Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

Supermarkets in the District of Columbia

In Washington DC understanding locations of supermarkets is severely hampered by the business licensing structure; major chain supermarkets did not get grocery store licenses until recently. Rather they were required to get licenses for other activities and products such as cigarettes and deli. Safeway now has grocery store licenses for its locations, as does Trader Joe’s and Wal-mart; Whole Foods and Giant have a few but mostly not. There is no distinction in licensing between a small mom-and-pop grocery and a major chain. (And here it is major chains that I am including, excluding the smaller grocery stores.)

Some supermarkets or equivalents are housed in stores offering a larger variety of items–Target and Wal-mart. The only way to know DC’s supermarkets is to know them. A handy tool for lookups: Basic Business License Verification — only current licensees.

For much of the 20th century the only supermarkets were Giant and Safeway.
See: Giant (from Groceteria)
See: Safeway (from Groceteria)
Recently Whole Foods, then Trader Joe’s, then Harris Teeter (and Aldi) entered the market.

As far as locations, previously major supermarkets were stand-alone structures; of late they’ve been part of mixed-use residential commercial structures (still located along commercial corridors-highlighted in pale orange on the map).
A new Safeway will soon open at Georgia and Randolph NW in the Spring of 2014.

[Note–a reader pointed out I missed Costco. It has now been added to the map.]

Projected additions:
A Fresh Grocer has been suggested for Howard University Town Center
Harris Teeter at Georgia Eastern (Fall 2016)
Whole Foods for 6th & H Sts NE (2016)
Whole Foods 800 New Jersey Ave SE (2017)

Note: Supermarket tax incentives

Supermarkets in DC
Click for PDF of the Map

And note that there at District-serving supermarkets immediately adjacent in Maryland:
4801 Marlboro Pike
Coral Hills, MD 20743

5815 Eastern Ave
Hyattsville, MD 20782

1280 East-West Hwy #354
Silver Spring, MD 20910

5463 Wisconsin Ave
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Whole Foods Market Friendship Heights
4420 Willard Ave
Chevy Chase, MD 20815


Exterior view of Morris Miller’s Grocery, a member of the District Grocery Stores chain, Washington, D.C. – Date Created/Published: [ca. 1933] – LC-USZ62-32474

7 comments on “Supermarkets in the District of Columbia

  1. Andrew Feierman
    April 10, 2014

    What happened to the SuperFresh behind AU’s Washington College of Law? Didn’t it change name a few times, but not close?

  2. Robert
    April 10, 2014

    No Costco? Also, there is a new Harris Teeter proposed by Douglas Development for Georgia Avenue right near the Maryland border – http://douglasdevelopment.com/properties/georgia-eastern/

    • dchistorystuff
      April 10, 2014

      Added Costco. Thanks.
      I’ll add the new Harris Teeter at Georgia/Eastern to the list of future stores.

  3. Gerry Widdicombe
    April 11, 2014

    Please add to your map the grocery stores within ten blocks of the DC border. There are probably ten gorcery stores just over the DC border that serve DC residents. This will show that all Wards have more grocery options than just looking at DC located grocery stores. Grocery shoppers probably do not care about political boundaries. I have an old map I can send you if you would like.

    • dchistorystuff
      April 11, 2014

      I am working on that. I’ve made that point by listing the closest 5 District-serving supermarkets immediately adjacent in Maryland.

  4. dchistorystuff
    July 27, 2014

    Reblogged this on Washington DC History Resources and commented:

    I’ve updated the map with the Petworth Safeway and Save-A-Lot and the new Giant location on 7th St NW.

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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