H Street to Get a Whole Foods Around 7th and H St, NE?

by Prince Of Petworth — February 1, 2013 at 10:30 am 87 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

A tasty bit of scuttlebutt this Friday morning – even though a brand new Giant is coming to 4th and H St, NE – I hear that Whole Foods is very close to signing a letter of intent for a property at 7th and H St, NE (either the Murry’s building or the drap dc government building). Another source confirms that they are looking but that this prospect is way way way in the future. Anyway, given our love for grocery stores – thought you’d want to hear as soon as possible.

Think H Street could support a Giant and a Whole Foods so close together?

Last week we spoke about our favorite grocery stores and Whole Foods came in a respectable third behind Trader Joe’s and Wegmans.

  • I’d prefer a trader joe’s… any chance of making that happen?

    • I’d prefer if the first comment to every post about something new coming in not be a negative… any chance of making that happen?

      • not from ohio

        I don’t really see that as being negative. The individual just prefers a trader joe’s. Given that there will be a Giant 3 blocks away, I think a trader joe’s would make more sense.

        Maybe you’re being negative by assuming every alternative preference is inherently negative, when it’s really inherently neutral.

        • Maybe it is the way I read it. But, I read starting off the conversation about having a high end grocery store go into an underserved area with the sentiment “I wish it were something else” as being negative, not neutral.

      • 1st comment “negative” and 2nd comment snarky – yep pretty standard.

        • +1. Fair enough.

          • Smiley

            How underserved will the neighborhood be? A Giant will be opening up three blocks away. There is a Harris Teeter on 1st and M NE already and an admittedly lousy Safeway at Hechinger Mall on the other end of H. There is also an Aldi a few blocks past the Safeway.

  • YES please! I think we need a Whole Foods on this side of town. Amazed but not surprised that this hasn’t happened before. Seems the more interesting grocery stores refuse to expand outside of NW.

    • Nicoli

      I agree that Capitol Hill needs a Whole foods but it isn’t easy to get from the south to the north side of Capitol Hill. I’d likely go here but it won’t be a regular option especially for the prepared foods. Can we get one in the near SE area as well? Maybe down at M and 8th st SE?

      • I truly think SE would be a better location, not just because I live there 😉

      • +1

        • As far as I know, Whole Foods is still interested in the Navy Yard part of SE (mostly because there are still a lot of buildable blocks that would fit the store) — grocers don’t want to go south of M Street SE because of baseball traffic, but there a number of good sites left around Canal Park and along NJ Ave SE.

  • Lane

    I’d love it if it were true, but this seems about as likely as a Honey Pig on H Street or an Ellwood Thompson’s in Columbia Heights.

  • John

    Just what H Street needs right now, more overpriced yuppie food.

    • Anonymous

      There are plenty of cheap eats on H Street. You should get out more.

    • Lane

      I didn’t read this as sarcastic. H Street does need more quality yuppie food. We already have Horace and Dickie’s and Chicken & Rice.

      • Anonymous

        Define “Yuppie” food. I think Atlas Room and Smith Common’s fit that bill. But I would not consider Argonaut, Liberty Tree, Shawafel, Board Room, etc to be considered “yuppie food” based on their moderate/low price points (minus alcohol, of course).

        • hipster food, yuppie food, what’s the difference…either way don’t expect the old school cheap places like crown chicken to last very long.

          • “hipster food, yuppie food, what’s the difference”

            That says a lot

        • Lane

          I think the burden is on John to define “yuppie.” If it’s just price, then you’re right. Lots of great affordable food to eat in this area. The Whole Foods would make it a lot easier to make such food in my own kitchen, though, hence my excitement and posting one million times to this thread.

          • Rich

            Exposure to WF over the long haul doesn’t necessarily make one a fan. Most of the Whole Foods produce (Driscoll berries and the like) is the same stuff that is sold at Safeway or Giant and just as likely to have problems. Ditto much of the junk food and frozen stuff. The bakery is hit or miss and a lot of it looks better than it tastes (the cakes, for example). I’ve had surprisingly bad luck with the deli although i like the premade sandwiches. It would be easy to live w/o WF and I’m looking forward to Giant reopening at 8th & O. I didn’t trust the seafood or meat in the old store there, but anything else was fine and a lot of the problem was neglect while Giant waited for the city and the developer to move ahead.

