If the Capitol is the crown on Capitol Hill, then Eastern Market is the heart and soul of the neighborhood.
This is Capitol Hill’s inside/outside bazaar, where local greengrocers, butchers, bakers, farmers, artists, craftspeople, florists, and other merchants vend their wares every day but Monday. Neighbors congregate here to do their shopping and socialize. Residents from other parts of town and outlying suburbs coast in, too, hungry for the sense of community that prevails.
And hungry for the famous “bluebucks” (blueberry pancakes) that the Market Lunch stall has been turning out since 1978. Favoritism is shown to no one and you’ll see congressional members in the long queue for a spot at the communal counter, along with families, couples, and the entire city, it sometimes seems. Crabcakes are another mainstay.
Eastern Market is the oldest continuously operating fresh food public market in the country, having opened in 1873. Despite major setbacks, like a devastating fire in 2007, the market just keeps on chugging (it operated out of temporary quarters across the street before returning to the restored South Hall in 2009).
By the way, Eastern Market is the name of the Metro station closest to the market, and it’s the name that locals now use to refer to the surrounding neighborhood.
Metro: Eastern Market on the Silver, Blue and Orange Lines.