Wharf Court Win Means Loss of Captain White

Last week we learned that Captain White Seafood City would no longer operate at the District Wharf after early December. The White family had operated at the Wharf for over 50 years providing generations of Washingtonians with fresh fish, oysters, and bushels of crabs.  

The departure of Captain White’s stems from a longtime legal dispute between the White family and the Wharf developers. In the end, the Hoffman Madison Waterfront, the developer, won in court and Captain White’s primary seafood barge was hauled away. The lawsuit, six years in the making, sought to halt construction on projects that the White family said would damage their ability to continue to adequately conduct business.  

White family member Penny White told the Washington Post, “This is not something we wanted to do; leaving is not what we wanted. I loved doing this work. I loved to feed and serve this city, where I’ve spent my whole adult life. Right now, we just feel really let down.”

“I’m saddened by it.” said Mayor Bowser to ABC News 7. “I think there’s been some pretty intense litigation over many years, and they didn’t come out on the winning end of that litigation. So it’s too bad that it couldn’t be worked out.”

On Twitter, Bason Mann wrote, “Regrettably I was a part of the Hoffmann comms team stretching back over a decade. Had a bird’s eye view from the beginning. None of it was pretty and could’ve been avoided if people put their ego’s aside.” In another tweet, Mann wrote, “There’s absolutely no reason, any Mayor of Washington D.C. would allow this to happen. Not if you’re about protecting the legacy of a District of Columbia you were born and raised in.”  

Captain White Tug

photo by Greg Whittier

It was quite a shock to many to see the iconic Captain White facade being tugged down the Washington Channel. The question on many people’s minds is “how could all this happen without any advance communication?”

The developer, Hoffman Madison Waterfront, issued a statement saying, “Years before construction of the Wharf began, the Wharf development and operations teams worked tirelessly with District Officials to provide additional customer parking, security, and sanitation services to help preserve and grow the existing customer base of the Municipal Fish Market.”


The Captain White Seafood City barge was hauled to a sandpit near the new Frederick Douglass Bridge on the Anacostia River where it has been dismantled.  The White family is hoping to reopen in a new location soon somewhere in the DMV. 

Captain White’s will remain in operation at the Wharf providing seafood from an alternate barge until at least early December. 

© 2022 Wharf Life DC | Washington, DC

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