What’s the Nickname for Georgia Ave’s Safeway?

IMG_7746, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

A reader writes:

“I don’t know if this has ever been a question of the day, but do our Safeway’s (both Georgia Avenue ones) have a nickname? Here’s what I know of other Safeway’s in town:

Secret Safeway – off Wisconsin Avenue
Soviet Safeway – on 17th Street in Dupont
Sandanista Safeway – Columbia Road
Sycophant Safeway – Watergate
Social Safeway – Georgetown

I have been referring to the Safeway near the metro as the Six Feet Under Safeway because of the proximity to all of the funeral homes. Is this not politically correct?”

56 Comment

  • We call that one the Shithole Safeway. I don’t have a name for the one at Georgia and Piney Branch though.

  • the stinky Safeway since it smells like shit in there….

  • We called the one on Capitol Hill the Unsafe Way.

  • everyone calls the one on macarthur blvd. near palisades the russian safeway

  • Hi folks. PoP, I think you opened up a little can of words here. The original inquiry wondered specifically about the appropriateness of using the several funeral homes to define the store “Six Feet Under Safeway.” I found that mildly clever but not likely to catch on.

    Our first two respondents used their sensitive nostrils to alliterate their way into the hearts of long-term residents and more aware gentrifiers alike.

    I do just fine at this Safeway and find the staff quite warm and efficient. While we would all like to have the best new corporate stores where we live (ok, at least most of us), recognizing that such a store as our Petworth Safeway is familiar to some of us may encourage us all to engage this topic differently.

  • I’ve always called the one on Randolph Street – Soldout Safeway, as it always seems that they are out of everything I need!

  • I only go to that Safeway when I’ve had a rough day at work and need to reward myself with some ice cream. I rejoice when the lines are short. The clerks are always nice to me, and of course, I to them. For big grocery shopping, we go to the Georgetown Safeway (Soviet and it still has a section of funny-looking Russian food) or the secret or Piney Branch Safeway. But the Petworth store is such a ghetto Safeway, smelly, not stocked with the kind of stuff I like, Lubriderm behind the counter and not on the aisle so it won’t get shoplifted by addicts and sold on the street for a fix, etc. It’s the ghetto Safeway to me.

  • That Safeway has become much much better in the past few months. However the last time I was there the meat frig really needed a good cleaning.

  • I’ve never heard anyone refer to these safeways using the nicknames..except on the internet.

  • stockard channing needs an intervention between him and his verizon internet connection.

  • I’ve heard it called the “Not-So-Safeway”.

  • yeah, Not So Safeway.

    I thought the Secret Safeway was the tiny one at 20th and S that has no sign? It took me a while to find that one, hehe.

  • Decrepitude Slumway

  • @ KKenyon: We’ve always called the one at 20th and S the Pseudo Safeway, seeing as it’s a Townhouse (part of the Safeway chain, but it’s a differently-branded Safeway, so it’s a Safeway but also it isn’t) and “Pseudo” sounds like an S word (to keep with the naming convention) but really isn’t (like the 20th and S Townhouse itself!).

    I’ve also heard the Watergate one called Senior Safeway (age of clientile) and the 17th St. one is Soviet Safeway not due to Russian food but due to the long lines / frequency of bare shelves .

  • You’re right; the Soviet Safeway is NOT the Georgetown or Social Safeway, despite the its proximity to the Russian Embassy and the # of Russian speaking customers who frequent it. The Georgetown Safeway has been called the Social Safeway for years. i used to work near it and find it the best stocked store. I trust its meat, chicken and fish, something I don’t feel about the Petworth store.

  • I used to call the one at 20th and S the “Safeway Substation”, the one on 17th was of course the “Soviet Safeway” and the one on Wisconsin Avenue was the “Social Safeway.” That’s all I’ve ever heard or used myself.

