After years of renovations and pandemic-related delays, The Shops at 2000 Penn will soon house a food hall with more than a dozen new dining options.
The hall, named Western Market, will feature 14 vendors selling a variety of cuisines including Burmese, Italian, Japanese and American food. Western Market’s marketplace manager, Mercedes Cowper, said vendors are planning to open in “the next few weeks.”
“Our vendors are looking forward to opening and being active in Western Market,” Cowper said. “They are very, very excited about welcoming the GW students in the market and back to campus.”
She said in addition to the 14 vendors already set to open, other businesses will continue to open on a rolling basis following the official opening.
Cowper said the idea for the food hall stemmed from Pierre L’Enfant’s original design of the District to include western, eastern and central markets. She said the overall concept for the market remains the same as it was in the 1800s, to create a gathering place for the community to enjoy different types of food.
Cowper said Western Market also plans to host events like live music, movie nights, wine tastings and yoga.
There is “something for everyone not only in the food and the cuisine but for the programming as well,” Cowper said. “So we are all really excited to be welcoming everyone coming through here.”
Existing restaurants like Bindaas, Duke’s Grocery and Captain Cookie and the Milkman will continue operating, but they won’t officially be a part of Western Market. Cowper said the “majority” of the market’s vendors are planning to accept GWorld payment.
The Hatchet took a tour of the space to get a preview of the dining hall’s options. Here are a few that caught our eye:
Arepa Zone is a DMV-based chain offering authentic Venezuelan dishes in a quick service style. Some traditional favorites like tequenos, cachapas and arepas are highlights of the menu. You can look forward to trying menu items like the full house chachapa ($12) with shredded beef, sweet plantains, black beans and queso de mano cheese.
If you’re looking for some comfort food, try Roaming Rooster once it opens in the market. It serves fried chicken sandwiches with flavors like buffalo and honey butter. Some non-sandwich menu items include a fried chicken and coleslaw salad ($8.49) with a house made vinaigrette.
For Italian cuisine, check out Capo Deli and Tigerella. Capo Deli offers Italian subs and politically-themed cocktails – most notably the “Fauci Pouchy.” Tigerella will be a sit-down restaurant in the market created by the makers of the Mount Pleasant restaurant Elle. This vendor will have your mouth watering for subs like its caprese sub ($10.50) and classic Italian sub ($10.50).
Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls
Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls brings New England specialties to Foggy Bottom. You can try a classic lobster roll ($17.95) served chilled with mayo and lemon butter, the Connecticut ($17.95) variation served warm or the lobster BLT roll ($17.95). If you’re not in the mood for a roll, give the lobster mac & cheese ($13.95) a taste.
Nim Ali, which previously held pop-ups around the city, will permanently open a location in Western Market. This vendor will offer Guatemalan street food, with specialties like shukos which are essentially loaded hot dogs with an array of toppings. The shuko dona mary ($16) comes loaded with guacamole, cabbage, escabeche slaw, chorizo, longaniza, adobado, a beef frank and a specialty sauce.