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Eastern Market, what is it and where is it?

  • r

Due for our fifth trip to DC soon (we love weekend trips here!) and we're determined to find the Eastern Market. Our first stop after our four hour drive in the morning is to Murky Coffee. It's there that we always see signs for Eastern Market. We tried to follow the signs on two different trips and got completely lost both times.

Our question to you is what exactly is the Eastern Market and where the heck is it? We have GPS navigation so an intersection or address would be a big help.

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  1. I'm sympathetic to your plight. When we first tried to go to Eastern Market (on foot from the Eastern Market Metro station) we had a heck of a time finding it. We had just about given up when we stumbled upon it by accident. The signage in the area isn't terribly helpful.

    I'll leave it to someone who knows the area to give you directions.

    1. Hi - Plugging the address of
      7th St. & North Carolina Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. should get you there. It is a little tricky to find if you aren't familiat with the area. If you get lost, stop and ask somebody - most people can point you in the right direction. I used to live within walking distance a few years ago and went frequently. It is a small market compared to most city markets. On the weekends it's a little bigger b/c people set up outside. But there is a great cheese stall where you can taste anything you want and a good butcher. And if it is still there the little deli/grill sells good french toast and fried oyster sandwiches in season. But don't be surprised by it's small size. Now I am feeling nostalgic. I'm going to have to go the next time I am back in the city. Have fun.

        1. Eastern Market is one of the few public markets left in Washington, DC, and the only one retaining its original public market function. It has been in continuous operation since 1873 and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

          Set your GPS for 225 7th Street, SE. The Metro Stop is Eastern Market, on the Orange and Blue lines. The building is on 7th between Pennsylvania and North Carolina Avenues, SE.
          The Eastern Market website is http://www.easternmarketdc.com/about.php

          The Market is the "town square" of the Capital Hill Historic District, the largest intact Victorian neighborhood in the US.
          Inside the South Hall are specialized food vendors selling flowers, cheese, fish, meat, poultry, bakery items, produce, fresh pasta, etc. On Saturdays, the Farmers' Line sheds are filled with local growers; there is a large flea market on Saturdays and Sundays at the Market and across the street in a schoolyard.

          Market Lunch inside the Market has good sandwiches that people line up for and breakfast during the week. There are several good restaurants on the surrounding blocks. Montmartre is terrific. Tunnicliff's was recently purchased by the owners of Stoney's. The Salvadoran place at 210 7th also has good food.
          Lots of other small stores in the area, including Uncle Brutha's Hot Sauce, Marvelous Market, Bread and Chocolate, Port City Java, Murky Coffee, Yes! Natural Foods.
          The used bookstore on C St, SE, has lots of out-of-print cookbooks.

          People in the neighborhood do their marketing at Eastern Market. It's not a frou-frou market and the prices are reasonable. The kind of place that sells hand-cleaned chittlins and foie gras. Embassies shop there and they take food stamps. I stop in to buy one lemon but it takes 15 minutes because I run into 3 people I know.
          All of us consider it a true neighborhood treasure as much as the local food source.

          1. Sorry to be snippy, but I can't believe anyone going to Murky Coffee (especially on a weekend) could miss Eastern Market. It is one block away and attracts a large crowd. It is not really a specialty market, but it is a special market. You also could have asked someone on the street. I've lived in the area for 18 years and still morn the loss of the salmon cakes at the Market Lunch. It is best visited as a weekend scene. On Saturdays there is more of a food market outside and on Sunday's it is mostly a craft market. Inside, it has nice food shops, but definitely nothing particularly fancy unless you want to buy a really great Turkey and lug it back with you in the car.

            1. Now that I know where to find it, is there any food there that me just must try? We'll be visiting Saturday monring so something for breakfast or maybe an early lunch would be what we're looking for.

              1. ChewFun, when I see the word MARKET I think of an outdoor farmer's market type of market and that's what we had been looking for when trying to find it. Now that I know I'm looking for a building and not an outdoor market, I'm sure it'll be easier find. Thanks though.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Rick

                  Actually, there is both. Inside is a reasonably good market, but nothing really inspiring unless you are a local shopper and it's your neighborhood. Outside on the Saturdays there are farmers outside, but according to the market rules, they can sell stuff they didn't grow. You might look in on the Sunday morning Dupont Circle Farmer's Market. It is right at the northern exit to the Metro Station. At Eastern Market, the Market Lunch is a great, but crowded place for chow. You've already found Murky Coffee which is a great place except for the fact that they painted over a great mural inside the place there from a previous owner. Port City Java and Tunnicliffs (once great) are blah. Montmartre is excellent.

                  Have fun.

                2. For breakfast, go to market lunch (inside the Market bldg on the north end).

                  For lunch, if budget allows, you can't beat Montmartre.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Rosco1

                    Market Lunch no longer serves breakfast on Saturday.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      Yes, it does. I was just there a few weeks ago. They announced a year or so ago that they were ending it, then changed their mind.

