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The Early Word on the Hot New Union Market and Rappahannock Oyster Bar

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Rappahannock Oyster Bar
Rappahannock Oyster Bar
Photo: Facebook

The Union Market blasted open two weeks ago, promising to bring new life to its section of Florida Avenue NE, with food stalls and restaurants galore. In the time since, interest in the market has been sky-high even as the developers continue to work on signing vendors and getting stalls up and running. While some of the most anticipated vendors such as Gina Chersevani's Buffalo & Bergen aren't quite there yet, Rappahannock River Oysters' brand new restaurant has been the site of a lot of buzz — both for its oyster bar and the cocktails from the talented JP Fetherston. Here now, what the early diners are saying about the Union Market and, specifically, the Rappahannock Oyster Bar.

The Hotspot News: The Washington City Paper declares the Rappahannock Oyster Bar to be the "clear hotspot" in the market while it awaits the arrival of some other anticipated vendors: "Turns out Rappahannock offers a lot more than just oysters on the half shell. So far, the menu has included steamed Olde Salt clams, oyster chowder with bacon, crab cakes, and grilled tuna loin with local peppers, tomatoes, and mojo de ajo." [WCP]

The Great Twitter News: The Rappahannock Oyster Bar has also received a seal of approval from local chefs such as Minibar sous chef Jorge Hernandez who praised both the "happiness in a bowl" food and the talent behind the bar. [Twitter]

The Great Oyster Service News: Though by all accounts the Rappahannock Oyster Bar has been just swamped, one Yelper found that didn't hinder service: "Order your food from the paper menus scattered around the oyster bar. Highlights include $2 oysters/each, three types of selection. One of the highlights of my experience was the great service the staff provided behind the bar. I arrived during the second day of their grand opening, and despite the mass influx of people ordering, our server was prompt and responsive, and we got our food right away as well as the check. Great addition to Union Market!" [Yelp]

The Good News: A Don Rockwell commenter likes the Oyster Bar — and more: "Speaking of oysters, the Rappahannock Oyster bar was bustling and serving up some delicious oysters (on the half shell, roasted, or in chowder), clams (raw or steamed), crab cakes, and tuna loin. They also had a nice selection of local beers on tap and some interesting cocktails on the menu. I will definitely be back just to go there, but there are lots of other good reasons to return: bread from Lyon Bakery, Neopol's beautiful smoked fish, gorgeous flowers, olive oils, etc." [Don Rockwell]

The Value News: While another Yelper likes the Rappahannock Oyster Bar overall, there are some quibbles when it comes to value: "The Barcat oyster chowder was actually very good, with huge chunks of the famous bacon, but the size of the bowl was really laughable at $8. You don't even get a real spoon. Honestly this dish needs to be stepped up a bit in presentation to justify what they're charging. ... The clam juice is really outstanding and there's plenty of well buttered bread to soak it up with. At $15 for a dozen I felt this was a bit more fairly priced overall than the chowder." [Yelp]

The Local Beer News: DC Beer approves of the Rappahannock Oyster Company's beer choices at their new restaurant: "Gaze upon that tap tower. From left to right, that's Chocolate City's Copper Ale, DC Brau's The Citizen Belgian-style pale ale, and 3 Stars' Southern Belle imperial brown and Urban Farmhouse saison. The only bottled beer? The aforementioned Flying Dog oyster stout. That's five beers sold at this restaurant, the only five, four of which are made in the District of Columbia while the fifth is made less than fifty miles away. Be proud. Like Virginia Slims, we've come a long way, baby!" [DC Beer]

The Good Design News: UrbanTurf dropped in on Union Market's opening weekend and came away impressed with how it looks: "The space itself is open, pleasant, and bright — a stark improvement over the dank interior of its former life. We left the market enthusiastic for what we think is a worthwhile and exciting experiment in a long-neglected pocket of the city — but one with so much potential." [UrbanTurf]

The Gentrification News: TheRootDC's Clinton Yates examines the gentrification aspect of the Union Market and concludes: "Be it oxtails or merlot jelly, technically, everyone can still eat. Over time, more vendors will flesh out the new place and so-called old neighbors will feel more comfortable. But for now, there's a lot of work to do to make it live up to its namesake: Unity." [WaPo]

Union Market

1309 5th Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 902-2633 Visit Website

Union Market

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC