37 Dean and Deluca, 3276 M Street NW
The single most expensive grocery store in Washington is also the worst. A place this pretentious, selling $12 chocolate bars, $20 sushi rolls, and wilted bok choy under the guise of luxury, is bad enough. But what puts Dean and Deluca behind even Washington’s Walmarts is how totally filthy this place is. In 2013, the DC Health Department shut D&D down after they discovered a “heavy vermin infestation,” “live birds,” and “live roaches and mice droppings…around the cheese section.” Oh la la! Those are delicacies in some places, you know. In 2014, the Health Department shut the place down again for similar infestations. You’d have to be both a sucker and a status whore to shop at Dean and Deluca, so it’s no surprise the store survives so comfortably in Georgetown.
36 Georgia Avenue Walmart Supercenter, 5929 Georgia Ave NW
You’d be better off not eating, at least there’s dignity in that. Cherry-picked Yelp quote: 1 star because the garage is nice.
35 H Street Walmart Supercenter, 99 H Street NW
Just go to the Giant down the street, it’s better stocked and less morally repugnant. Cherry-picked Yelp quote: I’m about to rate a Walmart…..What am I doing with my life?
34 Benning Safeway, 322 40th Street NE
We hear tell that Safeways are actually pretty nice stores in California. Hard to imagine when you walk into places like this one.
33 [Starving to death]
32 Tenley Safeway, 4203 Davenport NW
Thankfully this moribund Safeway has been purchased by Georgetown Day School and will soon be closing. It’s too bad local high schools don’t buy out more Safeways. Cherry-picked Yelp quote: A shopping trip here is like slamming your finger in a car door- excruciating.
31 Carver/Langston Safeway, 1601 Maryland Ave NE
Cherry-picked Yelp quote: Safeway’s motto is “Ingredients for life.” Apparently you risk getting a little more life than you pay for at this Safeway. Not only is it the crappiest Safeway I’ve ever been to, but additionally this store was briefly closed last June for “Operating a food establishment with circumstances which may endanger public health.”
30 Hillcrest Safeway, 2845 Alabama Ave SE
29 Takoma Safeway, 6500 Piney Branch Road
Cherry-picked Yelp quote: “As The Comic Book Guy would say, “Worst Safeway Ever”…don’t purchase anything from their deli cases after eight. They put out previously frozen items and allow them to thaw overnight. After working in supermarkets for years I can tell you this is a health code violation.”
28 Palisades Safeway, 4685 Macarthur NW
Along with the Tenley store, proof that even the Safeways in ultra-rich neighborhoods are disgusting and depressing. Cherry-picked Yelp quote: I live less than a half mile from the store. I will drive miles out of my way to shop elsewhere.
27 Capitol Hill Safeway, 415 14th Street SE
Cherry-picked Yelp quote: Well aside from the fact that I got Scombroid food poisoning and ended up in the ER from a tuna steak I bought from them — hey, I guess it was on super sale for a reason, I should have known — this Safeway is ok in my book.
26 Chevy Chase Safeway, 5545 Connecticut Ave NW
No one reading or writing this listicle has ever been to this store. Cherry-picked Yelp quote: Not as bad as everyone says.
25 17th St “Soviet” Safeway, 1701 Corcoran Street NW
If ever a grocery store needed Perestroika, it’s this one. Cherry-picked Yelp quote: The Soviet Safeway on 17th is a big terrarium where Dupont residents keep an exhibit on food shortages and labor unrest to remind themselves of how much worse their lives could be.
24 Adams Morgan Safeway, 1747 Columbia Road NW
The good part about this Safeway is that they sell microwavable pupusas. The bad part is everything else.
23 Foggy Bottom Whole Foods, 2201 I Street NW
The highest concentration of George Washington students in the world, a place best avoided at all costs. The only difference between this Whole Foods and GW itself is that for once, Whole Foods is cheaper than something.
22 Congress Heights Giant, 1535 Alabama Ave SE
The second largest grocery store in Washington is ever-busy and suffers from slow checkout lines, but the selection is solid and it serves a vast swath of SE Washington, a much-needed oasis in a food desert.
