Rappahannock Oyster Bar Is Closing at Union Market After a Decade

Owner Travis Croxton says landlord Edens asked the longtime restaurant to leave.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar is closing at Union Market. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Rappahannock Oyster Bar is closing its Union Market location on Saturday, August 13. Co-owner Travis Croxton, who was among the first retail tenants at the Northeast DC food hall when it opened in 2012, says landlord Edens asked them to vacate.

“We’re in fantastic shape, the place is doing great—we have no desire to close,” Croxton says. “We’re flummoxed as to why.” 

Representatives from Edens were not available to comment at the time of this story.

Croxton says he’s in the process of transitioning employees to Rappahannock’s other DC oyster bar, located at the Wharf. The Union Market location—one of two full-service dining operations there—was Travis and cousin/business partner Ryan Croxton’s first oyster bar outside their Topping, Virginia aquaculture farm, which supplies Chesapeake oysters to scores of DC area restaurants and houses restaurant Merroir. Since then, the oyster bars have expanded and gone national, with six restaurants between southern Virginia, DC, Charleston, South Carolina and Los Angeles. In addition to shucking some of the city’s best oysters—roughly 3 million bivalves in their decade-long tenure—the bar was also known as a cocktail destination. During the pandemic, Rappahannock was forced to temporarily close at Union Market for in-person dining alongside other vendors, but it reopened when city regulations lifted.

Rappahannock’s director of operations Jessica Opperman says her team plans to serve the classics—oysters, shrimp, crab cakes, etc.—through the end of the week. She says regulars have been saddened to hear the news of the impending closure. 

“We just want our guests to know how much we appreciate their support over the years. We wish we didn’t have to go, but hope to see them at the Wharf,” says Opperman.

Rappahannock isn’t the only longtime business to close up shop at Union Market. Neighboring butcher/sandwich stall Red Apron has also quietly shuttered (locations at Capitol Hill food hall the Roost  and Fairfax’s Mosaic District  remain open).

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.