Judging New Grocery Stores – H Street’s Giant

3rd and H St, NE

H Street’s new Giant opened up at 3rd and H St, NE back in May. I’ve been hearing lots of mixed experiences so I thought I’d throw it out for a proper judging. What’s the word on H Street’s new Giant?

58 Comment

  • This store is incredibly disappointing. NoMa ‘Teeter isn’t that much further, but a much better store.

  • I actually really love this store! They have an awesome vegan and gluten-free section, their produce doesn’t spoil immediately, and their employees are usually incredibly friendly and helpful.

  • As someone who lives equidistant between this Giant and Harris Teeter, I have to say the Giant is much better on prices. Like crazy cheap compared to Harris Teeter. But in terms of customer service, the Harris Teeter cashiers are much better trained.

    Compared to the Tivoli Square Giant, the H St Giant is a luxury grocer.

    • Compared to the Tivoli Square Giant, old Soviet groceries are luxury purveyors of food.

    • That’s surprising because Giants are usually more expensive than Harris Teeter. I wonder why this one is so much cheaper.

      • justinbc

        It’s really all relative to what you’re buying. HT specializes in carrying a lot of unique items, especially in their “international” sections, many of which can be rather pricey. They also generally carry higher quality meats. It also really depends on what sales you’re getting with each loyalty card.

        • As simple and obvious as your comment is, I am always surprised at how few people cross shop sales. For example I’ve found Giant and Safeway fairly comparable with Safeway usually being cheaper, but I always check sale items, it can be a $3-4 dollar difference sometimes!

          Heck, Whole Foods can even be competitive with pricing. Most people just stick to one store and don’t ever check pricing.

      • From my grocery bills I’ve always mentally ranked DC’s grocery stores, in order of most expensive to least, as:

        Whole Foods
        Harris Teeter

  • I live close by and think they’re doing a great job. They’re also very responsive to recommendations of items to stock – they have many, many more healthy and environmentally friendly options now than they did when they opened, for example. It’s also much needed in an area that hasn’t had any major grocery store close by.

  • Employees are pretty friendly, and the store is fairly well-stocked. Their organic/health food section is decent, but they could definitely use more organic produce.

  • I like this Giant a lot. I do prefer NoMa Harris Teeter, but, for me, it’s a 20-25 minute walk, while Giant is about a 10 minute walk. I’m also a night owl who likes to do grocery shopping at really weird times, so being able to go at 3 am is a definite plus.

  • justinbc

    We generally alternate between this store and the NoMa Harris Teeter. Overall I find it to be decent. The only two real complaints I have are 1) access via car is still not possible from H St, so you have to loop all around to get into the garage, 2) I had expected a much better craft beer selection given the changing demographics of H St. They do have some stuff, but it’s most of the generic “craft beer” (re: Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, etc) that you can get almost everywhere. This has never been a huge feature at any Giant I’ve been to though, so I usually just head to Schneider’s. I will say though that their $5 for a whole rotisserie chicken on Fridays is a pretty killer deal, and one we take advantage of quite frequently.

  • I go because it’s convenient to home but it’s got a warehouse feel to it and the shelves don’t ever seem fully stocked. No matter what time of day I go there are always enormous carts blocking the aisles as the staff is restocking. You’d think a 24 hour grocery store would do that after regular hours.

  • I’ve exclusively used this Giant since moving to H st and I think it’s great. They have a good selection AND good prices. I’ve found in the city it’s usually one or the other. The staff has always been friendly and helpful. They monitor the lines during the after work rush to make sure everything is running smoothly. I’ve never been to the Harris Teeter in NoMa so I can’t compare but overall I’ve been incredibly pleased with this Giant. I was honestly surprised to see there had even been mixed reviews.

    • justinbc

      “I was honestly surprised to see there had even been mixed reviews.”
      Name virtually any business in DC and this will be the case. Even the ones that nearly everyone raves about, there are always contrarians (Toki Underground, Columbia Room, ChurchKey, Rasika, etc…)

    • I agree with you. I live three blocks away and shop exclusively there (save for a Costco run every now and then). Before the Giant opened I used to go to the Harris Teeter. Honestly I can find everything I need organic-wise at Giant that I can at Harris. I also really love the “check it” feature. I am in and out in 20 minutes or under and never have had to wait in a line once (even if I go right after work or on a Saturday afternoon).
      As far as the employees, they’ve been nothing but friendly and helpful every time I’ve been there (and I go at least once a week since it’s opened, sometimes more).

  • I live across the street, so of course I go there out of convenience. I have been extremely disappointed with: lack of pharmacy, lack of “hot bar” take away food, occasional lapses in stocking products, and general employee apathy. However, as I said, I still shop there so none of these factors are enough to make me go the distance to another store.

  • Sounds like this Giant is miles above the pathetic excuse for a grocery store the Van Ness Giant is. Too bad I don’t live near it.

  • I think this store is ok. I live about 10 blocks away but work in Virginia, so I do 95% of my shopping at Trader Joes in Arlington (and the H st farmers market on Saturdays). That said, the Giant is fine if I need something quick, but they’re produce isn’t the greatest.

  • I like it. it’s infinitely better than Teeter.

  • I live a block away and love it. I used to be one block from the City Vista Safeway and this is far superior but maybe I just have low expectations now.

