Presidents from Harry S. Truman, Nixon and Ford have eaten at Wagshal’s, earning its nickname, “The President’s Deli.” They catered a big birthday party for then Vice President Richard Nixon in the National Press Club in 1956. Various presidents, Supreme Court Justices, senators, cabinet members, First Ladies, and others have been customers.
Mr. Wagshal was the first person in line upon prohibition ending to get a District of Columbia liquor license. Wagshal’s now holds the oldest liquor license in the District of Columbia.
Wagshal’s Imports, a family of fine foods since 1925, started as a single delicatessen. They have expanded and flourished as a family-owned and operated business that includes catering, restaurants, butcher shops, delicatessens and an import company from Washington, D.C.
Wagshal’s has the special distinction of being the first retail operation to sell raw Fermin Ibérico de Bellota pork in the U.S. Fermin Ibérico de Bellota raw pork comes from the legendary purebred heritage Ibérico pig which feeds on acorns– known as “bellota”– that infuse the pork with a buttery, nutty flavor. Wagshal’s Imports started with the importing of the Fermin Ibérico pork in 2008.
This is the most awarded Ibérico in the US, and Fermin has the largest portfolio of raw and cured Ibérico products available in the country. Ibérico products are sourced from less than 85 family farms. In this way, everything can be traced back to the farm it was raised, and is tested to ensure quality you’ve come to expect from Spain’s finest.
Fermin has won a FABI on many occasions, confirming that they’re the finest Ibérico, and the most innovative producer in the world. Also, they won the 2011 National Restaurant Association Product Innovation Award and a 2011 NAFST sofi Gold Award.
They added another wonderful line from the Can Bech Family in Catalonia, Spain in 2014. All natural and made with the finest globally sourced ingredients, the Just for Cheese line and Fruit preserves are truly the definition of UMAMI.
They launched their first product in 2015 under the name of Montreal-Style Prime Smoked Brisket that is gluten-free. This is like a smoked cross of pastrami and corn beef. The brisket is made with USDA prime Angus beef. It is cured in red wine and spices and dry aged for four weeks and then rubbed with spices, which are roasted and immediately ground to increase the flavor. The brisket is then given time to marinate so that the full aroma is captured within the meat. To top it all off, the brisket is then smoked for up to 16 hours.
Spain has some of the best olive oil. In 2018, the company debuted their newest find: Alcalá Oliva from Jaen, Spain. Alcalá Oliva is a family-owned and operated Spanish olive oil producer that was founded in 1954 by Santiago Pérez Anguita. They produce interesting flavors like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Lemon Infused Olive Oil, Chili Infused Olive Oil, Cinnamon Infused Olive Oil, and Sherry Balsamic Vinegar.
The company is known for their innovative MiniOliva EVOO, Vinegar, and Vinaigrette individual serving pods. The MiniOliva is a patented individual salad dressing. This is made with their own olive oil and raspberry vinegar with a citric and intense green fruity note.
Also, the company imports Caviaroli – a line of caviar pearls made from olive oils, flavored oils, vinegars, soy sauce, lemon juice and liquid olives, called Drops by Albert Adria. The tasty flavors are basil, white wasabi aroma, Arbequina, pomegranate vinegar, balsamic vinegar of Modena, and others. The balsamic vinegar pearl is slightly bigger than their other capsules.
The Catanies Original are a combination of dried fruits and chocolate, hand-crafted with Marcona almonds and covered with white praline, before a final coating of cocoa powder. They are available in five flavors: Original Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Coffee Chocolate, Greek Yoghurt flavored, and Green Lemon.
Can Bech opened their doors in 1981 as a restaurant under the care of the Bech family. One of its most famous dishes was homemade cheese and candied figs. The figs were so well received that they began to produce them for sale worldwide.
Can Bech Tomato Jam, a Spanish specialty, is made with ripe tomatoes from the Murcia region in Spain. The Can Bech family prepares this jam only during the summer, when the tomatoes are good and ripe, so that the fantastic red color can be achieved naturally. The jam consists of tomatoes, sugar, apple, lemon juice, apple pectin, and cinnamon.
La Abuela Nieves are potato chips fried in clean sunflower oil. This was created by the grandsons of Abuela Nieves (Grandma Nieves). She was a potato merchant that dates back to 1940s who worked tirelessly hand-selecting potatoes to sell at her market stand for many years. In 1999, Ivan and Aitor, the third generation, decided to get into frying the potatoes that their family had been growing. They are sourced all of the potatoes from their family farms. Their flavors are Sea Salt, Mediterranean, Tomato and Olive, and Iberico Jamon.
Their Japanese Wagyu Beef is a highly sought-after beef in the world. This superior product is produced by only four breeds of cattle and is raised by dedicated ranchers who spare no attention to detail on Wagyu diet, exercise, and environment. The A5 grade Japanese Black Wagyu cattle is fed only good quality grain (corn and rice straw).
Washingtonian magazine named Wagshal’s “the best butcher shop in the metropolitan area with the finest freshest seafood.” NBC-4 TV awarded Wagshal’s the contract to run their employee cafeteria. Wagshal’s continues to provide this service today.
The Fuchs and Socha families purchased Wagshal’s delicatessen from Ben and Lillian Wagshal in 1990. It still remains a family-run business owned by Bill Fuchs. Since the sale, they were able to expand by offering more quality sourced raw products in 1995. They created Wagshal’s Catering and Bakery Kitchen behind the Delicatessen and Market in 1997 that makes interesting pastries such as Bûche de Noël, mince meat pies, gingerbread houses, plum cakes, croquembouche, hamentashens, New Orleans style beignets, homemade Whoopie Pies, and others. In 2008 they started their import division with even more award-winning products and an online system.
Some of us were lucky enough to try some of their award-winning products at the 2019 Fancy Food Show at the Javits Convention Center. More about the company and their products can be found at wagshalsimports.com.