Trader Joe's Comes to Washington
Trader Joe's, the off-beat , California-based grocery chain that's been spreading like wildfire on this side of the country, has come to DC. Not on the perimeters, but right smack in the middle of town, at the corner of 25th and L Streets NW. The residents of West End and Foggy Bottom must be dancing in the aisles, as the only other walking-distance supermarket option for years has been the Safeway in the tucked away complex of the Watergate (at 25th Street and Virginia Avenue NW).
Doors opened on Sept. 1, in the ground floor of The Columbia Residences of Washington, D.C., the swanky yet-to-opened condos, in the space formerly occupied by Columbia Hospital for Women.
I arrived on Day 5, around 6 p.m. The place was crawling with urban dwellers, just out of work, foraging the shelves, which seemed to deplete by the minute. Without a shopping list, I felt free to roam and observe this new store in action.
In addition to its popular private label of food (wine, jam, milk, to name just a few ), TJ is known for its extensive array of frozen food, and this store proved no exception. Customers were practically lined up, shuffling patiently in single file along the frozen food aisle, exploring the offerings of flash-frozen fish by the piece, organic veggies and Chinese dumplings. (I was looking for their frozen naan, but alas, came up short.)
Next time, when the line isn't 20-deep, I'll pick up a bag of the TJ brand of Pappadums (tandoori masala flavor), the ice-cube-esque packages of frozen basil, cilantro and parsley and the lavender-scented laundry softeners that look like giant tea bags.
If you live in Washington, have you been to the new Trader Joe's? If so, what was your experience? Or maybe you've got a TJ favorite to share. Do so in the comments area below.
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