    • Hillified


  • Anonymous

    From Hipsterville to Yuppie Hell, so are the Days of our Lives…

    Joking aside, I sincerely doubt two grocery stores would set up shop literally within a eye shot of each other. Not saying is hasn’t been done, but I think it is a rather rare occurrence. Fingers cross it’s not a Whole Foods – not a fan of the CEO.

    • Lane

      The Safeway at Hechinger Mall is within eyeshot of the Aldi. The Safeway on 14th and E SE is a 1/4 mile walk from the Harris Teeter at Potomac Circle. Could happen.

    • JoeEsq74

      7th & H NE? There have been rumors that a grocery story is coming to Monroe Street Market. MSM is also at 7th Street NE (Monroe Street / Michigan Ave not H) Supposedly neighbors in Brookland (Edgewood) have been actively lobbying Whole Foods via e-mail. (I want Harris Teeter.) Whole Foods in Brookland would give Columbia Heights / Pleasant Plains folk a second WF option. My understanding is Whole Foods is big on dedicated parking and the MSM development is supposed to have a hundreds of underground spaces. So far the MSM developers have not announced any retail tenants this would make a big splash. I originally heard Whole foods would be part of McMillan development but that appears to be on hold again.

      • Lane

        It’s interesting that they’re so big on parking. The P Street location must have been an expensive garage to dig out but it can’t have more than 20-25 spaces.

        • JoeEsq74

          Whole Foods is very specific about where they try to locate stores…

          -Large number of college-educated residents
          -200,000 people or more in a 20-minute drive time
          -Abundant parking available for our exclusive use Supposedly this requirement helped keep Whole Foods out of DCUSA. The developers would not provide exclusive parking. (I’m sure if this is inaccurate someone will correct me)
          Monroe Street Market developers would likely bend over backwards for an anchor tenant like Whole Foods especially if they can announce before apartment leasing starts.

      • kbax79

        I’ve also heard about a Whole Foods at MSM which you are right is also at 7th st NE. In any event, its definitely got to be one or the other. Can’t see Whole Foods coming to two places in NE.

      • Beau

        I prefer Harris Teeter at Monroe St also

    • saf

      For years there was a Thriftway next door to the Safeway on Columbia Rd.

      And Giant was at 14th and Newton while Safeway was at 14th and Park.

      • Rich

        Giant was next to Safeway on Columbia for years. they left in 1990.

    • E

      Grocery stores are not all the same. They have very segmented customer bases. I used to live in Reston. In North Reston, there is a Giant, Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter, each one within a 2 miles of each other. And there is a Safeway in Herndon that is just barely outside of that 2 mile radius. Point is, its not about how close they are to one another, it’s about how they segment. The District example….on the Wests end…there is a Trader Joes and a Whole Foods within walking distance of each other.

  • Anonymous

    I think this would be excellent – I def think the community could support it.

  • Anonymous

    Is drap a combination of drab and crap?

  • Well this will really spruce up H Street’s Stabby Row!

    • Anonymous

      Either that, or it would be the first Whole Foods with bulletproof glass!

      • saf

        Funny, I remember these comments about the 14 & P Whole Foods (or as it was then, Fresh Fields). The exact same comments.

      • Anony

        Ha, what a trip to see the cashiers using bullet proof lazy susans

  • the area could definitely support both a giant and a whole foods. that will be the straw that breaks the came’ls back. with the exception of northern part of trinidad and the carver langston area east of there, the whole area will be high end within a few years.

  • Jen

    Whole Foods is more for foodies than it is for yuppies, and the Hill DESPERATELY needs a Whole Foods or a Wegmans. I think it would be totally fine to have a Giant and a Whole Foods on the same street. Shoppers go to each store for different things and there aren’t any other Giants or Whole Foods anywhere close to the Hill. What we do NOT need is another Harris Teeter or Safeway.

    • +1

      • Words that really need to go away… Foodie, Yuppie, Hipster.

        • Anonymous

          People that need to go away: foodies, yuppies, and hipsters!

          • manimal

            neither of y’alls dreams will come true.

          • Yes, if only everyone fit your mold!

          • Caroline

            As much as I hate to admit it I think I’m a combination of all three.

    • Anonymous

      sorry, but wholes foods caters to YUPPIES. that’s why why it’s so popular.
      maybe you hate the term, but most foodies are yuppies anyway.

