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Cowgirl Creamery Closing at end of the Month in Penn Quarter – Farewell Note from the Owners

by Prince Of Petworth December 16, 2013 at 10:30 am 46 Comments

919 F Street, NW

Back in November we were excited to learn that Cowgirl Creamery would be open for extended holiday hours. Little did we know…

“A Wonderful run in the District”:


And while CityPaper quotes one of the owners:

“I would never give up on Washington,” Smith says. “We love it.”

Sadly, I’d say the possibility of reopening is not looking good as the DC Cowgirl Creamery facebook page has gone defunct. Plus there is no mention of opening elsewhere in DC in their note above and they end their farewell with – “…hope that you will come see us at our two shops in Northern California.”

Sad news for fellow cheese lovers. Cowgirl Creamery opened up at 919 F Street, NW back in 2006.

But all is not lost for cheese fanatics – Sona Creamery should be opening up near Eastern Market soon – stay tuned.

  • anon

    Nooooooo! I love this shop. Great staff, awesome products and the best baguettes in town too.
    I will miss you muchisimo CC!

  • Anonymous

    I always thought that was an odd spot for a cheese shop. A place like Eastern Market makes a lot more sense.

  • Seth


  • Anonymous


  • ctk

    Farewell, former downstairs neighbor.

  • djs

    Silver lining: Whole Foods carries Cowgirl Creamery products. I have seen the mountaintop (of Mt. Tam), and it is good.

  • Pcat

    I am very bummed by this. I won’t be in SF until next April, so will have to make due with Mt. Tam and Red Hawk from WF. Losing the CC will just push more business to overpriced chain markets.

    • Anonymous

      And you’re implying that CC wasn’t overpriced?

      • Anonymous

        expensive and overpriced are not synonyms. it sold expensive cheese, that can’t be argued. it also sells superb cheese. that could be argued, but most will agree. superb things tend to cost more, on the basis of production cost (and to some extent margin for brand).

        • Anonymous

          I’m very well aware about the difference between expensive and overpriced. While I consume my fair share of expensive cheese, I did not intend to argue about whether or not it is overpriced. The OP above seemed to imply that once CC begins hocking their wares at the likes of Whole Foods (which I think they already have), we as consumers would get a worse deal than if we went directly to the source at 919 F St. I don’t believe this to be true. For a store that sells a highly specialized product, they would need to attract a high number of costumers and sell them a lot of high-margin cheese to cover what I assume were enormous overhead costs (to say nothing of profit). WH provides a much more diverse array of products and doesn’t have a problem of attracting regular costumers, thus they don’t need to see the same returns per pound of cheese as would a stand-alone store. I’d bet that CC cheese is priced at the same (if not lower) level at WH as it was at 919 F St.

  • tim

    That’s too bad. But, it’s somewhat predictable given the neighborhood (or lack of one) isn’t really ideal for this kinda place.

    Upscale places like these needs to be in Dupont, Logan, Georgetown, Eastern Market or some car friendly suburban location in Upper NW or Bethesda/Arlington/Alexandria. Sadly, Penn Quarter is and will always will be a office district with a handful of residential buildings, not a true urban neighborhood.

    • Anonymous

      I always meant to check this place out. But it was never a visit that juxtaposed well with whatever else I was in the area for (Portrait Gallery or clothes shopping usually).

      • Anonymous

        You should go before they close! it really is a delightful little shop. The staff is really knowledgeable and helpful, and they’ll let you sample anything. They also do tastings and things. Sniffle!!

    • Anonymous

      I agree, it’s like they had never been to DC before and just picked the location because it was on a busy downtown street. They were a unique destination-type place when they opened in 2006, but today there are lots of places where you can buy good cheese.

    • pb1

      The reason that Cowgirl opened there is the same for Red Apron and the Thursday farmer’s market. The base of their business is the surrounding restaurants. The retail business comes second.

  • sarah

    such a bummer, i always stop in when i’m downtown around lunchtime, their sandwiches are great!

  • MRD

    Wow, this really is sad news. I thought they were doing very well and was thinking they’d open another location in say, Shaw or Logan.


    • Anonymous

      I know, I was always surprised they hadn’t branched out. I thought they’d do well in Logan Circle/Dupont, or even Georgetown (more residents to support in addition to the clothes shoppers and tourists).

    • AG

      Sad. I think I only shopped in this place once. It was really cute, but I don’t go to Penn Quarter to buy cheese. It would have made much more sense in a more residential area or at least near other food shops.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with the others saying “bad location.” However, I’m sad to say I don’t see a very strong history of single-purpose specialty shops in this town. We’re not a SF or NY, replete with specialty bakeries, cheese-mongers, fish-mongers, butchers, etc. I wish they had had the flexibility (or taken the risk) to try a more residential neighborhood before leaving town.

