April 17, 2014

Oct 13, 201110:14 AMTable Talk

Safeway opens October 13; soiree previews new store

Oct 13, 2011 - 10:14 AM
Safeway opens October 13; soiree previews new store

The specialty produce section at the new Bethesda Safeway.

When the Safeway opens to the public today, waiters won’t be handing out tall glasses of champagne and endless hors d’ouevres.

But last night, the new grocery store at the corner of Bradley Boulevard and Arlington Road in Bethesda was transformed into a 48,000-square-foot cocktail party, complete with a three-piece band in the flower section.

Let’s just say I’ve never gotten more dressed up to go to the supermarket in my life.

Compared to the old store, which was built in 1956 and demolished last year, this Safeway is on steroids.

With its eco-friendly building and recycled glass panels, it’s architecturally upscale.

Product-wise, it’s still primarily a supermarket—not as chi chi or expensive as Balducci’s or the Whole Foods in Friendship Heights, for example.

But as I clip-clopped around the store in high heels, I found a number of intriguing items:

  • Rogue River blue cheese from Oregon—for $39.99 a pound! That may be on the very high end of things, pointed out cheese honcho Treva Stose, who works out of the Georgetown Safeway, but will be the top cheese head for this store as well. Stose is passionate about her cheeses (“they’re my babies,” she says), and has stocked the kiosk with selections not available at most other Safeways (including vacuum-packaged duck confit). It’s not a counter, however, although Stose says cheese managers will be available if customers want assistance.
  • Breads made from scratch daily and fired up in a hearth oven—including French, wheat, sourdough and baguettes. The fancier specialty breads, however, will be pre-baked elsewhere and finished in the oven.  
  • A to-go kiosk that includes fruit, sandwich and chicken wing platters suitable for a party. It also had decent-looking gift baskets. The store also has a full catering menu.
  • Asher’s chocolates from Souderton, Pa. The company, founded in 1892, makes chocolate-covered potato chips and sea salt caramels, both of which were available for sampling at the party, and are terrific.
  • An amazingly-put-together specialty produce section, with exotic fruits, vegetables and imported sugars beautifully arranged in cubbies. Among the items (some of which you may have never seen or tasted before): rambutan, baby pineapples and cauliflower, kiwano and pepino melons, cactus pears, Meyer lemons, Thai eggplant, quince and piloncillo.

Want to see pictures from this morning's opening? Check out our gallery here.

Oct 15, 2011 09:35 pm
 Posted by  AmysHouseKeys

The cheese selection is exciting at the new Safeway! I'm looking forward to sampling many of their unique selections in the coming weeks. They have some great items that would be terrific party gifts at the holidays.

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About This Blog

Welcome to Table Talk, the blog version of the column in Bethesda Magazine. Be one of the first to find out about new restaurants and food shops, and join in the lively discussion about first bites, snipes and recommendations.

Before becoming Food Editor of Bethesda Magazine, Carole Sugarman was an award-winning food reporter for The Washington Post for 20 years. She has also written for national food magazines and a food policy newsletter, as well as judged cookbook and cooking contests. She lives in Chevy Chase where she eats PB&J for lunch when she’s not working.

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