A floor plan for the forthcoming Union Market. Photograph courtesy of Edens Group. Click on the image to view a larger version.
There's been a quiet buzz around the transformation of Union Market--formerly known as the historic Florida Avenue or Centre Market--since developer Edens signed on to the project in 2007. Delays due to the economy and a fire pushed the project back, but now the opening is finally approaching in June, accompanied by a slew of big industry names.
Edens president Jodie McLean says that the project is partly inspired by San Francisco's Ferry Building: a multi-purpose community space that joins permanent restaurants and vendors with a rotating lineup of artisans, entertainers, and farmers. Union Market will eventually expand to about 40 vendors, a third of which will be permanent, plus outdoor farmers markets on certain days.
The early names are exciting: Gina Chersevani, the well-known "Mixtress" who ended her reign at PS 7's bar to sign onto Jamie Leeds' Capitol Hill venture, is debuting a soda shop in the market with boozy takes on classics like egg creams and malts. Metrocurean blogger Amanda McClements is slated in talkswith Edens to possiblybring her kitchen style to a home store with a variety of items, from vintage farmhouse kitchen tables to pickles and jams. Carolyn Stromberg, who you make recognize from the cheese courses at Seasonal Pantry, is setting up her first cheese shop alongside another dairy favorite, Trickling Springs Creamery. Red Apron has a butchery planned for the spot, as well as a processing facility close by that will produce fresh meats and charcuterie for other Red Apron and Neighborhood Restaurant Group locations. On the seafood side, Rappahannock Oyster Co. has a bar for slurping bivalves as well serving small plates, micro brews, and wine. Other vendors include outposts of both Peregrine Espresso and Dolcezza, an Oh Pickles! stand, brick-and-mortar homes for the DC Empanadas and Takorean food trucks, and Lyon Bakery, a name synonymous with fresh breads on menus throughout the city.
McLean says one of Edens' goals is to use retail to build community. To that end there'll also be classes, demonstrations, and the occasional live performance in the market. The first could be considered a big-ticket Sunday Supper on June 3rd, a James Beard benefit dinner that includes toques like Bryan Voltaggio, Mike Isabella, Fabio Trabocchi, and many others. Check back in with us for coverage of the dinner, and more details on the market.