Foggy Bottom is finally getting the dining destination that it deserves—and in a major way. Rather than one, two, or even three new restaurants, the neighborhood is newly playing host to a whole market of dining options, including DC favorites and newcomers.
A far cry from the sad mid-mall food courts where smoothies and teriyaki chicken once reigned supreme, Western Market is a 21st-century food hall hosting a range of creative concepts that began rolling out openings this month. The historic 12,300 square-foot space was originally built in 1802 and has been reimagined to include dozens of food vendors, alongside a 4,000-square-foot outdoor dining space that will also host events and entertainment programming.
The space was intended to serve one of the primary marketplaces for residents of the DC area, supplementing other markets located further away in Alexandria and Georgetown. More than two centuries and dozens of iterations later, the space has been totally revamped but still plays a similar purpose, says Tim Hill of MRP Realty, one of the space’s developers.
After several months in the works, the first four merchants of Western Market are now open and bringing the marketplace to life—Mason’s Famous Lobster Roll, Capo Italian Deli, RAWish, and Roaming Rooster are now accepting customers, with more restaurants and tenants slated to open on a rolling basis throughout the rest of the year.
“The goal of Western Market is to bring diverse cultures and cuisines to the heart of Foggy Bottom,” Hill says. “Each new restaurant offers a unique opportunity for guests to experience ingredients, drinks, and dishes from all over the world.” But the team isn’t just stopping with food. “We’re already exploring sports betting at ExPat, new retail spaces, and pop-ups,” Michael Morris of CANA Development said.
So whether you’re a GW student, World Bank employee, or local wanting to explore this newly minted dining destination, there are plenty of options at Western Market that make it worth the trip to Foggy Bottom. Check out our list of the market’s current offerings and some hotly anticipated openings that will join the space before the year’s end.
If you’re looking for an Italian fix, Capo Italian Deli is the place to go. The spot drew a devoted following throughout quarantine with its “Fauci Pouchy” to-go cocktails, and it remains a staple for towering hot and cold subs, classic Italian dishes, and signature cocktails.
How to order: Walk in or get delivery via website
Get a taste of the sea at Mason’s Famous Lobster Roll. This local chain originated in Annapolis and after expanding across the country with 15 locations, Mason’s now has three locations bringing several lobster roll varieties and other seafood specialties to the District.
How to order: Via website
This chicken sandwich joint is taking the District by storm, and now you can get this DC favorite in Foggy Bottom. From crispy fried chicken sandwiches made classic, buffalo, and Nashville hot style to buttery biscuit sandwiches for breakfast, there’s something for everyone (at any time of day) at Roaming Rooster.
How to order: Walk in or pre-order via website
Owner and operator Dimitri Piskapas is bringing his childhood in Greece to Western Market, offering street food favorites like shawarma, zucchini fritters, and house cut fries at this brand-new restaurant.
With five locations around the DMV, the Western Market location of Arepa Zone is just the latest in this Venezuelan spot’s DC takeover. At the restaurant, you’ll find plantain sandwiches, tequenos, and, of course, arepas with various filling options.
Flavors from Burma, Vietnam, and Thailand make up the exciting menu at Bandoola Bowl, which has its original location in Georgetown. Custom bowls and salads are the star here, where you can play around with bases like spicy rice noodles, proteins like curried chickpeas and roasted pork, and tons of flavorful sauces and toppings.
Nim Ali was previously just a pop-up concept from Rosario Guzman and Karla Alonzo, offering beef franks topped with traditional Guatemalan street food favorites. Given its enormous success, it’s now opening up its first brick-and-mortar location in Western Market.
No food hall would be complete without some sushi, and Onkei is here to deliver. The sushi bar is a spin-off of Georgetown’s Sushi Keiko.
Mount Pleasant’s enormously popular Elle is spinning off a new all-day cafe in Western Market, featuring pastries, baked goods, and coffee in the morning, and lunchtime favorites like sandwiches and desserts as the day wears on. And yes, there will be a full bar.