NICK BIGGS-CHIROPOLOS FOR THE HOYA FoBoGro offers great convenience to GW students but fails to impress with its mediocre food and slow service.
NICK BIGGS-CHIROPOLOS FOR THE HOYA
FoBoGro offers great convenience to GW students but fails to impress with its mediocre food and slow service.

★★☆☆☆
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“Cheap and close to campus” were the two criteria for restaurants that two of my friends who attend The George Washington University gave me when I decided to meet up with them for dinner one night. I did a quick online search and found a deli with an intriguing menu called FoBoGro, which is a contraction for Foggy Bottom Grocery.

FoBoGro is a local grocery-deli located on the GWU campus near several of the dorms. The top floor is a small grocery and convenience store, and the bottom floor is a deli. I automatically drew a parallel to Wisemiller’s Grocery and Deli here at Georgetown as both are student-friendly locations and offer an array of college necessities.

I was surprised to find that this deli had a well-designed website that gave some history of FoBoGro. It has existed in its present location for over 60 years but was bought by three GWU alumni and reopened in 2009. The menu listed interesting items such as a grilled cheese deluxe” and a PBJB (peanut butter and jelly sandwich with granola and banana). Clearly the owners had put a lot of thought into their menu and tried to offer interesting meals and a user-friendly website, so I had high expectations for FoBoGro.

At  5 p.m., FoBoGro was hardly crowded, which gave us time to browse the menu and order our sandwiches. I got the avocado BLT ($6.29) since I love the classic BLT but figured avocado would make it even better. One of my friends ordered the FoBoGro margherita ($6.99) and the other ordered The Wellesley ($8.49).

I also saw a basket of homemade brownies ($2.75) next to the cash register, so I decided to try one of those as well. they were tiny but nearly three dollars each, so I expected the brownie to be something special. Instead, mine was dry and hard with no distinct flavor.

Although there was only one other person in the deli and we could see several staff members, my friends and I had to wait for around ten minutes next to the deli counter after ordering, which was a very long time for some sandwiches, particularly at a seemingly quiet time of day. Finally, they gave us the avocado BLT and the FoBoGro margherita. We waited five minutes more, and then my friend asked about his Wellesley sandwich, and it turned out they had forgotten his order, so we had to wait a while longer for them to make it.

Since FoBoGro does not have space for seating, one has the option to either eat on a few benches right outside on the street or at the very small public park right next to the building. The park provided us a nice setting to enjoy our meals.

Unfortunately, my avocado BLT was not as enjoyable as I had hoped. Its thin white bread was dry and gave little substance to the sandwich. The sandwich is described as being a classic BLT with avocado and chipotle mayo. While I ordered it hoping that the avocado would add a nice flavor to the bacon sandwich, the spicy chipotle flavor completely took over. It drowned out the taste of the avocado and the other vegetables, which sadly appeared somewhat less than fresh. There was so little bacon that I barelyeven realized it was there.

My friend who ordered the FoBoGro margherita was similarly disappointed. It was a classic mozzarella, tomato and basil sandwich with the addition of roasted red peppers. However, he felt that the flavor of the peppers overpowered the rest of the ingredients, so he pulled them out. He said that the bread was very soggy in some parts, despite having just been made, while otherwise being very dry. Nevertheless, he was happy that the sandwich had a lot of mozzarella cheese and complimented the salty, fresh flavor of the basil pesto.

My other friend, who ate The Wellesley, was generally satisfied with his sandwich but felt that it hadn’t been worth the wait. The sandwiches did not come with any sides, so we all finished very quickly. Adding insult to injury, I felt my stomach churning and grumbling just a few hours later, which exacerbated my disappointment in the meal.

My friends concluded that they hadn’t been particularly impressed with FoBoGro but would nevertheless be convinced to  go back due to its convenient location for those at GWU. However, the convenience factor certainly doesn’t exist for Georgetown students, and there are several other similarly priced but better options in Foggy Bottom, so I see no reason to return myself.

Overall, I was impressed by the concept of FoBoGro but not the attention to detail. The sandwich menu had interesting ideas, but the small portion sizes and bland ingredients did not provide the meal that I had hoped for. Additionally, the long wait and the staff forgetting one of our sandwiches made the service a disappointment as well. With enthusiastic owners, I think FoBoGro has potential to be a very good deli, but it is just not there right now.

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