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May you never darken the door of the Columbia Road Safeway again.
This morning, the long-awaited Harris Teeter grocery store opened in Adams Morgan, at the corner of 17th Street and Kalorama Road NW (three blocks from our offices). Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, developer Douglas Jemal, and Harris Teeter prez Fred Morganthall all showed up to cut the ribbon.
The speechifying was pretty much by the book: Fenty gave some credit to his predecessor, Anthony A. Williams, and talked up the 82 full-time jobs at the store. Graham talked about all the frustrations getting the five-year-plus project done and gave backhanded props to Jemal: “When Doug Jemal buys something, he waits and he waits…until he has just the right purpose—-and maybe the right price, because this is America—-then he moves forward.”
Jemal, for his part, had some trouble with the store’s name in his brief remarks, referring in his Queens accent to what was either “Harrison Teeter” or “Harris & Teeter.”
Enough of the pomp. Here’s what you need to know: fine looking meat and fish counters, an honest-to-god deli, big well-stocked wine selection, superb beer selection, awesome (though low-ceilinged) dairy, artisan bread counter, best cheese selection north of the P Street Whole Foods, hot bar, antipasto bar, salad bar, “Asian bar,” melon bar, sandwich bar, sushi bar, plus several other bars I’m sure.
And then there’s the produce. The produce! No more Safeway-style wilted and decaying greenery:
According to the grocery chain’s communications director, Jennifer Panetta, the 37,000-square-foot store—-located in the “Citadel,” a former skating rink owned by Jemal since the mid-1990s—-is smaller than the typical 48,000-square-foot HT, but packs in more than the usual amount of merchandise. That’s accomplished, she says, through higher racks, deeper shelving, better use of wall space, and “just putting on a creative hand.”
Fenty appeared to leave without making a purchase, but Graham shelled out $28 for a pastel-frosted yellow cake. “Isn’t it about the most sinful-looking thing?” he inquired of bystanders.
Will be returning shortly for lunch. Will report back.