                      But, Rick, keep in mind that the lines for breakfast are HUGE, the accomodations spartan, and lingering is not permitted--so budget your time accordingly and keep your expectations low vis-a-vis comfort.

                  2. I read about Tortilla Cafe across the street from Northern Market. Would this be another good spot for breakfast? How are the breakfast burritos?

                    1. I've never been to Tortilla Cafe for breakfast, but they are good but nothing special. Bread and Chocolate is pretty, but also not that special. You could go to Le Bon Cafe', which isn't at Eastern Market but isn't too long a walk away. It's on 2nd Street around the corner from Penn. Ave. and across the street from the Library of Congress. They serve a mean frittata, great coffe, nice pastries and awesome french toast. I don't believe they do scrambled eggs and stuff like that, but it is a great little place (and I mean little).

                      1. The line at Market Lunch on Saturday mornihg is terrible! Bread and Chocolate is not acceptable. Shudder.
                        In the 300 block of Penn, SE. you can find the Tune Inn for a great greasy spoon breakfast or Hawk and Dove for a good selection of terrific breakfasts. Bloody Marys at either. Next to Le Bon Café is Pete's Diner, another basic place, frequented by the neighborhood locals.

                        1. Eastern Market on Saturday is wonderful for handmade jewelry, photography, handbags, and other acoutrements. I'll second about the farmer's market at Eastern Market...most of the sellers there just pick their stuff up from a warehouse. If you want to check out a producer's farmer's market (or mostly producers), try Dupont Circle on Sunday or Arlington (in Courthouse) on Saturday. The market breakfast inside the building is quite the attraction and pretty tasty southern-type fare IMHO, but it's a bit of a time investement and a hassle in terms of seating, etc.

                          1. does no one else really dig the crab cake sandwiches at eastern market? theyre really cheap and a great bargain.

                            1. There seems to be some confusion on this thread about what Eastern Market is and isn't. The South Hall of the historic structure is a Food Market, not a farmers' market. Two different things.

                              The Food Market has permanent stalls, rented to vendors, that are open 6 days a week. http://www.easternmarketdc.com/south_... The Glasgows at Union Meat are butchers not ranchers. Melvin Inman at Market Poultry doesn't raise chickens but he knows his suppliers in NC. The Calomiris Family buys its produce from wholesalers, but have selected top quality for 60 years. The cheesemonger isn't a cheesemaker. This is no different from large food markets in other cities like NYC, Phila, LA, Seattle, Baltimore, etc.
                              They are specialty vendors in that they do one thing very well and can special order exactly what you need. Many of them have organic products and an extremely wide range of high quality goods. You have to ask for things sometimes because everything is not displayed.
                              Food markets are not grocery stores so they don't sell dry goods as do Safeway, Whole Foods, Shoppers Food, etc. You won't find toilet paper or breakfast cereal.
                              Food markets don't always don't sell "gourmet" foods like fancy mustards, spices, etc. although some large ones do.

                              Farmers'markets are temporary because farmers farm and only set up for a brief time to sell their wares - often only one or two days a week. They're also seasonal and, in the DC area, we're limited for winter produce.
                              The Farmers'Line at Eastern Market is a farmers'market on Saturdays and there are several farmers who have been coming for years to sell what they grow, including Dan Donahue who sells organic products. The others are from WVa and Md. http://www.easternmarketdc.com/farmer... There are other vendors selling non-farm goods.
                              The Dupont Circle farmers'market is one of six operated in the DC area by Fresh Farms Markets which was started in the late 90s in St. Michaels, MD, by Ann Yonkers. http://www.freshfarmmarkets.org/marke... The others are in Foggy Bottom, Penn Quarter, H Street, Silver Springs and Camp Springs. Dupont Circle is the only one offering a "Winter Market."
                              Fresh Farms Markets are wonderful, offering very special products. The downside is that they are seasonal, only open for 3 or 4 hours one day each week, and prices are high. If you miss them, you're out of luck or if you market more frquently for fresh things, you can't depend on them. The variety they offer is not as wide as the seasonal farmers' market at RFK Stadium which requires mostly farmer-produced goods and has much lower prices. It draws enormous crowds because this is something people really want. A good sign.

                              There is a need for both types of markets and for decent dry goods and specialty "gourmet" items too. No real Chowhound can be satisfied with one store. Not even two or three. We need a lot of choices but we need to know what they really are and what each can offer.

                              1. Rick,
                                Market Lunch is all about the experience. It's busy and crowded but everyone knows the drill and it works. Wait politely, don't block the isle, order concisely, and don't dawdle at the table once you get your food. And don't sit until you have your food (although I have "reserved"a spot at one of the outside tables while my husband is in line). I'd recommend you do it. It opens at 8am. Go early. If there is a wait, which there always is, send one of you to Murky to get a coffee to go then enjoy it while you wait. Or, as the WaPo reports today, get the hot chocolate at Murky!
                                The signature breakfast items are the legendary "bluebucks" which are blueberry buckwheat pancakes, and the "brick" which is a greasy spoon breakfast in a bun. I also get the crab cake benedict, which is good for the price.