Bestworld (temporarily) closed in Mt. Pleasant for Food Code Violation

3178 Mount Pleasant Street, NW

Thanks to all who have been sending emails and tweets – one reader writes:

“Uh oh. I went to the “Bestworld” in Mt. Pleasant the other day only to find it closed for health code violations. The sign below was posted on the door. I can’t say I’m too surprised. It’s not unusual to find rotting produce on their shelves, and their meat section smells like low tide. My wife and I have taken to calling it “Worstworld.” Any idea when they might reopen?”


Ed. Note: I had first heard of a closure last week but when I stopped by on Sunday they had already reopened so this seems like a second closure. I’ll update when they reopen but in similar cases it’s usually for a just a few days. We judged Bestworld (formerly Bestway) back in 2010.

101 Comment

  • Why do you still shop there?!?!?!?!?

  • Least. Suprising. Shutdown. Ever.

    And I say that as a general fan of the place…

  • I hope it shuts permanently and we get a Yes Organic or something else in there.

    • Wow, that’s pretty tone-deaf. Many long-time resident families rely on the inexpensive PanAm chain of stores. For those with more disposable income, you have Harris Teeter just down the street. Don’t try to take away the resources that remain to the less well-off.

      • Yeah, because poor people should eat their unsanitary diseased food, and they should like it!

        • Even if your premise had any validity (it doesn’t– Bestworld has the same dry and canned goods as any other store, for less $$), it would be better than eating the *nothing* they can afford at HT and WF.
          Have you been inside? Ever found a tainted can of beans? I haven’t. I used that store weekly to stretch my grocery dollars when I lived in MtP.
          Yes, if they’re selling spoiled meat, they should be shut down. But to say that they should be replaced by a Yes Organic is a pretty blatant class war declaration.

          • Because Los Primos and El Progresso don’t sell the same products?

          • “Yes Organic is a pretty blatant class war declaration.”

            I guess the battle lines have been drawn.

          • Ahh, I love the smell of white privilege sticking up for brown people in the morning. La gente deserve a better store. And by “la gente” I mean everyone who lives in the neighborhood regardless of what they can afford.

          • Did you really just call someone expressing their interest in having a Yes Organic Market in Mt. P a “class warfare declaration”? Right, because whenever someone says they would like to see something a higher quality store (that might be more expensive than what is being replaced) in their neighborhood, it means they want to stick it to lower income people. You should definitely make that assumption. Alternatively, you could recognize/accept that the demographics of Mt. P have changed dramatically and continue to change, and that new residents are going to want stores that reflect their tastes and income levels. That’s not “class warfare,” that’s just the direction Mt. P is going.

          • Accountering

            No its not, stop being ridiculous. It is simply stating that there is a currently a store there he doesn’t use/like, and he would prefer something else there. I too would prefer it shuts down and something nicer opens in its place. Class warfare all you want, but it shuts down a store I don’t use, and opens a store I would use.

          • Shuts it down at a real expense to people who can’t afford your organic grocery. You can move around more freely than they can. Hell, you can afford delivery. Leave them and their economy alone, and walk (or drive, or Uber) THREE blocks further to a store that meets your lofty standards. Unless you WANT to pay 40% more for all your services, which is what will happen if all the low-wage service workers are forced out of the city.

          • Accountering

            Meh, I am fine with that, they will go to another grocery store. With that said, I am fine with paying a higher price for services – not a huge fan of artificial subsidies (in any format – our gas tax should be increased 5-fold) and I am happy to pay the unsubsidized price as a result. If that means my Chipotle burrito costs $1 more, I am fine with that.

          • I doubt your fellow PoPvillagers would agree. I am definitely OK with the kind of subsidies that prevent the creation of ghettos for the least well-off. (Though I’m not sure how the existence of a store you personally don’t like counts as a subsidy.) If we can have people of all incomes in our neighborhoods, all of society benefits. And we can’t have that if we chase away the businesses that are primarily frequented by low-income residents.

          • Accountering

            Who said they are being chased away? It sounds like the place is a dump – all I am saying is I wouldn’t mind if it closed permanently and was replaced by a store I would choose to go to.

