Courtesy of the fine Washington Post, this article about upscale developmentin Prince George's County, Maryland, contains good news for all foodies in the District, Annapolis and Alexandria.
In May, the county signed a deal with the high-end Wegmans Food Markets to anchor the Woodmore Towne Centre in Landover, a billion-dollar project that will include homes and more than 750,000 square feet of shopping space and is expected to open in summer 2008.
This would be the closest Wegman's to DC and a short distance from the Largo Town Center Metro stop. Currently, there are two Wegman's in Northern Virginia, one in Fairfax and the other near Dulles. A lease has been signed for a Wegman's in Gambrills, in Anne Arundel County, but with no firm opening date. The newest Wegman's in the region is in Baltimore County's Hunt Valley. When it opened in 2005, people were actually camped outside of it to be the first inside, like a campout for U2 tickets!
Why such excitement? Would only bored suburbanites go bonkers over a bloody grocery store? Hardly. Wegman's is a New York-based chain of megamarkets that caters to people who truly love their food. They have all the trappings of a regular market - bonus club cards, bulk food section, shopping carts - but they do it in a store about the size of a Smithsonian, with a friendly, knowledgeable staff. With all that space, they have the room to include pretty much anything you need for a gourmet meal made from scratch, or made by real chefs that can easily be passed off as your own. A fantastic butcher shop, fresh seafood, a great wine selection (Virginia stores only, at this point), a jaw-dropping prepared food section, deli, a cafe', coffee shop, pizza parlor, pasta bar, olive bar, sushi bar, kitchen equipment, stemware, bakery, cheese shop, organic market, regional and international food sections, cooking classes, and a produce area that could inspire poetry...PLUS they have a little choo-choo train that runs around the dairy section. This ain't your grandma's supermarket, unless your granny was Julia Child.
My alter-ego, the Five Paragraph Bitter Food Critic, will be doing reviews of the major chain markets in the area, plus some of the neighborhood markets and specialty stores. Without giving away too much from the reviews, the FPBFC is a big fan of Wegman's, and will be a bigger fan of one that's Metro-accessible.