  • I live fairly close to this Giant and for normal shopping needs (box foods/frozen/bakery) it is fine. I don’t usually buy produce here as what I’ve bought/seen in the past is pretty disappointing but everything else is great to have within walking distance. I use Eastern Market and HT for the rest of my meat/cheese/produce.

  • Interesting to hear the comparisons to the NoMa Harris Teeter. For those of us whose second-choice grocery store is the Safeway at the starburst intersection about 14 blocks east of here, this Giant is a godsend. And it’s certainly better than the one in Columbia Heights – bigger, cleaner, and less crowded. Its inventory is no better, but it’s still better than Safeway’s.

  • My only complaints are the lack of a pharmacy, and they don’t carry banana popsicles. The prices are very good compares to Harris Teeter (not surprising, as Harris Teeter is a slightly higher tier store). The layout is simple an the variety is excellent. The only times I have gone back to the Harry Teet are when Giant has been out of organic whole milk for my kid. Which hasn’t happened in the last couple months.

  • I live about a block from the new Giant. I haven’t been to the NoMa ‘Teeter since the Giant opened. I think the two stores are nearly identical. I’ve found that the key to a good experience at Giants comes down to getting a scanner.
    Without a scanner, you’re doomed in a long line of people and slow/confused cashier. With a scanner, you can checkout in no time.

    • can you explain what getting a scanner means?

      • They have something called “scan it” which is your own personal little scanner you carry around the store with you and check out as you shop. I bring my own cart and thus everything is already ready to go. Then you just scan the barcode at the checkout (scan-it has it’s own dedicated lane so there is little to no wait, or you can use any of the regular lanes) and then scan your Giant card. Then you pay and go. I do it every time I shop there (at least once a week) and have never had to wait in a single line.

  • i’ve never met a giant i liked.

  • I live close to the Safeway near H and 14th NE, but will never shop there again if possible. This Giant is waaaaay better – clean, friendly, and has a decent selection. No, it’s not a grocery metropolis, but it’s got everything I need and a lot more. Plus, the harassment at Safeway has gotten so awful (a group of men outside all made “rrrufff!” dog noises as I walked into the store not too long ago) that at least I feel safe and not hassled when I go shopping now.

    • Ugh, I know what you mean. I used to live two blocks from that Safeway (but thankfully was able to relocate to the west end of H last year). There are always groups of people loitering outside and I distinctly remember a shooting in the parking lot one Sunday afternoon and everyone running into the store screaming. This store is definitely a far cry from that!

  • I think it’s fine and way better than the two other options (Harris teeter on Penn & Safeway). I wish I could get in and out via H St though!!!!! We usually go to EM or the H St farmers market for produce and veggies.

    I am praying for a Trader Joe’s to come to the area since we make a run to the Alexandria or Bethesda location once a week!!

  • Could use some more bike racks. Been completely full 3/5 times I’ve gone to shop here.

  • rabble rabble rabble my brand-new, clean, 24-hour grocery store doesn’t have enough craft beers, bike racks, or organic produce rabble rabble rabble

  • One of the security cops up there is a giant douche that looks like an overweight Mase. If you avoid him and his “bullet proof vest” that he uses to store his jelly beans, you should have a more tolerable trip.

  • LOVE this Giant, I live in Brookland and the closest “chain” grocery store is the Giant on Rhode Island which is HORRRRRRIBLE. I gladly make the trek to the H Street Giant, bc it is not crowded EVER. I’ve gone at all different times, I feel like its a secret Giant. The HT at NOMA is packed with people, a weird layout and the produce is soooo disappointing. Another bonus, the H St. Giant is frequented by good looking peeps. All the more reason to reach for that diet bread 😉

  • I shop at the Giant in Blair Park in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. I will miss the former Giant President Anthony Hucker. Mr. Hucker made sure his executive staff stocked the products I needed at the Blair Park Giant. Unfortunatley, Mr. Hucker resigned from Giant in September. I’m hoping the regional Vice President John Hicks will listen to D.C. Giant consumers concerns like the former Giant President. I’ve been a loyal Giant custome for 40 years. Sometimes I shop at Whole Foods, Harris & Teeter, Shoppers, and the Walmart Super Center in Severn, Maryland. I don’t care for Safeway too much because their executive management came off surly to me in reference to not give D.C. residents a 5 cents credit for bringing your own bag. Giant and Whole Foods give customers a 5 cents credit. LOL Every little bit helps in the difficult economic times.

  • I don’t get all the negativity. If you compare Giant to Teeter or Whole Foods of course it is going to suck. If you are going in there to get the average (generic) product at a reasonable price the store is just fine. I have had no problem with customer service and if are driving there from Florida Ave, it is pretty convenient. Lately, my preference is the Whole Foods in Logan Circle, but that is only because you can drink beer while shopping.

  • I came to the Giant the weekend it first opened. They had some great deals then. Soon after that, they reverted to their normal overpricing except for the select sale items that make worth going there for. Beer and wine prices are higher than I’ve seen at Safeway. It’s a nice standard grocery store, nothing more. I usually go there because they have 20 pound bags of ice that no one else seems to have and to grab something quick, but not to shop (I go to Costco or Aldi). Once 3rd St opens back up to traffic, it will probably be much more crowded. They have a huge underground parking lot.

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