          • The cost of a pound of dry pasta or a can of black beans is exactly the same at Whole Foods as it is at any other grocery store in this town. I will bet money on it.

          • In my experience Best World is much more expensive that going a little farther to the Giant.. I treat it as a convenient store, when it’s worth the extra money to me to pick up something close by.

          • clevelanddave

            Ok, how about an Aldi? Does that help? Peace

          • Yes Organic hardly qualifies as a pawn in a food class war. Bring in a Dean and Deluca and we’ve got a rumble.

        • I’ve bought more rotten fish, meat, and produce at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Safeway than Bestworld. Coming from the West Coast that has cheap and very fresh produce, I think all DC-area grocery stores are disgusting and over-priced. Bestworld serves an important purpose in the community and stocks interesting products that I can’t find at Whole Foods. You just have to pay attention to the quality of food you’re selecting, as you do anywhere else.

          • Why are you buying rotten produce? Do you not know how to inspect the produce at the store to see if it’s rotten? I have lived here 13 years and while I’ve certainly seen rotten produce at the grocery, I’ve never gone ahead and purchased it.

          • Mostly it’s meat and fish that I think looks fine but you get it out of the packaging and it’s gone bad. Sometimes, I miss the one moldy strawberry in the package that quickly infects the others.

          • there is no chance you’ve bought any rotten fish, meat, or produce at trader joes. sorry, that’s just horsesh!t. for one thing, TJs only has frozen fish and meat, and their produce turns over several times a day. Whole Foods is fastidious about quality. Safeway, you have a point.

          • Er, no. Lots of non-frozen meat at TJs. I like their chicken sausage. I got some dodgy cheese there once, but in general am pleased with their quality.

        • Even Dean and Deluca had a rat problem. Welcome to living in a city.

          • Who knows where Trader Joe’s fish comes from? The shrink-wrapped salmon gives vibes of having been mass raised in sewage ponds in Fujian.

    • There is a YES less than a mile away. Put another YES here, and you’ll have a higher density of YES than of CVS or Starbucks. Not to say that there would be anything wrong with that, but it would kind of strange.

    • No to Yes. I went one of their new stores, the week after it opened. I bought the organic, high priced juice boxes… and they were expired. Can you imagine how old the stuff was for the juice to be expired?!

      That said, Bestworld could be a fine independent grocery with a little capital and managerial care. I like the fruit and produce though, and I wish they’d take it up a notch.

    • Yes has to be the most overpriced, worst chain of grocery stores in DC.

    • I’m hoping my sarcasm meter is up and you’re joking/trolling for the inevitable responses that have come. BUT If you don’t like it, you don’t have to shop there. As someone who can (and does) afford to shop at higher end stores, I choose to go to BestWorld as well for the options the former do not offer: international foods that are both more varied than the other two stores on the block, and cheaper. So what if BestWorld has grates or looks “blighty.” Isn’t part of the appeal of living in a city color and variety? As the folks said yesterday on the pop-up post, if you want uniformity, seek the burbs. And again. If you don’t like it, don’t shop there! Those of us that do are glad to continue patronizing for its lovely prices and variety.

      • +1 I LOVE their international selection and their variety of spam flavors (I can’t find them anywhere else in the city)

      • They have cheap limes, platanos, beans, avocados, chiles, crema, etc. And a million salsas scattered with no particular pattern throughout the store. I love that place.

  • I wonder if the DOH has been on a bit of an enforcement binge recently. Windows market in Bloomingdale was also ordered shut. We only ever go in there for non-perishables like beer/wine and the occasional ice cream, but I was not surprised to see them closed, either.

  • I would never buy anything at Bestworld that wasn’t prepackaged and non-perishable

  • I’m fine with certain produce and canned and dry goods at Bestworld. Their meat section scares me for reasons that don’t just include the pig’s feet.

    My biggest request (beyond sanitary food) is that they refresh the market’s facade. The building hasn’t been updated for ages and is a blight on the neighborhood. The riots were over 20 years ago. They do not need old grates covering the entire building. Plus, I’m sure if the market didn’t look like a run down sketchy grocery store from the outside, people would be less hesitant to shop there.

