Dear PoP – Help Verify Safeway Nicknames

by Prince Of Petworth July 24, 2009 at 11:00 am 57 Comments

Back in April ’08 we addressed this issue when a reader wondered what was Georgia Ave. Safeway nickname. But since I get this question fairly frequently I thought we could use this post to put together the definitive list.

“Dear PoP,

I was wondering if you could do me a big favor. My friends and I are trying to compile a list of Safeway nicknames. So far, our list is:

* Secret Safeway (20th and S or 42nd and Ellicott sts NW)
* Senior Safeway 2550 Virginia Ave NW (Watergate)
* Sexy Safeway 5th and L St NW
* Social Safeway 1855 Wisconsin Ave NW (Georgetown)
* Socialist Safeway 1747 Columbia Rd NW (Adams Morgan- there’s debate about the Columbia Road one- aka Spanish/Salvadorean/Sandinista Safeway- do you have an opinion?)
* Southwest Safeway 401 M St SW
* Soviet Safeway 1701 Corcoran St NW
* Subterranean Safeway (Rosslyn)
* Superfly Safeway -? We’ve heard the name, but don’t know where this one would be
* Townhouse Safeway 1800 20th St NW
* Un-Safeway 415 14th St SE”

Does the list above look right? Are there others that have been left off?

  • The Safeway on MacArthur Blvd. in the Palisades is a small, quiet store that never seems to be crowded or especially lively. I call if “Soporific Safeway.”

    I never understood the “Sexy Safeway” nickname for the one at 5th & L NW, unless hot nuts have aphrodisiac properties unknown to me. The store instead seems to be striving to maintain an upscale image in an area that, at best, is transitioning; I always call it “Striving Safeway.”

  • Mark

    Georgia Ave Safeway = Not So Safeway

  • SG

    The Real Secret Safeway is historically the one on 42nd and Ellicott. The Safeway on Columbia is the any one of the three- Salvadoran, Sandanista, or “Spanish” Safeway.

    Isn’t the one on Georgia Ave just the “Shitty Safeway”?

  • Anonymous

    How many of your blog posts exist for no other reason than to up your ad revenue?

  • I’ve always referred to the GA Ave location as stinky/smelly safeway.

  • JL

    Agreed- Georgia Ave is Stinky Safeway. How could that not be first on a Petworth blog?

  • Andrew

    That one on 42nd and Ellicott up in Tenleytown/AU Park has been called the Super-Secret Safeway. It’s got its back to the street, and the sign is hidden behind Martens VW. The place gets swarmed by kids from Georgetown Day at lunch every day, though.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @Anon11:21am ??? Safeway is not an advertiser. Not to mention this was a reader submitted question.

  • Rod

    That Safeway behind the VW dealer is a well-kept secret. Now that the Social Safeway is closed, it’s probably the nicest one in town, other than the new one over by the Convention Center. It’s a little small, but it’s always clean and has surprisingly friendly and courteous staff.

  • Isn’t the GA Ave one the “Scary Safeway”

  • The one on 20th is called the Secret Safeway, even though it is technically the Townhouse Safeway. I like the idea of the one on 42nd being called the Super-Secret Safeway, to distinguish the two.

    In my group of friends, the one on Columbia (Spanish/Salvadoran/Sandinista) is simply called “El Safeway”.

  • Jimmy D

    I beginning to call the Safeway on Columbia Rd the “Just-because-it’s-cheaper-doesn’t-mean-it-has-to-be-dirty-and-horribly-managed-which-is-why-I-don’t-like-going-there-anymore Safeway.” It’s something of a mouthful though. I’m working on shortening it.

  • Collin

    I always knew the Safeway on Benning Rd NE as the “un-Safeway”. Also props for “El Safeway”

  • I’m moving up by the Georgia Ave Safeway. I really hope its not as bad as people make it seem!

  • The safeway at Rhode Island Ave Metro — The “not so safeway”, and “the Rapeway”.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @ThriftyDCCook – it is set to be renovated at some point.

  • Anonymous

    I always prefered ‘Stealth Safeway’ for the ’20th & S NW’.

    The ‘Un-Safeway’ on 14th SE is dated but still funny. The biggest danger now is burning your tongue on a Starbuck’s latte that’s too hot.

