Young and Hungry

Bidwell Restaurant Opens in Union Market Today


Lobster tacos, escargots, or Swedish meatballs? You can find them all at Union Market's new "roof to table" restaurant Bidwell, which opens today from New York chef John Mooney.

Bidwell follows the same mantra as Mooney's New York restaurant Bell Book & Candle. Literally. It's copy and pasted, word for word, from one menu to the other: "At ______, we are dedicated to responsible procurement. We believe in sustainability and do our best to bring only the finest product from as close to home as possible. 60 percent of our organically grown produce comes from our roof top aeroponic system."

Despite the menu's text, Bidwell won't actually begin growing organic herbs and produce in an aeroponic garden on the rooftop of Union Market until this spring. The restaurant also still lists—inaccurately for now—dishes like "crisp pork belly and rooftop arugula" on the opening menu.

While nothing's growing overhead yet, Mooney is taking advantage of his Union Market neighbors, using some meats from Harvey's Market, cheeses from Righteous Cheese, and gelato from Dolcezza, whose new factory is just around the corner.  

The clear local/sustainable/organic theme is clear, but the menu is all over the place (or, euphemistically, "eclectic"), skipping from fluke sashimi to fish and chips to housemade burrata to venison black bean chili. (Check it out for yourself below.)

"There's subtleties in a lot of things I like to do, but it's pretty much American food," Mooney says. "It's basically just a collection of things that I like and places I've been and product I like."

One of Mooney's signature dishes is a "gin and tonic" wild salmon that's cured with juniper and lime, grilled, and served with caramelized cauliflower and a lime emulsion. He says another favorite is the paddy melt-style Bidwell Burger with grilled onions, vintage cheddar, and "old school" Thousand Island dressing. (The Bidwell Burger is the same as New York's BBC Burger.)

Like many of the vendors at Union Market, Mooney has a personal connection to Edens director of culinary strategy Richie Brandenburg, who's recruited all of Union Market's shops and restaurants. Mooney was actually Brandenburg's boss at now-closed Red Sage, and the two have remained friends over the years. Mooney also worked at Raku before moving to New York.

Mooney says he'll be working full-time from D.C. over the coming months, although his home base will remain New York. The restaurant is just open for dinner now, but expect brunch to follow in a week or two.

Bidwell at Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE; (202); 547-0172;

Photo by Jessica Sidman

  • Karl

    I'm imagining that this menu is far from a final draft, since the website they provide hasn't even be registered yet (if anyone wants to snap it up via GoDaddy, it's open) and the hours don't correspond to the hours that Union Market announced in the promotion email they sent around today.

  • Peter Mcnittleson

    food took too long to come to my table, potatoes were too salty, drinks were not up to standard in my opinion, asked for the manager and took him 15-20 minutes to come see me. lighting too dim, servers were okay but nice. will not be comming back here. i will go to other restaurants in the market

  • andy

    food was burnt, drinks were good though. not going to return though a waste of my time. it should not take me two hours to receive all of my food busy or not. never go here

  • robert schmidt


  • David

    Hmmm, a $14 hamburger, 4 out of the 7 entrees clocking in at over $20, $8 for a chili, and $9 for brussels sprouts with bacon?

    Pretty much erases any doubt as to the demographics Union Market is catering to. And it isn't the majority of those living nearby.

  • Brian

    the only good thing was the drinks. Manager did not solve our issues. food is too expensive, apetizers are too small and too expensive

  • Jarred Bradley

    where is the FDA!! people(kitchen staff) were touching my food with bare hands, i asked for a new plate and they were touching others people food with bare hands, i cant believe this. Will not return I am reporting this establishment to the FDA ASAP.

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  • GBad

    Seems like the have a lot of kinks to work out. The space looks awesome. Hopefully with being open for a few short weeks they have figured things out. If a restaurant like this can get it right, then they will be a great welcome to the neighborhood. Union Market has food in many price ranges.