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Oct 20, 2008 07:44 AM

Capitol Hill Lunch? Grocery Markets?

Hello, I'm new to Cap Hill and I'm asking for neat recommendations for lunch and also I can't find a supermarket in the general expanded neighborhood around the Hill. Many many thanks,

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  1. For grocery stores, we've got two Safeways (one in Hechinger Plaza and one at, say, 13th and E SE or so), which were spruced up a bit a couple of years ago, or the new Harris Teeter, which is on Pennsylvania Ave SE at about 13th (you have to loop around behind on I Street to get to the parking). The Harris Teeter is nicer, but it is much more expensive and the deli staff are the worst I've ever experienced in my entire life. You should also get to know Eastern Market -- it can't replace the supermarket entirely, but they have very good butchers in there and some other useful stores. If you need some expensive foodie stuff or a nice cake, we also now have a Marvelous Market just across from Eastern Market.

    As for lunch, it depends what you're looking for. If you're looking for a sandwich during the week, I'd recommend the G-Man at Mangialiardo's, which is on Pennsylvania Ave. SE between, say, 11th and 12th. It's only open during the week and only for breakfast/lunch, though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mighty Jim

      You all also have the Yes Market near Eastern Market and wasn't a Trader Joe's supposed to open up around there? I don't live there so not the best person to reply, but it sounds, luke, like you need to discover Eastern Market for sure.

      1. re: mselectra

        Good point -- the Yes Market at Pennsylvania and 7th is another good one, very useful if (a) you're organic, etc., and need a source of bee pollen or whatever, or (b) you need something a little high-brow (e.g., semolina flour), but don't feel like slogging up to Whole Foods. Also easy to hit on foot after you've been to Eastern Market.

        No Trader Joe's that I've heard of. We were supposed to get a Wegman's in Penn Quarter, but that deal fell through about a year ago. (Now it's going to be the significantly less delicious Textile Museum).

    2. My favorite lunch spot is Le Bon Cafe on the House side of the Hill. Its a cozy little French shop which makes yummy sandwiches, salads, lattes, and lavender lemon ade (I'm also a little addicted to their pan au chocolat). I'm addicted to all things French and enjoy going her for a relaxing lunch when I want a little feel of Paris.

      You can also check out Good Stuff Eatery for burgers, fries, and milk shakes. It can get crowded depending on when you go. The burgers have been a little inconsistent but their fries and shakes are very good.

      For Thai food I like Old Siam on 8th St. And there is of course Eastern Market: Market Lunch for lunch and the actual market for shopping.

      19 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        I thought Eastern market was only open on weekends.... but it is open during the week, too? Thanks for all the suggestions... Bon Cafe sounds good... I like sandwiches made with french bread.

        1. re: lukeinva

          The market itself is only closed on Mondays. Tortilla Cafe for quick and cheap food, Tune Inn for good and greasy burgers.

          1. re: lukeinva


            open 'til 7 weekdays, 6 on Saturday 5 on Sunday. weekend is when they close the street and the farmer's and flea market come in.

            also check out the Petite Cafe between the Market and Tortilla. run by a woman that used to work at Bower's the cheese vendor. we have sooo many more choices than 5 years ago.

            MightyJim - I find the Teeter often compares fairly well with Safeway if one shops carefully, although I also try to mix up my shopping so they both stay in business and in a continual price war.

            lukeinva: what part of the Hill? - it can mean so many things these days. f'rinstance there's only a half block difference between Christ Church Village and Barracks Row and a broader interpretation could put either in Eastern Market or Navy Yard (if it weren't for the freeway


            we get so insular that for me anything North of East Capitol is like the cousin you only see at Xmas and there are some who define it so strictly as not East of Lincoln Park or past Penn or Mass.

            1. re: hill food

              what used to be Hunan King (RIP cheap crap) next to the Little Pub is opening sometime soon as Sanphan Thai according to the work permits posted.

              more options!

              1. re: hill food

                Sanphan is open - nothing too exciting on the menu (haven't tried it yet, but they deliver!) room looks nice.

                what the heck has happened to Marty's and Today's Pizza? I was never too crazy about either (fine for what they were), but they always seemed busy. both closed for the last week or so.

                I heard Bread & Chocolate was closing, but the most I've heard about replacement leads me to think another Pain Quotidien.

                the finish carpentry at Matchbox is looking good.

                1. re: hill food

                  i recall reading in one of the local blogs that Marty's has been sold to another restaurant developer. it shouldn't stay vacant for long.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    Ooooo really? Any clue what's going in?

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      It will be Cava, a second location of the Rockville Greek mezze restaurant, on Tom Sietsema's top restaurants list for 2008. Should be a good addition--nearly anything would be better than Marty's--and certainly better than Taverna over on Pennsylvania Ave.

                      Yes, Le Pain Quotidien is going into the B&C space. Also, Ben and Jerry's next to Montmartre is closing, and Montmartre will expand into the space. And an Italian restaurant is opening in the sports store space across from Eastern Market, near Tortilla Cafe and Tunnicliff's. Lots of things happening on the Hill!

                      1. re: Tujague

                        Also, there supposedly is a new martini lounge/restaurant open next to Trusty's on the 13th block of Penn, I think it's called Wisdom? Anyone know anything about it?

                        1. re: Tujague

                          Oh that's exciting! Now we just need a good sandwich shop on this block. Since I work here I've been dieing for a great, affordable sandwich place. I guess Le Pain fills that role.

                          1. re: Elyssa

                            "affordable sandwich place"

                            what is the skinny on Firehouse cafe? they replaced the scummed plexi-windows, but even after all these years I'm still a little skeeved.

                            1. re: Elyssa

                              I dunno about affordable. I can't find any prices on their website, just calorie counts. And the reviews of the Georgetown LPQ seem hit-or-miss. I'll stick with Mangialardo's.


                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                I think they only sell open-faced sandwiches ("tartines") and they all cost around $10-$12 iirc. It's not a cheap place, but I do enjoy it for an occasional leisurely lunch.

                            2. re: Tujague

                              holy cow, I e-mailed Cava after Sietsema's piece but it bounced back. cool - just 'round the corner!

                              sorry to hear B+J is closing esp. after the old school ice cream place on 8 closed (God, 6 years ago?) Baskin's at 8 + Penn just doesn't do it for me - rather make it myself.

                              especially sorry to see a Mom and Pop place like the sports store go. never a patron, but variety is key for a real neighborhood.

                              1. re: hill food

                                I'm sorry to see Ben and Jerry's closing as well. During slow work days in the summer I would go and treat myself to an ice cream cone. And I agree...I prefer Ben and Jerry's the Baskin Robin's for some reason.

                                1. re: Elyssa

                                  I read that the owner of lola's on barracks row has bought finn maccool's with an eye to improving the food and another bar/ grill with an unimaginative name is moving in on 8th.

                                  1. re: chasiubao

                                    The food at Lola's is actually quite good. I've had the grilled salmon salad and some other fish sandwich type thing and they were both great! Their fries are also really yummy.

                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                      Does anyone know when Le Pain Quotidien is opening?

                                      1. re: beauxgoris

                                        dunno, but they're aggressively recruiting staff on Craigslist.