As you Bitches should know, we just published our Best Brunches of 2015 and Best Bites of 2015. Glen’s Garden Market’s brunch received accolades in both—winning for best bagel sandwich and as one of our top brunches in 2015. These bagel sandwiches are no fuss, no frills, just pure, enormous deliciousness.
So, when Glen’s opened its second location in Shaw, I knew that would be the perfect excuse to experience bagel nirvana once again. Plus, I’m a huge fan of Glen’s: the local, women-led business strives for sustainability one bite at a time, sourcing food only from the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Not only does Glen’s support local produce, Glen’s employs hundreds of local Washingtonians and has helped launch more than 50 small, DC-based food businesses as a first or early supplier.
It’s a Herculean task to run this type of small business—and I admire Danielle, the owner, immensely. (You can read our behind the business interview with her, here.)
So, if you didn’t heed our 2015 review and experience the brunch at the Dupont location, you can now try the second location.
On a lovely Saturday after our respective workouts, Lauren and I met for brunch at the Shay, a mixed-used development in Shaw that’s getting a lot of buzz.
“Is this place actually called the Shay?” Lauren confessed later. “I thought you were just saying Shaw weird, how you do with Tar-jête boutique.” (God, I love Target.)
The new Glen’s location is absolutely beautiful. Far smaller, the space is perfectly organized with the same sensible black-and-white signage delineating the market’s categories.
This Glen’s seems more focused on the dining experience, while there’s no pizza oven or coffee bar in this location, the deli, sandwich, and bar counters are the centerpiece of the cozy market.
Since it opened a few weeks ago, Glen’s has been buzzing, filled with young professionals in the area—there are couples with dogs, couples with children in strollers, there are girls coming from a boutique fitness class. Fortunately, I fall into that last category.
As I spend a lot of time in Shaw, I’ve run into approximately five people I know each time I visited Glen’s that week. Yes, I visited the new Glen’s three times in one week: once for the opening, once for lunch, and once for brunch.
We got in line for the sandwich counter and the line moved pretty quickly. The counter at Glen’s serves about 20 options for sandwiches and soups. And, on weekends, the glorious breakfast sandwich become available. The six options for sandwiches are available served on biscuits, bread, or bagels from Bull Frog Bagels on H Street.
Meanwhile, Lauren decided upon the BELT, a bacon, egg, lettuce, and tomato sandwich for brunch rather than a typical BLT. The sandwich is recommended to be served on sliced sourdough bread with mayonnaise. She requested it on a plain bagel.
The last time I brunched at Glen’s, I ate the sausage, egg and cheese on a sesame seed bagel. The thing was enormous, and won my best bite and best brunch of 2015—it was just so damn good. I’ve only dreamt about brunch twice in my life: the first was Granville Moore’s French fries and the second was Glen’s sausage-egg-and-cheese bagel sandwich.
So, I ordered the glorious monstrosity again. It’s meant to be served on a biscuit, but I requested the bagel. Truth be told, I’d been looking forward to this all week.
“Let’s also do the steak sandwich,” I said.
“We’re ordering a third sandwich?” Lauren exclaimed.
“Yes, it’s in the name of Bitching,” I replied.
“But, you say that, and we’re just going to eat it,” she said, eyeing the enormous sandwiches coming down the line.
We’d both been good and worked out that morning—a big difference between your late 20s and your early 20s. In your early 20s, you party on Saturday nights and roll out of bed hungover and head to brunch. In your late 20s, you have dinner with your girlfriends, go to bed at a reasonable hour, wake up and workout, and then head to brunch. C’est la vie.
After placing our orders at the sandwich counter, we meandered around the market. I chugged a stretch tonic from Gouter, which helps with muscle recovery and inflammation after a workout. While I don’t love all the flavors of this local alkaline water company, the stretch is amazing, and perfect for after solidcore, which is hard on those muscles. I also picked up some snacks for my flight that afternoon—I’m really into Fruitcycle, which gives second chances by using apples that would normally go to waste and employing previously incarcerated or homeless women.
Our order was called and we grabbed our three paper plates, with the enormous sandwiches balancing precariously as we made our way through the market. We found a spot outside on the picnic benches among the young people with their dogs and children. We stripped off our workout jackets and enjoyed the delightful 60-degree weather in December with a slight sense of alarm.
The food at Glen’s is presented plainly: served on recycled paper plates with recycled napkins (grab a ton, these sammiches are messy.) And I love it. We sliced our three sandwiches in half, making a mess of things. We divvied them up, and dug in. Then there was just silence for quite a while as we chowed down.
My first bites were of my half of the steak sandwich: a perfect loaf of ciabatta slathered with chimichurri and layered with fresh sliced tomatoes, scrambled eggs, and seasoned flank steak. This one was easiest to eat—and just clean, fresh, and delicious.
The BELT was an enormous mess in the best possible way. After cutting it in half, we reassembled our sandwiches, and the lettuce was collateral damage. Because who needs lettuce when you have that much bacon.
Each bite was an oozy, greasy perfect bite of bacon, egg, tomato, mayonnaise, and bagel. This is a perfect bagel sandwich.
The sausage, egg, and cheese came served on a biscuit, rather than the requested bagel. I’m not entirely sure whether this happened because they didn’t hear me (I sound like a chipmunk), or they knew what was good for me. Either way, they knew what was good for me —this biscuit was the best thing about the meal. And that’s saying something, because the whole meal was awesome. The moist, crumbly cheddar biscuit was layered with thick sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheddar cheese. The sausage was spicy, greasy, and flavorful. The whole thing oozed peppery, cheesy, buttery goodness.
Lauren ended up being right, as we each devoured our three halves of sandwiches entirely, leaving messy paper plates filled with scrambled eggs, bread crumbs, and greasy napkins in our wake.
After brunch, you’ll need a walk or a nap.
The Bitches say: A+. Glen’s serves a casual, unpretentious brunch with nothin’ but the good stuff: five options of breakfast sandwiches. Be sure to experience both the biscuit and the bagel and grab some groceries to go.
Glen’s Garden Market – Shaw
1924 8th St. N.W.
Glen’s Garden Market is open daily but serves its brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.