If you've ever sampled some ras el hanout and thought, "I wish this mix of Moroccan seasonings were spicier," then you're in luck. Bazaar Spices, the 100-square-foot Union Market stall that sells everything from organic beet-root powder to heirloom tomato salt, is opening a larger space on Jan 1. at the Atlantic Plumbing development in Shaw. Ivan Fitzgerald, who owns the shop with his wife, Monica Grover, calls the new 625-square-foot digs "a full-service spice shop." Customers can ask staff to grind Ceylon cinnamon sticks into a fine powder or customize spice mixes -- infusing their garam masala with just the right amount of cloves. "We can make that for you on the spot," Fitzgerald says.
The Union Market stall will remain open, allowing the new store to expand beyond a grab-and-go model and conjure a more leisurely experience. The Shaw shop will offer a full beverage menu, including a warm saffron and mint-infused drink, as well as a chilled twist on lemonade called "Sumac-ade," spiked with sumac berries, currants and cloves. A food menu isn't part of the plan, though the shop will carry a few snacks, such as tamarind candy and sugar-coated fennel seeds.
In addition to its retail component, the shop will host classes once or twice a week, priced approximately between $10 and $20. At Union Market, Bazaar Spices hosted a DIY potpourri class, where students mixed rose petals, rosemary and sage with essential oils into personalized aromatic jars. Fitzgerald plans to bring back the potpourri session, in addition to salt or pepper tastings and curry-themed cooking demonstrations led by local chefs.
The debut comes three years after Fitzgerald and Grover opened the shop's Union Market location. Fitzgerald quit his job in IT and Monica hers at a nonprofit for the spice venture, which he says filled a niche for local shoppers who didn't want to go online to find a variety of herbs, botanicals and spices.
The expansion also further entrenches Shaw's north end as a burgeoning destination for fastidious food shoppers. Glen's Garden Market recently debuted nearby in the Shay -- across from Compass Coffee and adjacent to Tim Ma's upcoming Asian-French bistro, Kyirisan. A Whole Foods Market is in the works about a five-minute walk away.
Bazaar Spices, 2130 Eighth St. NW, 202-379-2907.