Grocery shopping at a crowded supermarket or big box store can be a harrowing experience, but now restaurants in the D.C. area are offering a more refined alternative. Many establishments have gotten into the retail business, with mini markets selling house-made foodstuffs and artisanal goods. That means after a nice meal, your nightcap could be a ball of burrata.
Next time you go out to dinner, you can kill two birds with one stone and stock your pantry at one of these spots with a built-in market.
At BlackSalt, the Fish Market is just as popular as the restaurant. The focus here is sustainable seafood, with a wide variety of fresh-caught fish on offer. The seafood selections include prized items like Nantucket Bay scallops, royal red shrimp, Florida stone crab claws, uni, sushi-grade fish, and more. Beyond seafood, there are specialty buys like fine olive oils, artisan cheeses, and local sausages. The menu of prepared foods ranges from New England clam chowder to smoked trout.
Now under one roof, Cork Wine Bar and Cork Market complement each other like Gruyère and Chardonnay. Upstairs, the wine bar has moved into a new 60-seat dining room with small plates and old world wine. Downstairs, the market has also grown, adding on a casual eatery and a tasting bar. The retail portfolio includes wine, cheese, charcuterie, and prepared food. The new combined space will also allow for more events and classes, like winemaker dinners and varietal-specific seminars.
This Italian mercato and osteria concept seamlessly combines seated service with a bustling retail counter. The market has an impressive array of imported Italian specialty goods, from salumi to anchovies, but there's also an emphasis on seasonal ingredients from local farms, including meat, fish, produce and dairy. Centrolina's kitchen pumps out fresh pasta, sauces, pastries and cookies to stock the shelves as well. There's no shortage of grab-and-go offerings, with a full breakfast menu, paninis, antipasti and salads available.
If you don't feel like dining in, 70% of Lupo Verde's menu can be purchased to-go from the market. To start, there are 50 different cheeses. Some, like ricotta and mozzarella, are made in house, while others are imported from Italy or made by local farms. In addition, there's a cornucopia of house-made Italian staples, including cured meats, fresh and dried pastas, jams, sauces and breads.
Neighborhood Restaurant Group has not one, but two meat-centric restaurants that are connected to neighboring butcheries. The Partisan in Penn Quarter and B Side in Mosaic District both have Red Apron Butcher as their partner-in-crime. The meat market is fully-stocked with house-cured charcuterie, as well as prime cuts of hormone- and antibiotic-free, humanely- and sustainably-raised beef, pork, lamb and poultry. There's also plenty of craft beer and wine, prepared dips and spreads and more.
Walking into Society Fair is a treat for the senses, with eye-catching goodies everywhere you look and enticing aromas in the air. The culinary emporium features a bistro serving brunch, lunch and dinner, as well as a chef-curated tasting menu in the demo kitchen. The market has everything from gourmet gifts, decadent cakes and breads baked daily to cocktail mixers, farmhouse cheeses and house-made meats. Sandwiches, pizzas, and other prepared foods are available as well.
Who says candy stores are just for kids? Chocolate connoisseurs should make a beeline for The Conche to indulge in all things cocoa. Named after the machine that plays a key role in the chocolate-making process, this massive space houses a restaurant and bar featuring chocolate-infused dishes and drinks, a 300-square-foot chocolate lab and a sweets shop. The lab has chocolate classes offered regularly, and it is situated in the center of the dining room so guests can watch the chocolatiers and confectioners at work. The boutique is ripe with artisan chocolates and signature sweets for all ages.
Hero image courtesy of Society Fair. (Photo Credit: Ken Wyner Photography.)
Lani Furbank is a freelance food, drinks, and lifestyle writer based in the D.C. area. She was born and raised in Northern Virginia, but stays true to her Welsh-Taiwanese heritage by exploring new places and experimenting with recipes from around the world.