Some 40 people were in line when Wegmans opened the doors of its new Tenleytown location in the City Ridge development at 9 AM this morning. We had to know: Who waits for a grocery store to open?
In front of all of them at 7:30 AM was Nicole Bates. Bates grew up in Wegmans’ home turf of Rochester, New York. Now she lives in Forest Hills and says she has been driving around Washington to different Wegmans locations.
“I’m excited just to have this here, the ability to get some fresh prepared foods you can shop for everything in one spot,” Bates says. “And you know, I’ve been waiting 28 years for this, so it’s a great time.” Cannoli were at the top of her list.
Eager patrons were treated to a fanfare, complete with musicians performing Yankee Doodle and a sneak peek inside of staff members singing Happy Birthday (to Us) and the Wegmans Cheer. At 9 AM, the gates were opened and patrons made a beeline to the fresh seafood, poke bowls and assortment of cheeses and pastries.
Lance Macon had his first ever job in 1985 at a Wegmans in Rochester. “I was an employee, I was a manager, I went on and started my own business, moved here to DC and started going out to Virginia to go to the Wegmans there. They pay for half of my college. So I have a certain kind of affiliation and loyalty to Wegmans.”
Not far in line behind Bates, Macon got in line around 8 AM. He had to get the doughnuts–specifically the cinnamon swirl–which he says are better than Dunkin and Krispy Kreme.
Not everyone first in line had Rochester ties. Alexandra Hay decided to make her morning walk to the opening today since it was such a nice day. Hay typically shops at Giant or Trader Joe’s but says she can’t do all of her shopping in one place.
“It’s just really pleasant to visit and they do have stuff that you don’t see in other spots,” Hay says. “And I love their pizza dough. It’s really great. And just sort of the different departments are much nicer than a lot of other stores, so I’m looking forward to a nicer shopping experience.”
Monique Pulanco, Karen Bernola, and Carolyn Dunlap
Monique Pulanco, Karen Bernola, and Carolyn Dunlap have all shopped at other Wegmans and are excited to see one come into the District.
“I live right here in Washington, DC, right there on South Dakota Avenue,” Dunlap says. “And I got tired of going up and down to the other Wegmans, so now we have our own over here in DC. I can walk, drive or take the bus.”
“I’m actually from Upper Marlboro, Maryland,” Pulanco says. “I go to the one in Lanham. I’ve never been to any opening of anything. So I know there was a grand opening. I’m like, I am going to be at the grand opening.”
“I was in Wegmans the first time ever in life when I was in Rochester, and that’s I think where they started.” Bernola says. “So this is good for me.”
As for their favorite items? The lobster salad, the Chinese food, and the French vanilla muffins.
Despite living above the Giant in Van Ness, Larry Green bikes all over to “far-flung places,” including Costco and Walmart. Today, Green biked nine minutes to the new Wegmans to get some miniature blueberry scones.
“I love new development, and this is a very exciting area. I’m third-generation Washingtonian, so I love to see the changes.”
Jim Linde has been following the property development and has been snapping photos on his phone along the way.
“I live basically on the other side of the building, in McLean Gardens,” Linde says. “I’ve watched this go from Fannie Mae to a parking garage, to a big hole.”
The property has turned into what will be Linde’s sixth Wegmans that he’s visited in the DMV. Linde says he likes the variety and the grab-and-go ability, including the pizzas and anything at the hot food bar on nights he hasn’t prepared anything for dinner.
Karen Williams made her way over from Ward 5 with Larry Jackson and Corneille Guemadgi, who was visiting from Togo, to buy what Williams calls the best quality food.
“I’m ready. I got my bag. I’m ready to load up and get the best food and even have lunch, too,” Williams says.
Williams’s favorite food?
“My sweet potatoes. They have the best prices and they are so sweet. And you can have a sunshiney day.”