    Still disappointed ‘Same Old Safeway’ never stuck at any of the newer ones. It’s not like there’s a governing body to which you can petition on these names.

  • Ross

    GA Safeway = without a doubt Stinky Safeway

  • quigley

    The one on Georgia Ave near Walter Reed is the ‘no-stock’ Safeway.

  • The one on Columbia Rd is Señor Safeway. And that is final.

  • Ocoee

    Smelly Safeway

    (Could Yes! please open ASAP!)

  • Rob

    The way up Georgia on Piney Branch is the Suburban Safeway.

  • Nita

    @Thrifty DC Cook, I’m a block from the GA Ave Safeway (definitely STINKY Safeway) and its good in a pinch, particularly for dry goods and other non-perishables. However, for produce and meat, you’d be better off going to Giant in Columbia Heights. The Yes Organic higher up Georgia is opening by the end of the month, so there will be that option too. I’ve heard discussions to renovate the Safeway have stalled due to the economy.

  • Phil

    Connecticut Ave at Chevy Chase Circle… Senior Citizen Safeway

  • KT

    The safeway at Potomac Ave metro I always called “Shoot em up Safeway”, but that was before their major renovation…it’s really nice now and the staff is great.

  • ma

    The Safeway up in Chevy Chase on Conneciticut would classify more as a “suburban” safeway than anything on GA ave…

  • I love my Georgia Ave safeway. i always lived down the block and it went thru so many nick names as i grew up.
    Stinky Safeway
    The Unsafeway and more.

    1 renovation back in the 80’s i think it was.

    The funny part of life (as a kid in the 80’s n 70’s) is being caught stealing something like M&M’s and being taken to the back and having your picture taken.

    They had the wall of shame.
    All the kids, cousins and my sister picture was on the wall. lol

    They would list your name and date of theft and how long until you are allowed back in the store.

    ps: no parents called unless you come back in b4 your time-out was over.

  • I’ve been wondering this for a while (and this is kind of off topic) but, have any of the people clamoring for the Yes! actually been inside one? Or, is it just a matter of it seeming better than the options you currently have?

    Because, every few months I pop into the one here on Penn Ave. SE and it’s pretty terrible. They don’t have much that you can’t get someplace else that’s way less cramped, the produce isn’t really fresh, and it’s so cramped. I’ve only ever been to the one here (on the Hill) and one other, but they both seem the same to me. There’s no way you can substitute a regular grocery store with Yes. Supplement, maybe, but even then. If I’m looking for someplace to supplement the UnSafeway or Harris Teeter, I usually go to the Trader’s in Old Town, rather than the Yes around the corner.

    Oh, and @Anon 11:48, I was thinking the same thing! But, I still remember the bad old days – now when I see the wood floors, the organic foods, the olive bar, and the Starbucks it’s hard to imagine a time when they didn’t even have tomato juice!

  • Ian C

    Re: GA Ave Safeway

    Last report had Safeway and the city fighting over the renovation plans. Safeway is not interested in a multi-story development, and the city is insisting upon density, since the location is so near a Metro. And that’s where we currently sit.

  • Emmaleigh504

    team Sandinista

  • Jeff on 8th

    How about “Stankonia Safeway”, derived by combining the title to OutKast’s October 31, 2000 released Stankonia.

    As I have said many a time, “I wish Safe would just sale this property and get the f*** out of Petworth”.

    Any good Lawyers reading the blog today…. As I am having one of those Pinky and the Brain moments….

    Could the community sue Safeway in DC Superior Court on the grounds that their neglect of that property and their disrespect of the community has causes the community financial and emotional distress. And for the greater good of the community have it taken via eminent domain for economic development by Court and a point the DC government and community as a trustee of the property. Then have DC government and community work together to identify another entity that will purchase and redevelop the property.

  • Anonymous


    Yes is good for a occasional odd item, but it’s very pricey for everyday shopping (even compared to WF). The only advantage is a modest bulk section which is pretty comparable to WF.

  • Odentex

    The other problem with the Stinky Safeway is no beer. Stinky I can take, but no suds? Tragic.

  • DcMer

    I’ve always heard thr 14th St. SE referred to as Shoot-Out Safeway

  • Bradford

    I thought that the Georgia Ave safeway was the “sixties safeway” because it seriously looks like it sprung from Eero Saarinen’s idea of what a futuristic grocery store should look like.