    • +1 – All the businesses that have metal grates on their windows need to get ride of them, stat. In some cities, they aren’t even allowed period. China Town, Bestworld and a couple others make the ‘hood seem unfriendly and hostile with those imposing metal grates while other places get a long just fine with glass or plexi.

    • The grates bother me as well. Also, why is their “BESTWORLD” sign weirdly not centered like that?

      • It’s because it used to be called Bestway and the additional letters on the new-ish sign throw off the alignment.

  • Any takers on how long before a developer buys that up and rebuilds it as a mixed use condo/small plates restaurant development?

    • I guess you’ve never been to Mt. Pleasant before, have you?

    • That doesn’t happen on Mt. Pleasant St. Would be great if it did, because as it stands now the commercial strip is dominated by laundrymats, liquor stores, bad hole-in-the-wall restaurants, crappy grocery stores and other under-run businesses. In 20 years of living in the neighborhood the rate of good businesses opening up in the area is about 1 every 4 years.

      • PDleftMtP

        Was just saying exactly the same thing on the Burritos Fast thread, because it’s true.

        Bestway/Bestworld has been the best alternative in the neighborhood, but yeah, the meat smells off and I’ve gotten bug-infested boxed goods there before. Again, not class warfare, just truth.

  • Hopefully closes for good. The produce is all nearly expired, flies everywhere, unpleasant smell, unclean floors and on top of all that most of the food is more expensive than Giant. Now that there are nearby options for groceries there is no reason MtP residents should tolerate such a poorly run establishment.

  • If you hit it on the right day, the Bestworld fish department is the best bargain in the city (though getting there on the right day is a random proposition). I’m too much of a food snob to buy their meat — except for those big, tough “gaillinas” which make excellent chicken stock and various chicken, pigs and beef feet for other stock-making — and have eaten their vegetables for years with no ill effects. It’s a surprisingly good source of odd things: big, pesto-batch-sized bunches of basil (not those expensive and inadequate clamshells), Vietnamese fish sauce and other Asian ingredients, odd Central American tubers. And, lately, they’ve stocked up on the yuppie goods, as well. I hope they clean up and re-open in short order.

  • God, I hate that paint store. Could be a thriving retail location driving foot traffic – possibly even a good spot for a small grocery chain – what with the parking and all.

    • saf

      Previously a payless, and before that, a Church’s Fried Chicken.

      • There was also a brief incarnation as a grocery store – after payless and before the paint store. The place was vacant for a long time before the paint store moved in. While the paint store wouldn’t have been my choice, they are the ones that signed a lease and moved in.

      • No, church’s is where the 7/11 is now. Payless is McCormick paint.

        • saf

          7-11 has always been 7-11

        • You’re wrong – Church’s Chicken was where the paint store is now. Church’s burned down during the riots – then it was payless, then a grocery store, then the (current) paint store.

        • No, the building that is now McCormick Paints was the Church’s Chicken originally. The 7-11 has always been on that spot across the street from it. I not-so-fondly remember when the Church’s was torched. Hard to forget that building location.

        • PDleftMtP

          No, the 7/11 and Church’s were there at the same time. It’s the same Payless/grocery store/paint store building – glad the paint store seems successful, but too bad that the only building with parking never has it used. Foot traffic from the neighborhood alone doesn’t seem to be enough for most businesses to make a go of it.

          I have no particular desire for a Yes, but I agree it would be nice to de-crapify the strip. Progreso’s a great example – it’s not yuppieville, but they take much better care of the place.

  • Living in Mt P, the Bestworld comes in handy in a pinch. But every time I shop there I find dusty canned and packaged goods (often close to expiring), rotting produce, coolers with suspiciously warm dairy products, and a horrendous smell. Fortunately, I have the luxury of driving to and affording better options. I’m all for the argument that lower income individuals need a place to buy fresh food in their neighborhood. I’d like to see many more options in this city, especially in areas that are known food deserts. But to suggest that calling for better food options is tantamount to an attack on low income communities is highly problematic. People should not have to accept unsanitary conditions and rotting food just because they are on a fixed income. I’m not saying yes to Yes, or no to the Bestworld. But I am saying thank you to DOH for actually trying to do something about what is currently an unacceptable status quo for everyone.

