People looking for a taste of falooda, the layered South Asian dessert often filled with fruit jellies, basil seeds, milk, and ice cream, will now have to look beyond Union Market. The Toli Moli Burmese bodega specializing in the treat held its last day of business yesterday in D.C.’s preeminent food hall.
Co-owner Simone Jacobson confirmed the news, which she had previously shared on her Instagram account. Toli Moli announced the plan to close in a November 1 email newsletter with the subject line, “Bye Bye, Bodega.”
Including chef Jocelyn Law-Yone (Jacobson’s mother) and partner Eric Wang, the Toli Moli owners are closing the convenience store in the Northeast complex to focus all their attentions on Thamee, their hit Burmese restaurant. Since opening on H Street NE this spring, Thamee has attracted attention for vibrant salads and complex curries that borrow from Law-Yone’s childhood memories of growing up in the capital city of Yangon (formerly Rangoon).
In their farewell email to subscribers, the Toli Moli owners thank their loyal customers for encouraging them to bring Burmese food to the District.
“In January 2016, when we hosted our first pop-up, 350 of you showed up after a massive snowstorm,” the email reads. “At the next one-day event, over 600 people gave us the message loud and clear with lines down the block that D.C. was hungry for Burmese food.”
Toli Moli signed its first lease in Union Market three years ago, adding cold noodle salads to the menu. In November 2017, it took over its bodega space with an expanded menu that added hot food like a signature bowl of catfish mohinga curry. Toli Moli also stocked its shelves with Southeast Asian groceries, books, and bodega basics like Aspirin and condoms.
While Toli Moli departs, a new vendor recently moved into a space on an opposite corner of the market. Falls Church standout Fava Pot opened a stall featuring Egyptian standards like fava bean pitas and koshary bowls on Friday.