    Hmm… maybe “Saarinen Safeway?”

  • Thanks for the info on the Georgia Ave Safeway. I for one would be okay with a multilevel grocery store. It works in New York and and if they put in one of those escalators where the cart can travel with you, that would be even better. But I’m sure that Safeway is trying to fight so that they don’t have to pay for that.

    Can anyone tell me the closest farmers market location in that area?

  • Anonymous

    We always called the Watergate Safeway the “Soviet Safeway” because they were always low on stock… Otherwise, not sure “Senior” fits when it’s usually filled with GW kids from the nearby apartment buildings.

  • U

    The one on 17th is Soviet Safeway–has been forever.

    I prefer “Psuedo” Safeway for the Townhouse near 20th and S, because its a “Townhouse” rather than a full blown Safeway, and ‘Psuedo” sounds like it starts with an S but really doesn’t, i.e., just like the Townhouse is a Safeway but really isn’t.


    People, people, people! The GA Ave. Safeway is equally STINKY and SKETCHY! More stinky though….

  • Christina

    The Ga. Ave Safeway isn’t THAT bad. It isn’t that good, either. But the people who work there are nice, to me anyway. But why am I somehow unsurprised that the renovation plans are on hold…

  • Christina

    Farmer’s Markets:


  • Drewlove

    My friends and I refer to the Columbia Rd location as the Salsa Safeway.

  • Dominique

    “Doesn’t have Cilantro” Safeway is what I call it my mind or “The Crappy Safeway”.

  • Ferdelance

    GA Safeway is refered to by my long time neighbors as Ghetto-Way.

  • bdh

    I have to admit to being torn – I’ve always known my Safeway on Columbia as the Salvadorean Safeway, though I am highly tempted by the idea of Señor Safeway.

    But after after saying “El Safeway!” out loud in my best 99.1 El Zol FM announcer voice, I’m sold. “El Safeway!” it is.

  • Anonymous

    Back in the day — and with all due respect — the 17th St. & Corcoran Safeway was AKA the Gay Way.

  • I’ve always called the one at 20th and S NW the Semi-Safeway & the one on 42nd St NW the Secret Safeway.

    The first Soviet Safeway was on K St between 20th and 21st NW – they had a deli and some basic supplies, sometimes.

  • Anon5

    Who the hell cares? Safeway is bloody expensive.

  • Anonymous

    What is this, 1998? Lame….

  • I’ve always known the Watergate Safeway at 2550 Virginia Ave NW not as the “Senior Safeway,” but rather the “Senile Safeway.” Possibly a more offensive moniker, but more descriptive… ;)

  • I agree with Anon at 2:59 pm. When I was living in the GW frat houses one summer, the Watergate Safeway was called the ‘Soviet Safeway’ and the Corcoran St one the ‘Gay Way’.

    But I will agree, the shoppers at the Watergate were either really young college students like me, or else really, really old.

  • mm

    What about the new Safeway at 5th and K (ish)?
    My gf lost her wallet there right after it opened, and I started calling it the Stolen Wallet Safeway.
    Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for naming purposes, the wallet was – get this – found by someone who noticed the address on her driver’s license and realized they were friends with our neighbors two doors down.

    This set into motion a whole series of events – them driving the wallet over to our neighbor’s house, our neighbor leaving us a note, and us finally retrieving the wallet.

    Maybe Serendipity Safeway?

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was Gayfway? In order to keep the structure of the word intact?

  • RD

    Stinky Safeway is that bad, smell wise at least. I still go there for essentials when i don’t feel like hopping in the car, though. that will change when Yes! opens up, unless Safeway gets on board with new, less stinkier store.

  • Bitter Elitist

    Like Gradually,

    I call it “El Se Fue”. Sandinista is nice too though. Don’t really shop there though. It’s gross.

  • m.e.

    what’s stinky about the GA ave safeway? it’s a fine store. i think “sketchy” describes it better….cuz its stock is a little sketchy–it doesn’t have all the fancy stuff the others do. nice people work there!

  • Anonymous

    So, if I’m moving to Ga avenue, where is the best place to go for groceries? Doesn’t sound like Safeway or Yes are going to be good.


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