    • KellyKapowski

      Totally. DC is rapidly catching up with big cities in this country on a lot of fronts – music, bars, restaurants, theater – but the “retail” scene just isn’t happening yet. Everytime I see a new storefront being remodeled in my neck of the woods (Bloomingdale/Shaw) I get my hopes up that it might be a cute specialty shop… every time, it’s a “tavern”. Sigh. Maybe someday! This wasn’t a good location for a cheese shop, as others have said, so I hope other potential shop openers don’t see this as a warning that the market here isn’t viable.

      • Anonymous

        You’re lucky if its a tavern. More often, a “lounge.” I want a data engineer to scrub yelp listings by city to come up with lounges per capita. I’ll eat my shorts if DC doesn’t win, at least for an Atlantic city. Maybe Vegas takes the crown?

        • Anonymous

          I like lounges and would love to have one in my neighborhood or somewhere close to it. They’re really just concentrated in one or two areas, and are always packed with people, so I wouldn’t say the demand’s been fully met yet.

          • Anonymous

            Lounges always seem to be trying to be three things at once, and never succeeding at standing out at any of them, unless douchiness is considered: restaurant, bar, nightclub.

      • Anonymous

        Maybe it’s not happening this way everywhere right now, but take a look at 14th Street. There’s a vibrant mix of shops along that stretch south of U Street.

      • Anonymous

        I’d be surprised if Sona doesn’t do well. That area already supports a lot of specialty food shops.

      • Anonymous

        There’s a meat market opening at Fl and 2nd relatively soon.

    • tim

      To be fair, really only NYC, SF, and maybe the Gold Coast of Chicago and inner-Boston offer the density and high income levels need to support these urban neighborhood upscale retail places. Otherwise, you need to make these type of stuff more car friendly to support them. It’s unpopular. But true.

      DC has pockets, but the city doesn’t have a critical mass of affluence at its core. Maybe if Georgetown/Dupont/Logan/Cap Hill were all crammed into DT DC. It is a really drawback of DC’s less dense, wideopen, low slung charm. This is changing little by little, but the fundamental limits to DC’s built environment constrain it.

      • Anonymous


  • bb

    That’s a shame. Hopefully they’ll try again in a neighborhood where people shop for food more often.

    • Anonymous

      Their note makes it clear they are headed back to the west coast.

      • Anonymous

        I guess they were unable/unwilling to tweak their business model to succeed in east coast cities.

        • Anonymous

          Their “business model”? They are a retail store. They sell cheese from a store front. Admittedly an “old fashioned” way of doing business in the era of Amazon. Do you mean unable/unwilling to move locations? Are you suggesting their (presumed) success at brick and mortal store sales in SF is because they either have a different “model” there or that the fundamentals of west coast retail are different? #confused.

          • Anonymous

            I mean in California you can plop a store like this in the middle of downtown and people will just drive to it even if they don’t live nearby. In a place like DC you have to consider that few people are driving to a place like Penn Quarter and aren’t going take a Metro trip just to get cheese.

          • Anonymous

            You should never open a retail business.

  • Florista

    As a somewhat-nearby office worker, I frequent(ed) this store a lot! I love their $20 host/hostess gift bag; three delicious cheeses plus a little CC knife – and gifted that OFTEN. Their lentil salads are delicious. Didn’t buy much of their sandwiches or cheese for home (I don’t live in DC), but love the shop for what it is/and now what it was. SAD!

    • Anonymous

      agreed. I’ll miss the gift bag, which was a fantastic gift that was always appreciated by recipients

  • Anonymous

    called it

    • Lisa

      13 years ago? Your powers of prognostication are profound.

      • Anonymous

        my powers of addition are equally profound.

  • cam

    I’d always thought the location was odd, and now I wish I’d given them more business than I did. I was definitely planning on getting some specialty cheeses for the holidays and will head over this week to see what’s remaining. Count me among the sad. I do think a different location would have made a difference!

  • Cheezy

    I’m going to pile on the “bad location” theme. “DC” can support speciality cheese shops and Cheesetique in Del Ray and Shirlington is a case in point. Maybe the trick is also being a restaurant that sells cheese-based foods. In any case, I’m always surprised that entrepreneurs open up places in area with super high rents and lots of competition, as opposed to going to places like Shaw, Bloomingdale, etc, where rents have to be lower (I’m guessing) and where demand is high cause there is little-to-no competition. What about Rhode Island Ave in NE? I can’t help but think that part of it is ignorance about the changing demographics.

  • Sad

    So sad, we actually live walking distance, but not in Penn Quarter and loved CC. Sad to see it go. I’m sure it will be replaced by a Gap or something as that seems to be the trend on F Street now. Boo.

  • hiphopanonymous

    Hopefully they will reopen on 14th st, or in Dupont Circle.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned Righteous Cheese in Union Market as an alternative to CC — unless I missed it. It’s a very special place!

  • Rich

    I’m guessing that now that F Street is showing signs of life, their rent has gone up. It may have been practical if they mostly operated wholesale, but being close to pretty unremarkable retail probably doesn’t help their retail business. The market for this stuff is pretty dispersed in the area and contrary to other comments, I’d say that DC is still less food savvy than a lot of places. Over priced mediocrity still rules despite signs of life in some sectors.


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