    • monkeyrotica

      The Wegmans model doesn’t work in cities: car dependent with massive parking and sprawling acreage. Ask any urban neighborhood that’s lobbied for one, they’ll tell you. They have no interest in developing an urban store.

      • JoeEsq74

        Walter Reed might work for Wegmans.

  • ET

    Why wold they put a full size grocery literally within sight of another?

    I am sure there are a number of people that will not shop WF for a host of reasons and I am sure there are some who live east of East Cap who drive to whatever WF they shop at. I just wonder how successful it will be with the Giant so close even considering the new condos that will develop over the coming years. I honestly don’t know.

    • You could build a Whole Foods on top of a Giant and they still wouldn’t compete with one another.

    • Anonymous

      The Social Safeway and the Whole Foods in Glover Park are, what, about a 10 minute walk from each other? Seems to work.

    • manimal

      “Why wold they put a full size grocery literally within sight of another?”

      to make money. there is no other reason a corporation opens new stores.

  • Nolo

    Please, please, please be true.

    • Anonymous


  • Katie

    They need to build this closer to Capitol Hill. It would get way more business. Putting it on H street makes it too hard for everyone in the Eastern Market area to walk to, which let’s face it, is probably where a Whole Food’s main demographic is more likely to be living when compared to H street.

    • Nolo

      This is just wrong.

    • Um, this is pretty rude. Are you saying that, since I live close to H, there’s no way I could really afford to shop at a Whole Foods?

      On a different note, I do generally like Whole Foods, but I don’t ever go to the ones in DC (P St and GTown) because of the attitudes of people shopping there. Everyone seems to act like they are better/richer than anybody else. I’d agree with prior comments that a Trader Joe’s would be a much better option here.

      • I’m curious: how have fellow shoppers at WF at either locale here in DC bothered you specifically? How do snobbish people affect your shopping experience?

        When I’m at WF on P St, I’m generally trying to get my stuff as quickly as possible so I can get out of that zoo. Don’t really notice those around me. Perhaps I come across as a snob that way :).

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, I shop at P St. often. I find it’s typically more crowded than some other locations (like Tenleytown and Foggy Bottom) and sometimes people tend to float around the aisles oblivious to other shoppers trying to get by…but people do that everywhere. I’ve never had anyone cop an attitude with me there, rich or otherwise.

      • JDS

        You come across as very defensive in this comment. Katie simply stated that Whole Food’s main demographic is more likely to live on Capitol Hill, which seems quite reasonable given that Capitol Hill is more densely populated than H St NE

      • Anonymous

        Please tell me more about this attitude you detect because I shop at the P St WF at least once a week and have never had a problem with the other shoppers. Also, there are at least four Whole Foods in DC, not two.

    • Nearby H

      What the Eastern Market area lacks that H Street will have is density. The number of large apt/condo projects slated for H will more than provide WF the customer base it needs to thrive. Those who think otherwise don’t understand the how many huge projects are in the works along the H St corridor.

      • anon

        And, based on WF’s criteria that JoeEsq74 mentioned above, H St is a much better location to build underground parking that anywhere else on Cap Hill since there is much more buildable land.

    • manimal

      my opinion is that there are many neighborhoods in that a whole foods could set up in and still be busy. the p street one is far to popular as it is. somedays it’s an absolute cluster fuck to shop there.

      to say one popular area is better than another popular area is to truly underestimate the city you live in.

    • By the time this is built if it is true that will no longer be the case.

    • Caroline

      I live in Capitol Hill SE, but I would rather see a Whole Foods come to H Street than my neighborhood. We already have a lot of grocery options: Harris Teeter, Safeway, Yes Organic, and Eastern Market, plus the farmer’s line on Tuesday and the weekends and a wonderful organic farmer’s market on Wednesdays in the summer. I like Whole Foods and would definitely shop at one if it was nearby, but H Street is a pleasant walk away (maybe not in this weather but certainly the rest of the year) and the 90-series buses take us directly there as well. The midsection of H Street desperately needs something like this– it’s still underdeveloped and attracts mostly sketchy characters. I prefer to walk home from H Street at night than take the bus because I feel so uncomfortable waiting at that bus stop. A Whole Foods would bring in more people to that area, making it safer. Also, isn’t there a big condo building slated to go up where the H Street Connection is? If nothing else the Whole Foods should get a lot of business from those future residents.

