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Top Food Halls in Washington DC | American Eats

The Block
Union Market
La Cosecha
Quarter Market
The Block
Union Market
La Cosecha
Quarter Market

A food hall is a sizeable independent site or space of a department store that serves food and beverages. In this scenario, as opposed to the store or shopping mall, the food is the main point of focus. Food halls have now become hotspots in part because they encourage customers to stay. A food hall provides a welcoming environment for gatherings. Most of them include free Wi-Fi and facilities designed to make guests feel at ease. Plenty of them focus on their aesthetic appeal as many Instagram and other social media platforms are regularly uploaded with scenes of samples of different chefs showing off their gastronomic skills.

Although each food hall has its distinct taste, they all have a few things in common. Social media is a world all on its own and many people love posting colorful pics of their meals. Food halls provide aesthetically appealing food, keeping one’s followers salivating to plenty of food posts. Other commonalities are that renowned chefs get to exhibit their fun side at pop-ups, and heat lamps are unnecessary in food halls. This is because food is primarily prepared per order.

A distinct difference between a food court and a food hall is that a food court features primarily fast food and food chain concepts, whereas a food hall mostly features a collection of non-chain, chef-inspired ideas. There are over 220 food halls in the US currently, with more emerging monthly. Here’s a look at our current top picks of food halls in Washington DC.


Photo Credit: Facebook

The Block

1110 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
(202) 681-7516

 

The Block is owned by female immigrants of Asian-American origin and was the first to introduce the food hall concept in North Virginia. The setting here is upbeat and focused on community. This food hall hosts various eateries; for example, Balo Kitchen, which offers Asian cuisine, Chinese-American cuisine like Mama Mei, and something for those with a sweet tooth such as Munch and SnoCream, both of whom specialize in sweet, unique, eye-catching treats that tend to defy gravity. You’ll get a list of drinks like sazeracs and Manhattans to accompany your fried chicken tacos and sous vide pork belly or banh mi (baguette).

Hours of operation are typically 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. for walk-ins. Ordering for a pick-up is available on Wednesday and Thursday between 1-3:30 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 12-9 p.m.

Eastern Market

225 7th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
(202) 698-5253

 

Eastern Market is unique in that it has both an indoor food hall that operates every day except Monday when they are closed and outdoor space for non-food vendors and an art market that operates on weekends. The indoor market is renowned for its fresh produce pop-ups and fish and meat, specifically the South Hall Market. Other divisions of the Eastern Market are the North Hall Event Space, Fresh Tuesdays Market, The Weekend Outdoor Market, and The Weekend Farmers, making it a leading cultural destination. Tease your senses with the tasty crab (soft shell) sandwiches or the popular blueberry pancakes; they are worthy of the wait.


Photo Credit: Facebook

Union Market

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
(301) 347-3998

 

Union Market is really popular and tends to pull big crowds, possibly because of the superb cuisine and free parking. You’ll find considerable variations in diet no matter what you may be craving. For illustration, you can enjoy chorizo burgers or porkstrami sandwiches with craft beers from Red Apron Butchery, bagels that’ll remind you of New York from Buffallo and Bergen, or gourmet cheesesteaks from Philly Wing Fry. Alcohol is readily available on-site as several vendors sell it. This is one of the best food halls in Washington DC. One can also buy uncooked fish and meat, just in case you want to cook at home.


Photo Credit: Facebook

Tastemakers

2800 10th St NE, Washington, DC 20017
(202) 248-4721

 

When Tastemakers opened its doors in 2018, it quickly became one of the best food halls in Washington DC despite its small size. Previously, there was a factory in this space. Now, it hosts about fifty start-ups. This food hall has an irresistible offering in its gastronomic entourage. You’ll experience creatively designed burgers by Stupid Burger or a bagel sandwich from Bullfrog Bagel. Accompany your meal with bourbon cocktails from One Eight Distilling or nitro coffee from the Alchemist. You will love the Tastemakers if you love reading – there’s a comprehensive book selection that you can browse while waiting in comfy seating around wine barrels.


Photo Credit: Facebook

La Cosecha

1280 4th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
(202) 421-5160

 

La Cosecha has an appealing coziness. It is a contemporary market that celebrates Latin American heritage that’s centuries old. It boasts of interesting culture and gently combines retail shops, niche food choices, as well as art. Garage parking is available, and the marketplace is open from Monday through to Sunday. Enjoy exciting food at Jarabe and experience the varying flavors ranging from tamarind and hibiscus to more modernized flavors like cookies and cream. If you haven’t tried an arepa (corn dough stuffed with meat or beans and cheese) from Mosaico, be sure to do so; we found them amazing. For local ciders, wines, and cocktails, Serenata’s patio bar is more than inviting.


Photo Credit: Facebook

Quarter Market

4238 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203
Not available

The Quarter Market is a thoughtfully curated food hall that covers twenty-five thousand square feet. There’s a variety of servings for different palates in this vibrant space, making it an adventure. Try out the Korean-themed rice bowls from Rice Crook or Hot Lola’s flavorful cuisine like the Nashville-themed hot chicken sandwich or Baltimore-themed seafood. Try out the tasty dessert options like strawberry-flavored tres leches ice cream cones from Ice Cream Jubilee. Alcoholic drinks are also available on the premises, and the outlets offer a happy hour on weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Some of the food and drink outlets that have found a home in the Quarter Marker include, but are not limited to, Copa Kitchen and Bar (Spanish flavors), Bartaco (South American Coastal vibes), and Go Poké (Hawaiian flavors). Also included are District Doughnut, Bollywood Bistro Express, and Ballston Service Station – famous for its exciting wines and local craft brews.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Food Halls are emerging in different parts of the country and the world at large, and the setup is changing from an eat-in only to a food marketplace where you can purchase groceries, raw meat and fish, and other wares like art.

Food halls are often a better alternative than restaurants for large parties, mainly because there is no need to make a reservation like you would in a restaurant. In addition, a food hall caters to everyone’s interests because of the diversity of sellers. This means that even those who are lactose intolerant, vegetarians, or those who just have traditional palates will find something that suits their preferences.

The top food halls in Washington DC will not disappoint, and if you have the time, visit more than one or two and experience the outlets first-hand. We sure did enjoy ourselves when carrying out this analytic exercise, and you’ll enjoy it too as you sample the different gastronomies.