To Market, To Market: Best Mom and Pop Shops

by July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,633 0

"Markets Borderstan"

Borderstan-area markets are diverse and full of delicious treats. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Ashley Lusk. Check out her blog, Metropoetrylis. Find her on Twitter @arlusk or email her at ashley[AT]

The aisles of the grocery stores in our neighborhoods demand some attention. Nowhere else in the District can you find such a confluence of diverse populations: the weekdays being dedicated to the mom and the nanny at Whole Foods, while the Sunday morning power-shop is reserved for hipster couples and athletes at Harris Teeter.

You also have the post-work Monday shopper who was too hungover to make it out on Sunday. And the 17th Street NW Safeway practically demands its own dating service since you will be making out with your fellow shopper should you both decide to go down an aisle at the same time.

Yet some would argue that as we’ve sprawled into the brightly lit gleaming aisles of our trusty chain store, we’ve also lost some of the mom and pop market shops that make our neighborhood truly locally owned. We’re here to set that record straight and show you the gems that reside right next door.

Hana | 2000 17th Street NW

When you need your Pocky fix, head to Hana Market. I go here to pick up both cabinet staples and obscure Japanese ingredients. Their website recommends visiting on Thursdays for fresh vegetables from Delaware.

Smucker Farms | 2118 14th Street NW

Head here to get the best of specialty and artisan items like pretzels from the Pennsylvania countryside, DC Kombucha and cookies and snacks from small, family owned producers. In addition, you can also grab a variety of ethically raised meat and dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables. This is also a pick up point for the Smucker Farms CSA.

Cork and Fork | 1522 14th Street, NW

If your wine knowledge extends as far as which red-grape variety of Three-Buck Chuck you’ll be imbibing, head to Cork and Fork immediately. Check out wine tastings on Saturdays at 3 pm throughout July. Not into vino? They also carry a solid selection of micro-brews. This store also accepts used corks as part of their cork-recycling program.

Seasonal Pantry | 1314 9th Street, NW
If you’re not already here for Chef Daniel O’Brien’s supper club menu, then stop in to pick up a variety of locally sourced market items. Among the shelves you’ll find canned vegetables, fresh sauces and Frenchie’s Handmade Pastries and Desserts (this week: Banana Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Country Sourdough). Borderstan Food Writer Laetitia Brock recommends the Bacon N’ Waffles ice cream sandwiches from Suga Mama Sweets. Also try the seasoned charcuterie (we’ve heard the maple breakfast sausage is incredible) or fresh cuts from the butcher.

Cork Market | 1805 14th Street, NW
Here’s a fact for you: Cork Market’s fried chicken was named a Top 10 Pick by Bon Appetit Magazine. If that’s not mouth-watering enough to make you fight traffic to get here, check out their wine selection with tastings, Monday through Saturday. And you must not forget that Cork Market also makes great Stumptown iced coffee and egg sandwiches.

Habesha |1919 9th St NW

True, you can buy some seriously hearty Ethiopian food for breakfast, lunch or dinner at Habesha, but while you’re waiting why not shop around their wonderfully miniature market for some meat, spices and even injera? Yelpers say this is the place to go for home-style Ethiopian food at great prices. Apparently, you can also pick up phone cards and DVDs.

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