If you've ever wandered around D.C. you've probably come across a few corner stores, maybe you've stopped into Union Market for a quick bite, and you most definitely have made a stop at a big chain grocery store for your weekly grocery shopping. But why make all those stops or get lost in the grocery store marketing gimmick when you can have all your needs met at one market.
Soapstone Market on Connecticut Avenue in Van Ness is a combination of everything wonderful. "The easiest way is to kind of explain Soapstone as an old school neighborhood market that people use to have," explained John Fielding, co-owner of Soapstone Market. "So if someone asks me, I would say we're a combination of a lot of things. We are a bar, we're a cafe, and we're a grocery store."
Soapstone has groceries with an emphasis on local brands (think Compass Coffee and Bullfrog Bagels) and specialty foods for the gourmet lovers, and a butcher shop for your fresh meats. This is a place where locals can sit and have breakfast, or come in for lunch but also grab something for dinner, and while you're there you can pick up the dog food you just ran out of.
"The idea is basically somewhere you can go anytime of day to get your needs met," added Fielding. "If you live down the street, you can come get a coffee in the morning, you can come just to chill out at lunchtime, or you can come in the middle of the afternoon if you are bored and want to be around people."
Also, for the icing on top of the cake (literally) the pastry selection is on point! Freshly baked treats baked by a former 2007 RAMMY "Pastry Chef of the Year," Huw Griffith, are there for your mid-afternoon sugar craving. PS. The coconut carrot cake is a must try!
Fielding says forget the pressure of going to the new trendy restaurant that is probably overpriced, just head into Soapstone. "I think having places where people know they can come without the pressure of going to a restaurant is important. You can go into Soapstone and get an ice cream sandwich or coffee, and you can sit down and read the paper."
This style of a neighborhood market is making a comeback and the D.C. community is taking a liking to it. Fielding says, "when you shop here you are supporting a local business that employs locals, and is trying to grow locally." Also Fielding added, "the quality at grocery stores will never be as fresh as our prepared foods."
So why take a stop in Soapstone? Because, why not?! Go grab a glass of wine, a piece of cake and take in the wonderful ambiance.