    Oh, and then there’s the “Geriatric Giant” on Conn Ave in Van Ness…

  • I’ve always heard the S Street (townhouse) one referred to as the Secret Safeway because nobody knows it’s there, unless, well, they live nearby.
    Adams Morgan one, I always heard it called the Third World Safeway.
    Social Safeway in Georgetown.
    17th was Soviet Safeway because the lines were always long and the shelves always empty.

  • The Safeway on Piney Branch is great – as good as the one in Georgetown and closer and newer.

    What I want to know is why (according to Toby) addicts would steal Lubridrem – does it really have that much street value? I don’t even like it that much – it doesn’t absorb well. If I am buying lotion off an addict on the street, my money is with Aveeno.

  • We always called the Safeway on Rhode Island Ave the “not so safeway”

    I think it made improvements after the Rhode Island Giant opened, but I haven’t been there in years. I’m not sure how it could survive, considering.

  • I always thought the one on 17th was the ‘Sodomy Safeway’. Isn’t the Soviet Safeway elsewhere in the city?

    Despite the lousy selection at Safeway compared to Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Harris Teeters, I’ll be sad if these stores ever go out of business. Our pet-named safeways are a little thing that makes DC unique.

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  • I’ve heard the one on Columbia Road called the, “Thank God there’s a Harris Teeter coming in on Kalorama Safeway.”

  • We always called the Columbia Road one the Senor Safeway.

  • Gridskipper has a pretty definitive guide:

    Though I’ve always known the Columbia Road Safeway as just “Spanish Safeway”. Me, I prefer Bestway.

  • here I was just calling it ghetto safeway

  • The Bestway on Mt. Pleasant was always called “donde los chinos” even though it has a name and is technically not run by Chinese, but by Koreans. And the only think I’d ever get from there has to come in a can, and I’d even check the expiration date, if you get my drift.

  • The residents refer to the Georgia ave Safeway by the Petworth Metro as the Ghetto Safeway.

  • We refer to the Petworth Safeway as the Spoiled Safeway. We have bought too many things like milk and meats that are bad as soon as we get them home. I even bought a 12-pack of canned soda once that was flat. Plus it smells like something is rotting in there.

  • Palisades = senators’ Safeway

    Personally, I find the Safeway in Vail to be more social and upper-crust than G-town.

  • Living in the neighborhood fo about 7 years, I have always referred to the GA Ave Safeway as the “Shady Safeway”. ‘Not so Safeway’ would apply as well.

    As for Piney Branch – Spaceship Safeway. For, since it arrived, it has always appeared out of place, and came from out of no where. Columbia Ave store has always been known as the Sandanista Safeway to me.

  • The Columbia Road Safeway definitely merited the title of Un-Safeway, especially back in the bad days of the late 80s and into the 90s–particularly during the rioting in 1991…

  • I don’t think any of these Safeways deserve the moniker “Un-Safeway”. Why? Because so many of them could have a claim to that name that no individual store has an overwhelming case for it. There has to be some other defining neighborhood/store characteristic interesting enough to provide a new title. Besides, Un-Safeway certainly doesn’t scream originality.

  • There was a Safeway on K St near 21st – now THAT was the Soviet Safeway! We called the one at 20th and S either the Secret Safeway or the Semi-Safeway.

  • The subterranean Safeway in Crystal City Underground was TINY. Is it still there, I wonder?

  • Screw the names…my mind is blown by the pink and purple sky in this photo. What nuclear device went off at the exact moment this photo was taken?

  • Crystal City Safeway is gone. Its a RiteAide – or used to be a RiteAide, I think.

  • shitty safeway. do not go on Tuesdays – you have been warned.

  • So why does only Safeway get nicknames here? We have always referred to the Giant at 9th and P as “Scary Giant.”

  • i’ve often heard the 9th and P giant called the “jungle giant”

  • re: Donde Los Chinos. As an aside, the Spanish word for Asians is Chinos, or Chinese. It’s not politically correct, but that is the term used by Central and South American speakers. For instance, when Fujimori, a Japanese politician ran Chile he was called El Chino.

  • Good lord, you people think Giant at 9th and P is scary? I love that store. (Before we moved up here, we lived at 5th and O) OK, it’s not as good since the Dutch bought it. I still do my store shopping there.