  • I’ve lived in Mt. Pleasant for over 17 years and I shop there quite often. When I first came to Mt. P., the place was called Bestway, I always assumed Safeway made them change. They have a pretty good selection of ethnic stuff from dried peppers to tamale husks to some african and asian things that are harder to find elsewhere. I also find their prices on produce to be generally better although sometimes things are getting to the end of their useful life. That being said, one time I bough fresh ginger there (they wrap a lot of stuff in cling wrap and this was one of those), that when I got home I thought is smelled very off. Not surprised that it ran afoul of BOH but I hope it stays. Go any weekend and you will see carts loaded up by people who do not appear to be of means. I

    • I think they changed the name when the store ownership changed hands, though I am unsure why.

      • Bestway is a chain of stores. Only this store changed owners if memory serves. That’s why the new name.

    • Don’t you know by now that many people of means do not look like people of means, and many people who look like people of means are in fact broke?! If your wealth is consumed in a house, a fine car, and fancy clothes, you no longer have means, you have stuff.

  • These white privilege comments are so annoying. I’m white, live near the neighborhood, and am unfortunately not rich since I work for a non-profit, so yes I shop there to save money and have never had any trouble with the food. The beef is pretty low-grade, so I avoid that, but the chicken and fish are the best deals in town. Produce has always been fine, and compared to the tasteless crap you get at Giant or Safeway for 3x the price, it’s a good deal too.
    Who cares about the sign or window bars? If you want to save money and have a range of intl foods, it’s great. If you want surburbia, move back there! And YES Organic sucks–$2 for one cup of Chobani, that I can get for $1.25 at Target, or most anywhere else? Really???

    • Accountering

      Plenty of people clearly care about the sign and window bars. The place holds a prominent spot on Mt. Pleasant Street, and it looks like crap.

      • Bad news: you can take the bars off it and put lipstick on it, but that pig is still going to be a pig.

      • Yeah, but you get what you pay for. I’d rather save 75 cents on a cup of yogurt than pay more money to offset the costs of renovation to appear local yuppie aesthetics. That’s just stupid.

        • No no and no. Removing imposing metal grates is not to “appeal to local yuppie aesthetics”. It’s to make the place seem like a friendly neighborhood, which it is, rather than portraying an image of fear, mistrust and danger, which metal grates do. Making a neighborhood more open and inviting is not something that is limited to ‘yuppies’ bur rather appeals to something of all incomes.

    • You might want to check out Streets on 14th St. and Belmont for chicken. $2.99/lb for boneless/skinless chicken breast. Overall the durable goods are expensive at Streets, but produce is reasonably priced (by DC standards) and meat in general is the best value I’ve found.

      • My roommates buy all their meat at Streets. Stupid cheap steaks, porkchops, and chicken breasts. All of it is really good quality and occasionally stuff is on sale, so you can stock up.
        My freezer is stuffed with enough meat to feed an army.

        • Streets rocks! Totally agree on the meats–I think they’re even lower priced than Bestworld, and better quality. I still forget that it’s there though unless I’m planning to bike up the hill going home from work. And there’s another reason I go to Bestworld–it’s right off the 42/43 line.

  • I don’t know what you guys are talking about. This place isn’t cheap, especially given the quality.

  • Trader Joe’s won’t build another store in DC for a while. Or if they do, it will be in NE. They don’t want to cannibalize business from their 14th Street location. You’ll drive there anyways, so why sink money into another store less than a mile away?

  • I just walked by – looks they are are reopened.

  • I live in Mt. Pleasant and shop at Bestworld every few weeks – like others, I have bought produce with no ill effects and love their cheap spices. I find their produce prices inexpensive (but also feel that I’m paying for what I get to a certain extent – the fruit has flies around it and is often bruised), spice prices inexpensive, but other dry goods prices high. So, not necessarily a great destination for those seeking low price groceries (you can often do better with the weekly specials at Giant). All of that said, I don’t see any disconnect in requesting that they remove the unnecessary and ugly gates. Why does that mean I should head towards the suburbs? I love living in the city, love the diversity of people and stores, and dislike unattractive and unwelcoming gates. In my ideal world, the store would smell better, too 🙂

  • maxwell smart

    I know that neither of these things exist on the East Coast, however aside from the obvious suggestion of TJ’s I would think something like Fresh & Easy OR Smart & Final would do well in this area (and you know in the DC area…like can we get a Smart & Final? Please!>!>!)

