If you’ve become a little too familiar with the InstaCart delivery person during the pandemic, it may be time to switch things up. Starting today, there’s a new option for both grocery delivery and in-person pickup in DC: Foxtrot Market.
The group, which has 10 locations in Chicago and Dallas, has launched its first DC spot in Georgetown. It will open a Mount Vernon Triangle outpost on March 22, and plans to open two more DC markets later in 2021.
Foxtrot Market is like a curated, boutique corner store, with artisanal groceries and beer and wine that can be delivered within DC in under an hour via its app. The shop also has a cafe and an outdoor patio for a socially-distanced coffee or lunch.
Co-founders Mike LaVitola and Taylor Bloom started the group in 2015, while LaVitola was an MBA student at the University of Chicago. “No one was stoked to go get a coffee or an awesome sandwich or discover a new cool local ice cream or anything like that,” says LaVitola of the vibe at old-school corner markets. “And so the idea was, why don’t we take kind of all those traditional convenience categories, and re-merchandise them with stuff we love?”
The group originally started out as just e-commerce and delivery, but when Foxtrot opened a Chicago warehouse with a coffeeshop, folks kept stopping by. LaVitola says he quickly realized that people wanted a third space to hang out in their neighborhood, somewhere they could meet a friend for lunch and also pick out a new wine to have with dinner or grab some milk. The goal is for both DC locations to be all-day destinations: Folks can pop by in the morning for coffee or a pastry, come in at lunch to order food or pick up something from the grab-and-go section, and come back later in the evening for groceries or for happy hour (the Georgetown spot has wines by the glass and beer on-tap).
When it came time to expand to a new market—Foxtrot has eight locations in Chicago, and two in Dallas—DC seemed like the right fit because of its unique mix of neighborhoods, says LaVitola, each with its own character. The Georgetown spot is designed for students or tourists to sit and hang out, while the Mount Vernon Triangle location has a flow that makes it easy for office workers and commuters to quickly grab and go.
Another reason the Foxtrot group selected DC: It has a big local maker community, and the group places a premium on amplifying small, regional brands. Vigilante Coffee is handling the caffeine in the DC markets, and the group partnered with local chef Erik Bruner-Yang for dishes like a mapo tofu bowl and pork-and-chili tacos. The DC markets will also feature local favorites like Ice Cream Jubilee, Anxo cider, and Mason Dixie biscuits.
Foxtrot originally took a more organic approach to discovering local makers, but this year the group launched its Up & Comers program. More than 900 small food-and-beverage groups from across the country submitted samples, and a panel of judges selected finalists and semi-finalists. Northern Virginia cookie outpost Surprisingly Baked was one of the winners, and other local groups like Nomad Dumplings, MixiSquares, Rako Coffee Roasters, and Capitol Cider House were semi-finalists. All these groups will have products available at Foxtrot’s DC locations.
And while the past year has been hard on most retail spots, Foxtrot has actually grown during the pandemic. Last month, the group received $42 million in venture capital, with investors including the likes of restauranteur David Chang, Sweetgreen co-founder Nicolas Jammet, and former Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb. The group will use the funding to expand its operations and footprint, says LaVitola—originally Foxtrot was only going to open two DC locations this year, but now is expanding that reach to four.
As it turns out, a year in which people’s worlds became much smaller actually made Foxtrot’s emphasis on community more important than ever: The group saw in-person traffic to it stores expand over 2020, says LaVitola. “People are stuck at home, they’re working from their childhood bedrooms, they’re like, all going crazy,” he says. “And the stores were a great place to get out, grab a latte, explore wine for 15 minutes, find out about a new pint of ice cream—just get out, have some fun, have a little bit of joy in their day, before going back.”
Foxtrot’s Georgetown location is open Sunday through Thursday from 7 AM to 11 PM and Friday through Saturday from 7 AM to 12 AM. The Mount Vernon Triangle spot will have the same operating hours once it is open. With every delivery order placed March 1 and March 2, Foxtrot will donate the delivery fees to Bruner-Yang’s nonprofit Power of 10 Initiative.
Foxtrot Market; 1267 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 650 Massachusetts Ave. NW