Dairy lovers can get their fill from Chambersburg, Pa.-based Trickling Springs Creamery and Carolyn Stromberg’s Righteous Cheese. Red Apron Butchery will supply charcuterie, while Lyon Bakery serves up handcrafted loaves of bread.
Rappahannock River Oysters, a family-owned outfit from Topping, Va., will run an oyster bar with raw, steamed and stewed shellfish. Lifestyle blogger Amanda McClements is in talks to set up a kitchen supply outpost, while celebrated mixologist Gina Chersevani plans to open a 15-seat soda shop.
Edens tapped chef Richard Brandenburg, a ThinkFoodGroup alumnus, to devise a culinary strategy for the market. Inspired by San Francisco’s Ferry Building, which houses a rotating roster of vendors and restaurants, Union Market will in time contain 40 vendors, a third of which will be permanent, Edens president Jodi McLean said.
“There is this preconception outside of D.C. that we don’t have a food culture,” she said, during an interview at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ convention in Las Vegas last week. “We have this opportunity to really expose to the world what a great food culture is developing in D.C., so the retailers going in [the market] are exceptional people.”
Commonly known as the Capital City Market, the site on which Union Market is being built was once part of a wholesale and retail district for poultry and produce. The old market, opened in the 1920s, remained operational, in one form or another, until Edens began renovations.
The South Carolina-based developer, which is behind the Mosaic District in Merrifield, entered a joint venture with J Street to purchase the site in 2007. The partnership controls six parcels along 5th and 6th streets NE between Florida and New York avenues. The entire site is being re-branded the Union Market District as a nod to the historic name for the area.
The marketplace is the first phase of a redevelopment that is to eventually include housing and a hotel. McLean said Edens is renovating a nearby 26,000-square-foot warehouse to serve as a wholesale distribution and food production center.
“We want to establish Union Market as a place of quality, authenticity to it’s roots, and attract a much broader community,” she said. “This project can really help transition D.C. from being a great city to a world-class city on par with New York, with San Francisco.”
Lynne Braux, president of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, already considers Washington to be a “world class” dining destination, but she agrees that the region will be well served by Union Market.
“What Edens is doing creates a lot of great synergy with what the city already has to offer,” she said. “It’s awesome.”
To kick off the opening of Union Market, Edens will host a James Beard Foundation dinner on June 3 that will feature some of the most celebrated chefs in Washington.