Ellwood Thompson's

Address: 4 N. Thompson Street
Richmond, VA  23221

Click to view hours

Phone: (804) 885-3130
Website: ellwoodthompsons.com
Rating: Best
Categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Coffee, Groceries, Bakery, Butcher, Juice Bar, Libations

REAL FOOD LOYALTY: 10% off, exclusions on meat and seafood.


Ellwood Thompson’s is a full-sized market that can accommodate most grocery needs. They also have a great selection of prepared food, either to take out or eat in their cafe, for any meal of the day. Their long-time presence in Richmond has made them an icon in the Real Food movement around the city. We believe their accolades are well earned. 

Ellwood’s - as it is known for short - seems staunchly committed to local farms growing and producing food in accordance with the principles of regenerative agriculture. They are also devoted to a wide range of ecological practices in their store. For these reasons and more, Ellwood Thompson’s earns a BEST rating.


Healthful Vibe: This is a health food store through and through. If you are committed to a healthy lifestyle, and to helping improve our planet, this store should be a top choice in the Richmond area. The store is not large by today’s standards, but large enough. It’s clean, and well-organized. The to-go food is well sourced and offers many options for the discerning customer.

Inventory/Menu: We’ll start with the inventory, because this is primarily a grocery store. The business seems very committed to organic, Non-GMO, or authentically natural products. There is essentially no conventional packaged or processed food. As for the “menu,” it spans a wide range of prepared foods. Typically, lots of prepared food means a sacrifice in quality, but Elwood’s seems to do a better job than most.  Their Create Bar is probably the best option. They offer non-meat eaters a lot of organic ingredients at the Create Bar, as well of course, at their salad bar. They also use true pastured eggs which is impressive. None of the meat is from local pasture-raised sources, but they use antibiotic/hormone free, and they use organic non-GMO olive, coconut, and sunflower oils to cook.

Produce: The produce section at Ellwood’s really shines. It’s to the right when you first walk in the store. Be sure to linger there. It’s nearly all organic and in-season there’s an abundance of choices from top-quality local, regenerative farms.

Meat: It’s a relatively small section, which is ok. Eat less meat, but good meat. Ellwood’s does offer some solid selections from local regenerative farms, most notably Polyface Farm and Highland Orchard Farm. At the least, their meat choices are antibiotic/hormone-free.

Eggs: They have a great selection of true pasture raised eggs from local farms.

Fish: Their fish selection is limited, which we consider a plus. It makes it easier to focus on quality. They typically have domestic shellfish, and sustainable, wild-caught fin fish.

• Grains: They sell grains in bulk and packaged form and they are mostly organic. They are also devoted to mostly organic grains and flours in their bakery department, and their product selection includes excellent choices in the use of whole, ancient grains. We do not have information at this time about the grains in their prepared foods.

Dairy: They offer organic milk, butter, and yogurt, and options from local dairies that we believe have reputable practices. Their cheese selection is large, from all over the world and some from Virginia farms. We do not have information at this time about the dairy in their prepared foods.

Dietary Info: The market offers food for all dietary needs. Their prepared foods include plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

Other Health Factors: The business rates highly for these qualities:

- Store policies that include: A commitment to Non-GMO products; No produce grown with biosolids; No products in the store contain high fructose corn syrup; No bleached or bromated flours.

- Once again, prepared foods made with organic non-GMO olive, coconut, and sunflower oils.

- A wide variety of healthy drink options offered, including certified organic brands, locally roasted eco-friendly coffee, and local kombucha.

- A large wine selection with several organic and biodynamic choices. Organic beer options are available.

- Non-food products that have natural ingredients, free of harmful chemicals. 


As encapsulated by the information in this review, we’re confident Ellwood Thompson’s is a leader in the Real Food movement in the state of Virginia and beyond. Their support of a real, regenerative food system is evident from the products they sell. But they extend this commitment through a wide range of health programs and events they either conduct themselves or host for outside organizations.

They also are committed to environmentally friendly practices in the store, including reducing food waste, composting, recycling, and the use of rain barrels and solar panels.


Ellwood Thompson's gets its name from its location at intersection of Thompson Street and Ellwood Avenue, where it’s been since 1993. (It was initially called City Market when it opened in 1989.) There is a pretty good sized parking lot.

As noted, they offer several options for prepared foods. They have a salad bar and a hot bar that rotates items daily. They also have a juice/coffee bar called Green and Grind. They have a walk-up counter called the Create Bar where you can design your own meal or pick a specialty item. Last is The Beet Cafe, which is more of a meeting/entertainment/hang-out space where they have beer and wine. In addition to the large space in The Beet, there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to enjoy a meal.

They operate a sister store called Dawson's Market in Rockville, MD. Click on the Related Places tab and visit when you're in that area!


This listing was compiled using the following processes:

• Multiple visits to the establishment. Foodwaze representatives have spent a lot of time at Ellwood’s! We have also talked with staff and management.

• Visiting and verifying the practices at several of the farms they use as sources. 

• Conducting other research about the business to verify its practices.

Farm Supplies
Amy's Garden Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Broadfork Farm Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Casselmonte Farm Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Highland Orchard Farm Beef
Manakintowne Specialty Growers Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Polyface Farm Eggs
Riverstone Organic Farm Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Shalom Farms Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Swift Creek Berry Farm Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Tomten Farm Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Ellwood Thompson's specializes in preparing food for the following dietary needs:
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Paleo
  • Gluten-free
Other information about Ellwood Thompson's:
  • Low-cost meal: under $10
  • Mid-cost meal: $11-$25
  • Outdoor Seating
  • On-site parking
  • Take-Out
  • Catering
  • Wellness Education
  • Entertainment
  • Accepts Credit Cards
  • Beer and Wine Only
  • Free WiFi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Family Friendly

Dawson's Market
225 N. Washington Street
Rockville, MD