    I live less than a block from the Petworth Safeway and I won’t set foot in there. Haven’t in many years. Dirty, understocked, rude, racist place.

    And because of that place, I won’t spend money at any Safeway. I wish it would go far far away.

  • The Bestway on mt Pleasant used to be a Safeway when I live there in the ’60s.

    To Eric: The Piney branch Safeway isn’t new, it was just remodelled from its decrepitude when more white people started spilling out of nearby Takoma Park into the neighborhood.

    I remember when the Social Safeway at Wisconsin and 34th was called the Swingers’ Safeway. Firday and Saturday evenings it was like a happy hour in there. I got flashed by a woman in there once back then. Good times.

  • The one in Georgetown is the SEXY SAFEWAY!

  • The Spanish word for Asians isn’t chinos, it’s just that’s the word people use. Fujimori, actually former president of Peru, was of Japanese origin. He was called ‘ el chino”, incorrectly, but that’s what was said. It’s not that it’s not politically correct: it’s inaccurate, but it’s like going against a tide. i didn’t realize that the Bestway (donde los chinos) was once a Safeway long ago, but it makes sense.

  • I’ve always understood it (the Petworth Safeway) to be the Soul Food Safeway.

  • Yeah, I have never heard safeways having nicknames before that were widely used. I have only walked into that safeway one time and I have never gone back. It does smell like poop…like dirty diapers were rubbed all over the place or something. Also, it it seemed small and crowded, disorganized and dirty. It is such a shame since I live so close to it, but I prefer to make the drive up to the other Georgia Ave Safeway or head to Giant in Columbia Heights. My roommates and I just call it the Stinky Safeway…we aren’t that creative.

  • Miss K, I have lived more than a decade in Petworth. i can count on one hand the things I actually do in Petworth (well, I do work here) besides frquenting neighborhood carry outs and restaurants and living here. I buy groceries elsewhere. I do my banking on line or go to an ATM elsewhere. I go to the malls in the suburbs to buy clothes or shoes. i even avoid the Petworth post office.

  • I call it the worst Safeway.

  • Just went in there this afternoon (rough day at work so it’s time for some ice cream). There was no line, the cashier was friendly and efficient, but the smell…

  • Has anyone been to the Safeway on RI Ave near the metro? The outside smells like homeless poop. You know, that smell that only comes from drinking malt liqour and 40s. How can a grocery store smell that bad? I mean, you are trying to sell groceries. Who wants to buy meats and veggies when the store smells like someone took a big heaping dump in the middle of it?

  • I’ve lived in the Dupont area for about 12 years. I’ve always heard the 20th and S Safeway referred to as the “Stealth Safeway” because you can’t find it. The 17th street one is the Soviet Safeway due to the long lines and empty shelves (admittedly, this has become better in recent years.

  • Ohmigawd!! It’s true!! I just saw the commercial for Harris Teeter opening on 16th and Kalorama. Of course it will be as crowded as the Trader Joe’s in West End or is it Foggy Bottom 24-7, but I can’t wait and who will care what we call the ghetto-icky-smelly-Safeway I only go to for emergencies like cat food.

  • The official Soviet Safeway is the 17th Street one, and it was called that long before people began inventing cute nicknames on the Internet. It was called that because of its hellishly long lines and lack of selection…. it is far less Soviet now.

  • Unsafeway

  • We in Palisades have been calling the Safeway on MacArthur the “Soviet Safeway” for at least 20 plus years…I have heard it called that since at least 1986 on…

  • hey, the Georgia Ave Safeway is FINE. the building ain’t the fanciest, it has no rotisserie chickens, it doesn’t carry silver polish or anise seeds–or any other stuff that the high SES demands–but it’s got a pharmacy, the people who work there are friendly and helpful, and it’s always clean, and sssssh…sometimes (not often) you can get steak there for $1.99 lb.

    a post in PoP recently called it the Sketchy Safeway, and i’d say that’s pretty accurate.

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