21 Georgia Ave Safeway, 3830 Georgia Ave NW
The former “smelly” Safeway smells much better now, but is still sadly a Safeway.
20 Southwest Safeway, 1100 4th Street SW
Cherry-picked Yelp quote: A very sad store.
19 H Street Giant, 300 H Street NW
Cherry-picked Yelp quote: if you want to pretend like you are in the Hunger Games, then this is the grocery store for you.
18 Van Ness Giant, 4303 Connecticut Ave NW
A middling grocery store tucked into an office building in a middling neighborhood like Van Ness deserves a spot right in the middle of this list.
17 Brentwood Giant, 1050 Brentwood Rd NE
Cherry-picked Yelp quote: Sometimes the conveyor belts are a bit sticky or have unidentifiable dried liquids…Overall, though, the selection is nice.
16 DC USA Target, 3100 14th Street NW
Hardly worth the hell of DC USA.
15 Columbia Heights Giant, 1345 Park Road NW
This Giant sells so much beer.
14 NoMa HarTeet, 1201 1st Street NE
The NoMA Teet has problems, man. Mouse and fly problems. In December, it closed for two days to address a spate of health code violations. And yet, even with the mice and flies, it’s still so much cleaner and nicer than just about any Safeway or Giant in the city. What does that tell you?
13 Capitol Hill/SE Harris Teeter, 1350 Potomac Ave SE
Pretty good avocados!
12 Mt. Vernon Square Safeway, 490 L Street NW
I got overpriced scallops here once, they were okay.
11 Logan Circle Whole Foods, 1440 P Street NW
I knew a guy who was trampled to death by the hot food bar. His poor wife.
10 Adams Morgan Harris Teeter, 1631 Kalorama Road NW
This Teet is oddly situated on a second floor above a gym, but it’s filled with delicious free samples, has an extensive deli and fish counter, and pretty good sushi.
9 Glover Park “Social” Safeway, 1855 Wisconsin Ave NW
Like a fraternity house, this vast Safeway is exorbitant, open at all hours of the night, and full of drunken bros in sweatpants hitting on anything that moves. Much cleaner, though.
8 Glover Park Whole Foods, 2323 Wisconsin Ave NW
Considerably less clusterfucked than the Logan Circle Whole Foods, but slightly more clusterfucked than the Tenleytown one.
7 Tenleytown Whole Foods, 4530 40th Street NW
Drearily wedged against a parking garage, this Whole Foods sports an amusing amalgam of wealthy adults and debt-encrusted American University students who have nowhere else to shop.
6 Aldi, 901 17th Street NE
Aldi has been a boon to Northeast DC. With impossibly low prices, good selection, and viable organic options, Aldi provides a much needed alternative to the Carver/Langston Safeway.
5 City Market at O Giant, 800 P Street NW
If Giants had alliterative nicknames like the shitty Safeways, this would be the Gentrifying Giant.
4 Navy Yard Harris Teeter, 401 M Street SE
The newest, nicest Teet in town.
3 West End Trader Joe’s, 1101 25th Street NW
Trader Joe’s isn’t just one of the best grocery stores in Washington, it’s one of the best liquor stores and flower stores too. Extra points for the batshit Michelle Bachmann and weepy John Boehner portraits by the checkout lanes.
2 14th Street Trader Joe’s, 1914 14th Street NW
Shopping at the new Trader Joe’s at 14th & U is like walking into a Tinder reunion; every single within five miles is there, buying $3-6 wine that they’ll end up drinking alone.
1 Cathedral Commons Giant, 3336 Wisconsin Ave NW
The Northwest rich get richer. Washington’s newest grocery store is clean, bountifully stocked, has a sizable deli, a robust vegetarian section, an enormous wine selection, plants, helpful employees, the works. It almost makes grocery shopping bearable.
NOTE: Yes! Organic Market is merely a local chain, and was not considered for this listicle