The Field Guide To Union Market: When, Where, & What To Eat

Made the trip to Union Market yet? The gleaming, reincarnated, indoor food market off of Florida Avenue NE is a veritable playground for, well, anyone with taste buds. It’s all too easy to while away a couple hours perusing this ginormous warehouse filled with artisanal food and drinks, from pickles to chocolate milk to empanadas.
Even if you've already explored a bit, a lot has changed since the market's doors opened in September. The adorable Salt & Sundry lifestyle boutique is open for business, as is mixologist extraordinaire Gina Chersevani's new soda shop.
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Even better? Now the market is open five days a week for all your shopping needs. Coming soon: Co Co. Sala's new chocolate boutique, a contemporary American restaurant from New York chef John Mooney — who plans to grow produce in a rooftop garden on site — and maybe even a reopened Capital City Diner, the beloved late-night greasy spoon formerly in Trinidad (it was purchased by Union Market's developers in April).
While the market will continue to evolve, we’ve got some hints to help you make the most of your next visit. Read on for the how-to, whether you're checking off items for your fridge, your holiday shopping list, or your own personal foodie bucket list.
Where: 1309 5th Street NE; no phone.
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When to go:
A few hours at Union Market is the perfect weekend expedition. You'll find an energized scene here on Saturdays and Sundays, when the market is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. But since November, the market has extended its hours and is now open during the week, too. Stop by on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. for a more relaxed shopping and dining experience.


Photo: Courtesy of Union Market
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Where to go to restock your fridge:
Stand in line for local meat selections from Harvey's Market, an 80-year-old family-run butcher shop that has held court at Union Market since 1971. Grab some fresh fruit and veggies from Almaala Farms, another longtime market vendor. Grab a baguette from Lyon Bakery, a hearty chunk of brie (a.k.a., dinner) from Righteous Cheese, kimchi from Oh Pickles, and some organic milk and ice cream from Trickling Springs Creamery's new expanded storefront.


Photo: Courtesy of Union Market
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Where to get lunch:
At Buffalo & Bergen, the old-fashioned soda fountain from mixologist Gina Chersevani, sit at the bar and order up a piping hot knish from chef Jamie Leeds to go with your cream soda. Try one of the quirky varieties, like pulled pork or bacon-and-cheese, and make it an adult soda by adding booze.

Next to Buffalo & Bergen, cheesemonger Righteous Cheese offers fancy flights for $24.55 per person, served with either wine, beer, or cider. Sit-down spot Rappahannock Oyster Bar is famous for oysters on the half shell, but the restaurant offers more than just bivalves — try the crab cakes and cocktails, too.


Photo: Courtesy of Union Market
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For grab-and-go options, try the all-lamb menu at Border Springs Farm's pop-up stand, from a lamb chorizo breakfast croissant sandwich to lamb pot pie. Prefer fish? Try the smoked salmon sandwiches from pop-up vendor Neopol Smokery, a Baltimore-based eatery. And if you haven't been able to catch food trucks TaKorean and DC Empanadas on the road, they both have stands at Union Market. Finish off your meal with a sweet treat from Curbside Cupcakes.


Photo: Courtesy of Union Market
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Where to find foodie-approved gifts:
Start at the newly opened Salt & Sundry, a home-goods shop from Amanda McClements, the food writer behind Metrocurean. McClements draws on her Southern roots and bohemian style to stock Salt & Sundry with covetable gifts like chambray napkins, luxe striped Turkish towels, and Sydney Hale candles.

In need of edible gifts that can survive cross-country shipping? Pop-up vendor Bear's Honeypot stocks jam, hot sauce, honey, and other condiments from local artisans in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Taste-test samples like almond honey from Monastery Creamed Honey, or Fresh Batch Jam's pina-colada flavored Aloha jam. For loose-tea aficionados, pop-up vendor Pearl offers varieties like masala chai spice, black vanilla bean, and ginger lemon herbal tea. And Red Apron Charcuterie's artisanal sausage would be too cute paired with a cute embellished plate from Salt & Sundry.


Photo: Courtesy of Union Market
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Events to put on your calendar:
This month, Union Market is celebrating the holidays with a happy hour every Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring live music and holiday drink specials at Buffalo & Bergen and Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Eco-focused art and craft vendors will be selling their wares this weekend, December 15-16, for The Giving Market, which will also include a canned food and clothing drive to benefit a local D.C. charity.


Photo: Courtesy of Union Market
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