Shemali’s Market is definitely opening a Van Ness store. It’s just been taking longer than its owners had hoped. (Many neighbors, too. A number of you have asked.)
Shemali’s Lebanese market and cafe in AU Park (3301 New Mexico Avenue NW) is owned and operated by the Chemali family, and they revealed plans several months ago to open a second market at 4483 Connecticut Avenue. Elias Chemali is the son of its founders, and he told us through Van Ness Main Street that there have been delays in getting permit approvals from the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. But he is hopeful that the market will open as soon as September, and in October at the latest.
Chemali also says the Van Ness market will be modeled after the AU Park market, which sells Lebanese, Greek and Turkish groceries, and fresh deli items.
Why it’s called Shemali’s and not Chemali’s: Cofounder Gretta Chemali told a Georgetown University journalism student in 2015 that it’s because no one was pronouncing their surname correctly. Her kids were called “Kemali” at school.