  • It was open on Sunday….. is it closed again? It is a little grubby but I find larger chains exhausting. Bestworld is small and I know where stuff is. Maybe this is a chance for them to make Bestworld better! Nothing wrong with that.

  • ThunderCheese

    I love shopping at BestWay. It needs to be cleaner, and now someone is forcing the issue. This is a good thing.

  • I live around the corner and have been buying selected items there for years (about 10). I buy: avocados, lemons, limes, the good thick salvadoran tortillas, mint and cilantro. Agree on the meat, sometimes looks a bit weird. It’s convenient and I’ve never had any issues with the things I buy there. Agree that we don’t need a Yes or aTJ in the space.

    • Agreed, if you want to make something with Avocados that day or night, Bestway is the way to go. They are always ripe. I also found that Best Way was set up for people who do their shopping every day or every other day (like a lot of people from Latin American countries) and because of that their fruits and vegs are apt to be very ripe and ready to use. And occasionally have fruit flies or go bad very quickly.

  • I loved bestworld when I lived in MtP. It’s not for everybody, least of all the fancy kind of people who can’t handle a couple of flies or a little dust on their canned goods. But you just can’t beat $1 avocados. (Stay away from the beef, though).

  • Mariachi Mart!
    with surly Asian overlords.

  • I stopped shopping at Bestworld several years ago when I witnessed chicken being unloaded from an un-refridgerated truck.

    Health codes protect everyone, regardless of class; they protect people from establishments that do not prioritize the safety of their customers. They also protect the health of entry-level employees who must work in close proximity to food items. Forget what other commenters might feel about the people Bestwold serves, this is about the way Bestworld treats those customers, and that is with a disregard that the government has established is physically dangerous. Save your anger for the owners of Bestworld.

    • + 1, well put. So many people don’t seem to get this. Contrast bestworld with progreso, a small latin market with excellent fresh meat and produce that is frequented by and lived by mount p resident of all colors and incomes. Bestworld really needs to improve or get replaced. I think some of the class warriors in these comments don’t even live in our neighborhood.

      • “Loved by”, not lived.

      • Yes, this was part of my point. I love El Progreso – it has great items I can’t find anywhere else (especially the Latin items I need to cook the large amounts of Latin food I make), the produce is fresh, prices are low, and the staff is lovely. Bestworld, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to respect its clients. I hope that all the needy families in the area have access to low cost food – and they do — at El Progreso.

  • Giant is going to get be packed. Now I’m going to have to deal with the filthy Mt. Pleasant residents in my neighborhood.

  • I would love a Bestway in walking distance from my home in Petworth. The new Safeway has an laughable latin food section.

  • Bestworld rules man!

  • I don’t know why you would want a Trader Joe’s or Yes Organic, BestWorld has never had a food recall.

  • If anyone were to watch the deliveries they will notice that the chicken (Murray’s) and the pork (IBP, Smithfiield) and beef (NBP) is all commodity and exactly the same beef that other supermarkets get, as well as the commodity California produce, so to say that it is inferior is biased and incorrect. While the fish are not luxurious species (mackerel, mullet, pompano, vermillion snapper) it is the best quality available in the area -all ungutted and unscaled; whole and pristine, and not available at TJ or Yes!.

    The meat selection (pork tongues, tails, ears, beef tripe, collars, etc…) was a variety not found elsewhere. It is only supermarket that sells bread that does not contain any additives, just flour, yeast, water and salt. Read the list of ingredients on LaBrea’s or any other bread at the other major supermarket.

    Yes! has more organic products and they are priced accordingly. Bestworld has a variety of produce that you will not find easily elsewhere -quince, fresh chickpeas, fresh chilis, malang, taro, hubbard squash, kabocha squash and for a very reasonable price.

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