The long wait is just about over for the grand reveal of the Union Market, which will eventually be home to boozy sodas from Gina Chersevani, stalls from DC Empanadas, Peregrine Espresso, TaKorean, Red Apron Butchery and more. The market from the Edens developers opens tomorrow — with the free ice cream tasting that is DC Scoop going down on Sunday — and while many of the stalls won't be ready for primetime for weeks yet, expect a bunch of pop-ups from local purveyors and Rogue 24's RJ Cooper.
Yes, Cooper is stepping in for Chersevani this weekend to man the bar that will eventually become soda shop Buffalo & Bergen. Edens director of culinary strategy (and former Café Atlantico/America Eats Tavern chef) Richard Brandenburg tells Eater that Chersevani had a family emergency drawing her out of town this weekend, and Cooper gallantly agreed to step in along with his whiz of a bartender Bryan Tetorakis — and no, Brandenburg says, this is not a permanent takeover of the space as an Eater commenter rumormongered yesterday. Cooper and Tetorakis will apparently be doing "Rogue handcrafted sodas" and snacks such as cracklins, popcorn and duck hotdogs.
Who else will be there for Day One? Well, Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm is IN for a lamb-lovers pop-up, while Bev Eggleston of EcoFriendly Foods will also be popping up. Peregrine got its business license in the nick of time, Rappahannock Oyster Company's oyster bar should be up and running and while Righteous Cheese doesn't open until next weekend, they'll have samples out at the DC Scoop event. As mentioned, construction issues mean several of the other vendors won't be open quite yet and, beyond that, Brandenburg says there's still about 30 percent of the market that's yet to be leased — he aims to beef up on produce for this work in progress:
Basically from a chef's perspective, I'm trying to curate this whole place as my dream pantry, what my walk-in should look like and what my meat cooler, my fish cooler should look like.
As for the wine bar/cafe space that has long been a vague part of the market? Well, apparently it's down to two contenders fighting for the space and Brandenburg was loath to name names: "It's where it is and it's a sensitive subject and I don't want to feel like I'm choosing over anybody. Being in the community, I'm dealing with a lot of people I know pretty well. It's a matter of who gets to it first, you know?"