New Giant Grocery Store at Cathedral Commons Ribbon Cutting Tonight, Grand Opening 6am Tomorrow – A Look Inside

3336 Wisconsin Ave, NW (just north of Macomb)

First I have to say – I love that they kept the old 1950s neon sign – awesome! Other memorable element of the store is that it has a ton of self check out stations – good beer and wine selection, they’ll steam lobsters for you, there’s a full service bank, a big starbucks cafe with awesome old map mural – but for me – it’s all about the sign.

Also if you live nearby and happen to see the ribbon cutting at 6pm tonight – they’ll let you in to shop afterwards. Regular store hours are 6am – midnight.


Have a look inside the new 58,000 square foot store after the jump.


















31 Comment

  • I wish they wouldn’t steam live lobsters.

    • Mmmm… so tasty.

    • They’re a little too chewy eaten raw.

    • So, I guess you’d prefer they didn’t sell lobsters at all, then? Considering that I don’t know that they’d sell you a live lobster to take home. Do they even offer something to carry a live lobster home IN? Never seen one in most stores I’ve been to….

      • Fish markets often have cardboard boxes with handles so you can take them home live.

      • It is possible to get a live lobster from Giant. I once got a couple from the Columbia Heights store…but I really don’t enjoy killing those poor creatures with boiling water. I might just get frozen lobsters in the future, it’s cheaper and almost as tasty (though haven’t seen any whole frozen lobsters in DC).

  • I wish this had been around when I used to live in that neighborhood! Looks awesome!

  • I’m glad they kept the neon sign too! It hadn’t even occurred to me that they might bring it back.

  • palisades

    Whoa I like the beer thing they got goin on. I want that DC map! That’s a lot of self checkouts. I’ll definitely have to peep this.

  • Wow, how many years did they haggle over replacing the old Giant?

    • The real story is more complicated that the short-hand version that somehow the community held up a store for years. Around 2000 Giant wanted to build a new store, but it would have presented a big blank wall to Wisconsin Ave and was not welcomed (though, in hindsight, many locals wish that it had been built). In any case, Giant changed its mind and withdrew its proposal. A few years later, Giant agreed in a document signed with Mayor Williams, the office of planning and community groups to build a new store with a more lively frontage on Wisconsin. Then Giant got acquired, the parent corp was distracted by SEC charges, and Giant basically walked away from the agreement. The local ANC and neighborhood assoc kept trying to get Giant to re-engage and finally they did so around 2005 with a design that was almost universally lauded. But then they changed it again, make it bigger, etc., and some opposition started all over again. Giant eventually got what it wanted without further changes, basically by salting a lot of political contributions around the Fenty administration. And here it is today. Some like it a lot, some think it’s mediocre and uninspired, some worry it will overwhelm the side streets with traffic, others aren’t sure. Time will tell.

      • ” but it would have presented a big blank wall to Wisconsin Ave and was not welcomed”
        Interesting, that’s exactly what the brand new Georgia Ave Safeway presents to Georgia Ave, and I thought that was baffling. Why do these grocery store chains prefer that configuration?

  • I heard on the radio that they are going to have a station where you can buy beer and wine and drink it while you shop. I really wish I lived closer

  • Giant in CH sells live lobsters, uncooked, and simply places them in a paper bag and staples it shut. Delicious!

    Just out of curiosity, are you opposed to hunting as well? I think that if you know what you’re doing, killing a live lobster yourself is a lot more humane than the average meat / seafood available for purchase. (Assuming that’s your reason for wishing they didn’t steam them…)

  • I see a few folks doing the drinking-while-shopping thing at the O Street. Just strikes me as weird.

  • Wow. Beautiful. Really wish this would have been there when I lived on Idaho Ave. Would have come daily for all the fresh food and/or deli station. Other than that…get some Richmond bears to go with the other locals!!! (Hardywood, Stone Brewing, Legend, etc)

  • We do have live lobster that u can buy I work there hope to see some of u guys

  • At 58,000 sq ft, you kind of wonder where Giant is going to find its customers to make something of this size economically viable. The immediate neighborhood probably gravitates more toward the Whole Foods side of the spectrum, and Upper NW isn’t exactly a food desert, as there are a number of existing grocery options.

    I went in the store, and while they sell organic packaged goods I didn’t see any organic produce (although they have lots of non-organic produce). What gives with that, Giant? — It’s 2014 already!

    • maxwell smart

      “The immediate neighborhood probably gravitates more toward the Whole Foods side of the spectrum” False and a gross over-generalization of the area. Myself and others are actually very excited to get this Giant store back in the neighborhood.

  • My guess is that Giant believes that this drink -while-you shop-thing will help it to attract a younger, hipper demographic. But watching Giant trying to remake itself as urban, hip or upscale is a little like watching a grandpa in mom jeans going clubbing.

    By the way, a note of caution to those who drink while they shop a little too enthusiastically: There’s a police station about 200 feet from the Giant garage!

  • Appreciate the supermarket and Starbucks. BUT… it is not a stand-alone Starbucks. This new one is dark and has metal chairs. Why no windows? The Giant, after all the hype about competing with the Social Safeway, is, quite frankly, not impressive. There is no sitting area. It feels rather cramped. They designed the whole lot around the Giant, but the narrow, single entrance is a pain – people and carts crossing every way. Poor entry-exit design. Why no atrium? No windows? Only one small entrance? But, otherwise, we greatly appreciate having it open and nearby. I just wish it was more “landmark” and impressive and “warm” – for instance, the Social Safeway has a wonderful corner cafe space with fireplace, windows, balcony, TVs, even some leather couches and chairs.

  • I recall going to a community meeting when Giant unveiled its plans, and people were asking for at least one more entrance to the Giant, with a door and maybe window frontage on Wisconsin Ave. Giant resisted, and seemed obsessed about store security and shoplifting. I thought this was strange, because the Whole Foods just up the road in Tenleytown has at least three doors. I agree that Giant missed a real opportunity to build something really nice. The store is ok, but its just a big box, with one entrance and hardly any natural light. Also, unless they intend it to become a “regional” Giant for this side of DC, the store does seem outscaled to the surrounding area.

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