  • poopoo

    i would shop there exclusively. look what whole foods did to P street!

    idiots that are against this are just… plain idiots.

  • bakerette

    Putting this closer to Eastern Market makes no sense in my mind. The benefit of EM is a better selection of fish, meats, cheese and produce — which is pretty much my main reason for shopping at Whole Foods. Having a Giant a couple blocks away doesn’t change my shopping habit because I’m not buying meat, cheese or seafood there. I think this would do well along H St. There needs to be a quality place to buy fish and meat in the area. (Harris Teeter, Safeway and Giant I do not count as quality locations for those products.)

    • Anonymous

      The thing is…most of the produce/meat in the Market itself is pretty awful. There are some good vendors that show up on the weekends, but the offerings inside Eastern Market proper leave much to be desired.

    • Anonymous

      i agree with bakerette. it would be a crime to build a whole foods too close to eastern market.

  • anonymous

    Yes! Please let this be true!!!

  • Anonymous

    This would be amazing but I am not holding my breath. Would be a welcome addition not just for produce that’s not hit-or-miss about being half rotten (I’m looking at you, Potomac Ave. Harris Teeter!), but also the salad bar as another quick food option. Just wish it was a little farther east, around 10th Street or something.

    • 7th St would be the dream location – would bridge the gentrification gap between 5th and 12th.

      • Anonymous

        Good point. H Street probably cannot reach its potential without addressing the “dead zone.”

  • Anonymous

    columbia heights needs one!

  • This would be amazing! I live in Trinidad and would DEFINITELY shop here! I’m excited for the new Giant because they have good prices, but when it comes to fresh vegetables, meats, or beer I like to splurge and would make a separate trip to Whole Foods to take advantage of their better choices. I’m not holding my breath but if this is true it would be awesome.

  • Amie Sanok

    please please please please please

  • BB

    For everyone who does want to see a Whole Foods here, why don’t we bring this petition back to life.

  • SingLikeSassy

    I don’t get how the Giant being nearby is a problem, but then I shop at Whole Foods and there’s a Giant across the street from where I live. I would patronize this store because it would be closer to where I live and work than the one on P Street which is always crowded and just overwhelming sometimes.

  • Anonymous

    Whole foods on H would print moolah. I’d certainly shell out some. Love the beer selection and salad bar. Come to daddy.

  • wylie coyote

    The density to support two grocery stores is coming. There is about to be serious residential density in the H Street area between the residences above the Giant, the proposed residences on the 600 block (both sides), and the Rappaport project that is supposed to replace the mini-mall from 800-1000 block. All of this housing is high end. And I doubt any of those new residents would be shopping at Safeway or Aldi on the east end of the corridor (no disrespect to those stores, Safeway in particular has serious issues with long lines, occasional cleanliness and stocking issues (items placed nowhere near their respective price tag, etc) and Aldi has significantly long lines as well whenever I walk in (I can’t picture someone paying over $2,000/mo. in rent or living in a luxury condo who wants to deal with those kinds of customer service/experience issues).

    Even with a cashier at almost every register, there are still one or two people in every line at Harris Teeter every time I show up there (including on my days off in the middle of the day). So, I think the density is present to support a new grocery store in this area.

    (add on the new developments on the west end, 3rd & I, etc, and you definitely see the density coming along in the neighborhood).

  • liz

    Why don’t more people go to Aldi’s to get their dry goods.. it’s so ridiculously cheap and the quality is just the same as the brand names. I’m surprise it’s not even on the list.

    • Anonymous

      I can’t speak for the others, but 90% of what I buy on a regular basis is fresh produce. I like Aldi, but I certainly can’t shop there exclusively and a lot of the dry goods I buy (like dried beans or tomato paste) aren’t really much cheaper there.

  • Anonymous

    1st Whole foods on the Bowery in NYC. Now WF on H St NE DC? Before we know it we’ll hear of chorus of complaints about the hip bars and clubs are getting priced out. Isn’t that what built the current H st?

  • SBreezy

    I live near 13/H and routinely shop at P St WF. If one was built closer, I’d rarely cross No Capitol.

  • Kerry

    I would love to have a Whole Foods anywhere in Capitol Hill, and would gladly accept NE or SE. Grocery shopping on the Hill is actually a pain. I would also love to see a Trader Joe’s. The latter is more affordable, of course, but really, I would be happy to see either!!!


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