the top chef's former head chef, now at Wharf's Kith and Kin.
Philly Wing Fry debuted in 2016 as a pop-up on the Union Market before chef Shaw Bijou became famous, opened, crashed and burned. While the three menu items – cheesesteaks, wings and waffle fries – can be found all over the city, these are the Bentley versions. The cheesesteak is made with 50-day-old rib-eye fumes and smoked provolone topped with pickled and caramelized onions and served on beef-boiled bread. The tamarind-glazed wings are suffocated in a sweet and sultry mumbo sauce. Waffle fritters are thrown into Ethiopian Berbere spice. Of course you pay for it: A combo box with a seven-inch submarine, four wings and a fry pile costs $ 20, though it's more filling and raves about friends rather than food with similar price.
And if you prefer a salad, pasta, sushi or pizza, you can pick it up and bring it to the bar. Creative people can assemble their dinner at the Avocado Toast Bar before combining it with something from their own wine station. Do not forget to pay at the check-out desk.
Whole Food South Capitol Hill101 H St. SE.
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