After taking in a show at the Kennedy Center the night before, I debated whether or not to play tourist around the National Mall or go off the beaten track a little to find gluten-free eats with the few hours I had before catching the midday train back to Baltimore.
Naturally, playing foodie tourist won out. With so many neighborhoods in DC, there is definitely no shortage of places to explore, but on recommendation from DC Gluten Free (@DCglutenfree on Instagram), I decided to set my sights on Union Market, a foodie playground where dozens of gourmet purveyors of fine foods assemble each and every day.
Located in the NoMa neighborhood boarding Gallaudet University, Union Market is a bit off the the mainstream DC tourist track, but definitely worth the excursion. As I discovered, many of the vendors had gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options, and the market itself fostered a cool foodie vibe.
What’s really cool about Union Market is that it has rich historical roods in the city. Opening in 1871 as Centre Market, it relocated to its present location and was renamed as Union Terminal Market in 1931. In the decades since, the market has moved indoors (1962), and has expanded to surrounding blocks to not only encompass the Market (which I visited), but offer space to business to produce and distribute their wares. Altogether, the market district is home to over 100 business who employ over 1,500 people.
On the Saturday morning I visited, the market was really up and running around 10am. While a few stands were open before hand, foot traffic really picked up as the morning wore on.
Although I did not patron every stand, I did take note of safe options which were found at quite a few of the businesses. While the below listing is not comprehensive, these stands stood out as I explored around the market:
- Ah Love Oil & Vinegar: extra virgin olive oils, jams, and vinegars
- Almaala Farms: vegetable stand offering a variety of locally grown produce
- Arepa Zone: all areas are 100% gluten-free. Vegan and vegetarian options are available (click here for full review).
- Bazaar Spices: assorted dry goods including gluten-free flours, spices, and other ingredients such as pink salt
- Craft Kombucha: kombucha craft-brewery
- DC Dosa: 100% gluten-free and vegan menu (click here for full review)
- Goshen: vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant with gluten-free options
- Neopol Savory Smokery: sandwiches can be made on gluten-free bread from Goldilocks Gluten Free. Also stocked products from Pure Chocolate by Jinji.
- Soup Up: seasonally inspired soups made without dairy, oil, butter, or salt. Gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.
- Trickling Spring Creamery: carries Little Baby’s dairy-free ice cream
With easy access via the red line Metro (at the NoMa-Gallaudet stop), definitely incorporate a trip to Union Market into your DC Itinerary. Locals and tourists alike definitely should no pass this gem of a market up, and I totally count it as a best kept secret in the area.
Union market’s address is 1309 5th Street NE, Washington D.C. 20002. Their website features a directory off all market vendors and additional information. Tuesday-Friday, their hours are 11am-8p, on weekends they are 8am-8pm. Union Market is closed on Mondays.