You will notice D.C. cuisine trends after just a few weeks on campus – food trucks lining H Street, a cupcake fad and more frozen yogurt shops than you can count. And when parents or high school friends start to visit campus, you will learn the tradition of taking them out for mid-morning, mimosa-soaked brunches.
Whether you are looking for a sit-down meal or something for your sweet tooth, the District’s tasty trends will satisfy, sometimes without even requiring you step foot off campus. Check out these must-try bests.
Brunch is a must for family visits and classy birthday meals with friends – or an indulgent hangover remedy. You don't have to look far for a good brunch in the District. Perhaps D.C. didn't start the brunch trend, but it has turned it into an every-occasion ordeal; you don't need Mother's Day or Easter as an excuse anymore.
Ben’s Next Door
By now you’ve probably heard of Ben’s Chili Bowl, but few have experienced its sister restaurant, Ben’s Next Door. Located down the street from the D.C. favorite, Ben’s Next Door offers a unique spin on brunch with options like shrimp, biscuits and gravy ($9), a waffle with fried chicken ($14) and the Ben’s omelet, which is made with Ben’s original half-smoke sausage, chili and cheese ($9). You’ll never look at brunch the same way again.
1211 U St. NW
This farm fresh restaurant offers an upscale family night out. Founding Farmers offers unique specialties like red velvet pancakes ($8) and classics like the sausage, mushroom and spinach pan scramble ($12). The restaurant also boasts that it keeps a close eye on its carbon footprint. Make reservations in advance at wearefoundingfarmers.com to snag a table.
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Ask any loyal local – D.C. unleashed the cupcake craze. Before everyone else was going insane for these tiny cakes, the District was offering red velvets from shops like Georgetown Cupcake, featured on the TLC show “D.C. Cupcake.” As new D.C. residents, it is a rite of passage for GW students to sample the many cupcake venues dotted along M Street.
Baked & Wired
Right off of M Street, Baked and Wired specializes in crazy but delicious cupcake flavors. Favorites include the Ménage a Trois, a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting and raspberry jam, and the Flapjack, a maple cupcake with the optional addition of candied bacon (Go for it, it’s delicious). These oversized cupcakes are $3 each, leaving you some pocket change to grab a delicious latte or a treat like their Pecan Kahlua Chocolate Chip Pie to take back for later. Although small, the back room of the shop is also a great place to hang out or study if you can find a spot to sit.
1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW
Lines often wrap around the block to get into the nationally recognized Georgetown shop on M Street. Everyday flavors, from red velvet to vanilla and chocolate, are worth the wait, but the real treats are the rotating daily specials – like cinnamon on Mondays and cookies and creme on Wednesday – along with seasonals, like January’s toasted marshmallow fudge. Order online to skip the outrageous line. Cupcakes are $2.75 each.
3301 M St. NW
With locations in both Dupont Circle and Capitol Hill, this eatery not only offers the typical cupcake experience, but also offers vegan and gluten-free options, all at $3.25 each. Daily flavors include vanilla, chocolate and chocolate peanut butter, with specials including triple coconut, caramel macchiato and the peppermint penny, a chocolate cupcake with mint icing, that make this shop stand out.
1361 Connecticut Ave. NW
If – well, when – you get tired of J Street, you do not have to look far for good eats. Food trucks frequently park on H Street in the afternoons and are a surprisingly popular lunchtime option at GW, so leave time to wait in line. Here are some of our favorite roadside eateries.
Known as the macaroni masters of the District, CapMac is a lunchtime landmark. In addition to traditional mac and cheese ($6), a good-sized portion sprinkled with a Cheez-It crumble, this food truck also offer options such as MarcoBolo, homemade beef brisket served over pasta ($9), and even a homemade cheesecake made with a Cheez-It crust and a cheddar cheese swirl ($3). CapMac accepts cash only.
Reba’s Funnel Cake
New to the D.C. food truck scene, Reba’s Funnel Cake is quickly becoming a campus favorite. The authentic funnel cake, served in shockingly large portions, is the perfect dessert with toppings like chocolate, butterscotch and strawberries. The truck makes its appearance outside of Gelman Library around the lunch rush and late nights. Reba’s does not take credit cards.
Another staple of H Street’s food truck row, Tasty Kabob is a frequent vendor outside of Gelman during the school week. Famous for their delicious entrées like Meatball Kabob ($9), Lamb Gyro ($7) and its vegetarian option ($7), Tasty Kabob is a truck you surely should not miss. Tasty Kabob takes credit cards.
Nothing helps you tackle D.C. summer heat better than soft-serve frozen yogurt. These places serve up flavors like the traditional tart and sweeter options like peanut butter and mint for a cool treat on a hot day, and a great break from studying any time of year.
Create your own concoction of flavors from choices like tart, chocolate and wildberry at FroZenYo for 39 cents an ounce. The froyo destination also offers special flavors like maple bacon doughnut, pink lemonade and snickerdoodle. Each variety is nonfat with a smooth ice cream-like texture, and customers can add flavor from a selection 30 toppings.
1634 I St. NW
Get your froyo fix from this upscale Dupont dessert shop, which serves its tart yogurt until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. This pricey but delicious shop is also testing out an unfrozen Greek yogurt product in D.C. starting this summer.
1213 Connecticut Ave. NW