Young and Hungry

Cowgirl Creamery Closing at the End of the Month (Updated)


Cheese shop Cowgirl Creamery will soon be gone for gouda. (Cheesy is OK for cheese shops, right?) The Penn Quarter spot plans to close at the end of the month. D.C.-area natives Sue Conley and Peggy Smith started Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco, but opened the District locale in 2006.

A manager who answered the phone at the store confirmed the news but was not at liberty to talk about the reasons for the closure. Conley, who's based in California, was not immediately available. We'll update when we hear from her.

In the meantime, Cowgirl Creamery has already started discounting many items, so stop in while you can.

Update, 2:52 p.m.:  "The way that the neighborhood grew up, it developed into things that didn't really work for a retail grocery shop or a specialty shop," says co-owner Peggy Smith. She explains that while Penn Quarter is a great neighborhood, it became more of a fashion and restaurant destination, not necessarily a place where people thought to shop for food items.

"We're sorry to leave," Smith says. "I do want to thank people for coming into our store and supporting us for so long."

This isn't necessarily the last you'll hear from Cowgirl Creamery. Smith is leaving open the possibility of relocating the D.C. shop, although there are no current plans to do so.

"I would never give up on Washington," Smith says. "We love it."

Plus, you can still get Cowgirl Creamery's products at local Whole Foods and other retailers. The California shops also will remain open. "We're a healthy business," Smith says. "That location just wasn't working for a specialty shop."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • kat


  • Derrick

    I think if this shop was like the one in SF Ferry Terminal, it would have done better. Penn Quarter is really only good for restaurants so if this place served cooked food, then it would survive.

    PLEASE REOPEN ON 14th ST!!!!!

  • SPS

    You need to relocate, what will we do without you?!

  • IMGoph

    Jessica: Would you interpret their statement as something along the lines of a move to Union Market, or a similar place?

  • Jessica Sidman

    @IMGoph Union Market already has Righteous Cheese so I highly doubt they would go there. I think it's too soon to speculate when/where they might possibly relocate.

  • Anonymous

    Across the street from my house would be good!

  • MysteryWriter

    I'm going to take this as good news rather than wrist slitting news, as long as they re-open, basically, anywhere else. A Dupont side street? Columbia heights? Mount Pleasant? ANYWHERE but that terrible block.

  • Kev29

    Retail is over.

  • Jon Gann

    This is very sad. I live directly behind CC and have been a loyal fan since they first opened -- in the scary, pre-Disneyfied Penn Quarter (when it was still called "Down Town" and people meant it.) It is my greatest hope that they find a new location. Thank goodness their yummy cheeses can be purchased elsewhere.

  • Erika

    Where will I find my beloved Pondhopper cheese that can not be found elsewhere to my knowledge? This is the worst news of life. Come to Petworth or Columbia Heights cheese(please)?

  • Fluxette

    "Fashion"? In D.C? Boring people in boring buildings don't buy cheese I guess.

  • bean

    Heartbroken. Please open another DC store, I love Cowgirl! And the staff at your DC shop is so fabulous! What will happen to the staff?

  • Pallavi

    There is PRIME space that just opened in Palisades on the same strip as Black Salt - we need you there. It's perfect for a market (Marvelous Market just closed because it sucked) but there is so much street traffic. So sad. Loved that store.

  • Dckarateka

    The prices at this place were insane... It was not a real cheese shop, it was like everything else new (union market) acting like an authentic food shop, charging insane prices for mediocre quality and selection.

  • RepealTheHeighAct

    It was location. If they opened in Dupont, Logan, or U Street, they'd make a killing.

  • grumpy

    I would speculate either somewhere on 14th between P and U, or else... Bethesda?

  • Jane

    They're right; Penn Quarter really isn't the kind of place you go for specialty purchases unless you have an incredibly loyal (and wealthy) customer base, like the Alden shoe shop. They should reopen in Dupont, 14th St, or Bloomingdale.

    Please keep us posted on this!

  • Elfless

    Cheese brought to its knees.
    Who killed the cheese?
    Perhaps the fees.

  • Nate

    for those who haven't a clue....real hand made cheese is not cheap by any means. whole foods buyers get good prices because they buy insanely high bulk orders meaning that they pass savings on when possible. shops like Cowgirl give farmers better than fair prices for their amazing products, plain and simple. it also costs a fair amount to pay highly trained staff(cheesemongers) to take great care of the cheese for you the consumer to get it in the very best condition possible, thus keeping the integrity of the cheese.
    Thank you DC Cowgirl for bringing truly amazing cheese to the folks in the district who truly "get it"! I know you will keep rockin on in California

  • Hans

    I loved the food and staff were nice. But the prices were shocking even by DC middle class standards.

  • Hans

    I loved the food and staff were nice. But the prices were shocking even by DC middle class standards. Don't care if handmade or organic... I care about my wallet.

  • Pingback: Cowgirl Creamery (919 F St NW) Closing At End Of December | Penn Quarter Living

  • tim

    Yeah, upscale boutique places like these needs to be in Dupont, Logan, Georgetown, Eastern Market or some suburban car friendly location in Upper NW or Bethesda/Arlington/Alexandria. Sadly, Penn Quarter is and will always will be a office district with a handful of residential buildings, not a true urban neighborhood.

  • H

    We love you cowgirl creamery. Please don't go :*-(

    Your location was convenient to thousands, and you have introduced many of us in DC to the wonderful world of cheese.

  • Dreew33

    I'm sad to see a small business go. However, I've eaten cheese here twice and both times I have left with a terrible stomach ache. Awful stomach ache. I agree with the prices comment. Expensive is expensive, I can get great cheese at Whole Foods or Eastern Market for 1/3 the price.

  • Alex

    This is too bad. Sorry for the staff and my coffee habit...Not sure where I'm going to get my coffee now. Anyone know where else I can find a good pourover in the Penn Quarter?

  • Mary L Tabor

    This is the worst news for the Penn Quarter. Cowgirl has been a saving grace for this food desert and restaurant/bar heaven. I live here and when I bought my condo, Balducci's was going in where Carmine's now is. The DC government doesn't see this neighborhood as a real food desert, but it is one: not even a 7-11 here. I wrote an article about the problem for The Communities at the Washington Times entitled, "Heaven or Hell: Or for the Love of Food". What will we do without Cowgirl, our one bright hope?

  • Tom T.

    They can't make money selling cheese at $30 a pound, and it's the neighborhood's fault?

  • Bill

    Alex: You can get delicious coffee at Pitango, on 7th between E and D.

    Sorry to see the cheese place go. It's true, I wouldn't stock up on the pricey cheeses there often. But it was a nice place to get a sandwich or to pick up all the food and drink I'd want when entertaining a small gathering.


  • dc

    Move to Union Market in Noma! You would give that other cheese place a little competition. We want you back!