Potomac-photosCrowds enjoy tastings, cooking demonstrations.

By Susan Belford
The Almanac

This re-opening is our family getting back together after being apart for six months. We are just so happy to be open again – and to be back together as a team,” said Erika Torrey, customer service manager at The Market at River Falls.

General Manager Andrew Malinowski said, “We were disappointed when River Falls Seafood Market closed – but we are now exhilarated that we have been able to actually re-open in a timely manner. It’s a great thing for the landlord, the community
and the employees.”

“We replaced everything,” said Market owner Jim McWhorter. “We purchased all new equipment, added a new floor, painted and re-did the tile to make it a brighter, more open space. We will continue to improve
on it.”

Yasmin Abadian, McWhorter’s wife and Market co-owner said, “The ‘welcome back’ from the community was truly heartwarming and we are so pleased that customers have been complimentary about the changes we have made, and the familiar concepts we have maintained. We want to make certain our customers have a wonderful experience when they walk through the door.”

A crowd attended the store re-opening this past Saturday and Sunday. Besides demonstrating that they had kept much of theoriginal inventory, the Potomac team of Abadian and McWhorter brought in many local companies that the grocery will now carry. They provided tastings, cooking demonstrations and information about their products. Also featured was some of the cuisine offered at the market – their signature “Cadillac” crab cakes, chicken wings, fresh shucked oysters and sushi from Chef Rollei.

Most of the local companies providing tastings are from D.C., Virginia or other parts of Maryland. “Everyone was small at one time and we are happy to give them an opportunity to showcase their products,” said McWhorter. Some of the vendors included JRINK cold pressed juices, Stachowski hand-crafted sausages, Manoli Canoli Olive Oil, Capital Kombucha natural fermented teas, home-made pies, cookies and quiches from Whisked, Chloe’s Soft-Serve Fruit Pops, and chocolates from Double Premium Confections. “We will feature gluten-free, vegan, organic, farm-fresh, natural and healthy foods and drinks which have not previously been sold in Potomac,” said Abadian. “Many families have requested these, and we are pleased to be able to offer them.”

Jamie Taff and Gale Saler, both from Potomac, were anxious to shop at River Falls Market again. “We are so excited that River Falls is open again. We have sorely missed them and are pleased to see that our local grocery is better than ever, offering the same familiar items that we always loved as well as a lot of new and interesting items to try.” Yuri Wexler said, “I am happy to be here and elated to see it open again. The staff that work here are so nice – and the food is terrific.” He was taking home a fresh piece of salmon. “Nothing like it anywhere,” he said.

All the staff members are happy to be working together again. Michael “Junior” Turgott, meat and seafood specialist, said he returned to the market because “this is my home – I have been here since the store was established years ago. This is where I feel I belong.”

Executive Chef Steven Fela is pleased with the revamping of the store. “All our equipment is new,” said the L’Academie de Cuisine graduate. “I was overjoyed when opening the boxes of high quality pots and pans.” He has been developing new recipes for kale salad and making plans to use local products in his recipes.

Erika Torrey explained that their crab cakes are the biggest seller, but Fela’s Italian the quinoa salad, the chicken wings, the
black bean mango salad and the flatbreads. Fela learned to make the meatballs from his mom when he was just a child. “I used to
tease her that mine were better than hers,” he said. “We will be offering new menu items and will emphasize their healthiness. We also will plan cuisine around the holidays. On Fridays, we will feature hot fish and chips (particularly during Lent) and our Mardi Gras Jambalaya and St. Patrick’s Day Guinness Braised lamb shank are really popular, too. On football Sundays, we make lots of chicken wings – and usually sell out.”

The opening on Sunday was a special day for Miriam Selvas because it was the exact day that she began working at the market 15 years ago. “I make the crab cakes,” she said, “and do a little bit of everything here. I am just so happy that we are able to get back together.”