Bidwell DC Opened for Friends and Family in Union Market on Sunday – Will Open to All this Thursday

by Prince Of Petworth January 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm 16 Comments


Union Market’s newest restaurant is about to open at 1309 5th Street, NE in NoMa. From a press release:

“Union Market, the highly acclaimed food market redeveloped by EDENS, one of the nation’s leading retail real estate owners and developers, announced today that renowned chef John Mooney will return to his roots in Washington D.C. to open his highly anticipated restaurant concept, Bidwell on Thursday, January 9, 2014.

Bidwell’s motto and mantra is “Responsibly Sourced”, acknowledging the heritage of American cuisine and the offerings of neighboring artisanal Market vendors. The restaurant is named after General John Bidwell, a general in the U.S. Army in the 1800’s, a United States Presidential candidate in 1892, and founder of Chico, California. He was an avid farmer known for developing the Bidwell heirloom melon, a gold medal winning flour, and is credited for California’s first commercial raisin crop. Much of the produce served at Bidwell will come from its own crop of fruit and vegetables grown in over seventy aeroponic planters on the roof of Union Market; this is literally roof to table cuisine.

The Bidwell menu will feature several of Chef Mooney’s signature dishes with Southern flair and flavor including: Gin & Tonic Salmon with Caramelized Cauliflower, Crispy Deviled Eggs with Homemade Ranch Dressing, Lobster Taco with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa, and Suckling Pig. Completing the menu is a confidently curated selection of regional wines, craft beers and classic cocktails.

Designed by New York architectural firm GRADE, this expansive 120-seat restaurant will represent a perfect pairing of modern and historic industrial elements, GRADE’s way of acknowledging Union Market’s storied past while creating an enticing environment for its future guests. Design elements such as its strong lines and white tile lining the bar are balanced by aesthetically softer details including a sprawling white and beige marble countertop, reclaimed wood and charming lighting fixtures reminiscent of a time long ago. Its open kitchen with spacious Chef’s counter and additional outdoor seating will create a casual, social atmosphere in the midst of the bustling Market.

Chef John Mooney has traveled the world as a chef, honing his craft around a variety of cultures and cuisines. DC diners were the first to discover John, at Red Sage and then Raku. Following his time in D.C., Mooney launched the W Hotel New York’s flagship restaurant Heartbeat, where, as executive chef, his love for serving seasonal, fresh, and organic produce grew. In 2004, he was appointed corporate consulting chef of India’s Taj Hotel group, where he opened the country’s first organic restaurant, PURE by Michel Nischan. In 2008, at Highland Manor in Florida, he began aeroponic gardening. These practices were ultimately brought to the ultra-seasonal menu (and the rooftop) of his New York City West Village restaurant Bell, Book & Candle, where Mooney was named a 2011 StarChefs.com Rising Star Sustainability Chef. Bidwell will be an embodiment of his commitment to serving delicious, creative, naturally sourced American food.

Bidwell is located in Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington DC 20002 and the hours are as follows: Lunch will be served Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Dinner will be served Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and Brunch will be served on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.”

I took a peek at their friends and family menu and fondly recall something about lobster tacos…

Space looks nice too!


  • Irving Streete

    ” In 2004… he opened the country’s first organic restaurant, PURE by Michel Nischan….”
    Restaurant Nora would beg to differ.

    • Anonymous

      Alice Waters would tend to disagree too

      • Hard Bargain

        Did they open organic restaurants in India, too?

        • Anonymous

          Yay reading comprehension

  • Anonymous

    Someone should create a restaurant buzzword BINGO card.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like they hit all the buzzwords … artisanal, heirloom, sourced, highly anticipated, roof to table, seasonal, organic, curated, West Village…

    • Anonymous

      This place should fit in nicely with the new Union Market, which is a pretty buzzword-oriented place already.

    • anon

      They failed to use “____________ unique.”
      As in, “truly unique,” “extremely unique,” or “one of the most unique.” Restaurant promoter fail.

  • jaybird

    Still don’t have a reason to go there just to eat. Usually stop by after going to Best restaurant supply or Litteri. Really just a food court.

    • Eponymous

      I sort of agree with you (so far – there seem to be several projects in the pipeline which will drastically change the area, not to mention that a lot of what’s going on in NoMA is walkable to here). But the market is somehow still ALWAYS packed – and I live nearby so I don’t just go on the weekends. Special events (movies, craft festivals, beer festivals) draw crazy crowds. I think Union Market’s on enough people’s radars at this point, and this place is an innovative enough concept, that it will do well (if it’s actually any good).

  • Gee, remember when Edens got upset because Border Springs called Union Market a glorified food court and pulled out?

    Well, in case you don’t remember, their response went like this: “Calling it a food court is like missing the point,” says Steve Boyle, managing director of Edens. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/going-out-guide/wp/2013/08/14/border-springs-farm-shuts-down-its-stand-in-union-market/)

    I’m a fan of Union Market…but if they want to be taken seriously as a market, they really need to start getting more bona fide vendors.

    • Anonymous

      Hilarious article. It’s like when Nixon said “I’m not a crook!”, which just confirmed everyone’s suspicions.
      Union Market is a twee luxury food court. It’s ok to be a food court, but just own up to it.

    • Anonymous

      +1 the weird soap and perfume places aren’t really helping them much in the market department. I do like a few of the other shops, but most are so artisan that they are not affordable.

  • styglan1dc

    Where in the current layout is this place? The (previously empty) southwest corner next to the cheese bar? If so, where the heck do I sit with my grandma while we eat salmon bagels on Sunday mornings? This place is pretty devoid of seating. Removing those tables will seriously impact the ability to enjoy a leisurely morning there. Particularly with people who cannot stand/walk a lot (my grandma being the perfect test case).

    • It’s the formerly empty space right after the main doors next to Salt n Sundry

  • When I first visited Union Market DC I was disappointed. I went on a crowded Saturday morning. My disappointment lay in the fact that it wasn’t truly a market. I am a fan and patron of Eastern Market and a friend said “if you like Eastern Market, you will love Union Market.” Not! To me Union Market was an gourmet food court. My initial visit was early last fall. I have a different view of the market now that I know it isn’t a community market in the traditional sense. I don’t think it is meant to be. Union Market is at the start of the upscale ‘food hall’ trend. Food hall = artisan products and local restaurants.

    I enjoy late afternoon visits to Union Market to dine at the oyster bar or Takorean. I see plenty of large groups dining or having a good time drinking beer and wine at the various dining options. I am looking forward to trying Bidwell’s. I poked my head in this past Sunday but will dine there in the next few weeks.


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