Restaurants will be packed for commencement weekend due to the dozens of relatives, per graduate, that invade the District to see their loved ones collect their diplomas after years of hard work.
If you forgot to scroll through Open Table and your mom is angry that you neglected to make a reservation, don’t panic. Here are some places where you don’t need a booking to celebrate.
An upscale, impressive celebration: Rose’s Luxury
Rose’s Luxury is consistently voted one of the best restaurants in the country, having won awards like the Michelin stars and James Beard Awards. And the line right when doors open at 5 p.m. shows it.
Located at G and 8th streets, Rose’s Luxury doesn’t take reservations so everyone has an equal opportunity to dine there on any evening. The restaurant is small with only six tables, so if you have a large group you should take this off your list. The small amount of tables allows for quick turnaround, so everyone can file in and get a seat.
Start lining up before 5 p.m. to lock in a seat, or swipe a spot on the waitlist, to ensure that your family will be in for one of the District’s top-notch dining experiences. With a tiny restaurant comes a tiny menu: three pasta dishes, five small plates and three “little dishes” showcasing upscale ingredients like foie gras and caviar. For around $15 a plate, the restaurant won’t break the bank, but will satisfy your tastebuds and give the ideal ambiance for a celebration.
Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Pizzeria Paradiso offers options for picky and adventurous eaters in your family.
A casual place for the whole family: Pizzeria Paradiso
If you have a crowd that’s filled with little ones and picky eaters, a post-commencement pizza party may be the way to go.
Pizzeria Paradiso offers two locations close to campus and the National Mall, one on M Street in Georgetown and the other near Dupont Circle, which makes for a quick commute to grab a bite to eat after the ceremony. Pizzeria Paradiso doesn’t take reservations and even if you have to wait, your family can be entertained by popping into the shops surrounding each location.
The wood-fired pies come with a variety of toppings, from simple margherita with tomato sauce and mozzarella topped with a sprinkle of basil to more adventurous toppings like anchovies and mussels. The pizzas come in either 9- or 12-inch sizes, so they can be shared with a favorite family member or individualized to satisfy each fussy eater.
Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor
A trip to Union Market for a post-commencement celebration means your family won’t have to agree on one meal.
A little something for everyone: Union Market
With 38 food market stands, and four sit-down restaurants and bars, Union Market will let your family explore. If your relatives are often seen dueling while making reservations, then the variety here will solve that problem.
Located in a warehouse in Northeast D.C., Union Market is about 30 minutes away on the Metro from Foggy Bottom. But the endless options and the fact that it is a tourist spot itself make the trip worthwhile. The market houses everything from TaKorean, a trendy Korean taco fusion restaurant, to classic seafood for your family from the coast at The District Fishwife. Surrounding the market, upscale restaurants like Masseria and local distillery Cotton & Reed offer pricier dining and souvenir shopping options. Before ending your night, grab a Belgian waffle, piled high with toppings from Saison Wafel Bar, or a classic soft serve ice cream cone from Trickling Springs Creamery.
Unlimited options for disagreeing relatives, ample seating for grandparents and artsy photo shoots in front of colorful street art for your Instagram-obsessed little sister will put smiles on everyone’s faces.
The last resort: A picnic on the National Mall
Absolutely can’t find a restaurant? A picnic might be the best choice for a no-frills food option with a built in view that out-of-towners will love.
The beauty of a picnic is the ability to choose from many food options. Run up to Whole Foods right on campus to pack up a picnic basket, or more likely a reusable bag, or grab a bite at one of the food trucks that flank each side of the Mall. Devon & Blakely’s location at 17th and G streets or Taylor Gourmet on the same block also serve as good places to grab sandwiches – the perfect easy picnic food – while the rest of your family stakes out a picture perfect spot.
Once you pick up enough food for the whole family, find a shady, grassy spot to eat and enjoy the view that you’ve taken for granted during your time as a D.C. resident.