The co-owners of The People’s Drug can just barely remember walking into People’s Drug Store, founded in Alexandria in 1905. There inside the store, you would find the signature white marble soda fountain serving hamburgers and vanilla cokes to patrons taking a shopping break or stopping in for a quick lunch. Co-founder Teddy Kim remembers, as a kid, thinking that sitting at the counter and placing an order “made you feel like a grown-up.”
Over the course of the 20th century, People’s, and its lunch counter expanded to over 800 stores in the District of Columbia and 10 states from Florida to New York, including several in Alexandria. By the early 90’s, the People’s chain had been bought out by larger competitors and its iconic lunch counters were a thing of the past. Fortunately, People’s long history gave most Washingtonians first-hand memories of classic American traditions like the lunch counter, the soda jerk, and the Corner Drug Store.
Today, The People’s Drug has been re-imagined, with a general store, lunch counter style but a decidedly modern take on its offerings. Serving chef-driven gourmet sandwiches, locally-sourced bowls, exquisitely crafted cocktails along with new age remedies like cold-pressed juice and super foods, it’s the perfect place for lunch, happy hour or weekend brunch.
Now, People’s, to which it was often referred, is once again a great place to get a delicious sandwich, a fantastic drink, and try to feel like a grown-up.