Restaurants temporarily turn into ‘ghost’ takeout joints during pandemic

Media Credit: File Photo by William Stricklett | Photographer

For many restaurants, health and safety meant closing down in-person dining and operating with a barebones crew for delivery and takeout.

Some eateries are now referred to as “ghost kitchens,” but don’t worry, they’re not haunted. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, many establishments have chosen to shut down their dining rooms and switch entirely to takeout and delivery service. With new COVID-19 variants becoming more and more prevalent, you may want to ditch your dinner plans and instead order from these “ghost” kitchens for takeout or delivery using apps like UberEats and Doordash

Here’s a rundown of restaurants where you can grab your meal to go:

Thamee

Eric Wang — the owner of D.C.’s only full-service Burmese restaurant — said that he has chosen to keep his dining room closed for the safety of his staff and customers.

“The only way we’ll fully open back up for dine-in services is when the vaccines are available to people of all ages and backgrounds in DC, and when all of our key staff members have completed their vaccinations,” Wang said in an email.

For now, you’ll have to settle for takeout and delivery from Thamee through UberEats, Grubhub and Doordash. For people afraid of spice, Burmese food is a great way to introduce yourself to southeast Asian flavors because of its milder ingredients, so be sure to try a bowl of delicious curry stew, like Thamee’s catfish Mohingar ($19). 

1320 H St. NW. Open from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Cane 

This Caribbean street food joint was known in pre-pandemic times for its small, narrow and intimate dining room where no reservations were ever taken. The chefs have elected to remain a takeout and delivery restaurant only for the time being, according to the restaurant’s website. You can order its mouth-watering jerk wings ($12) or grilled oxtail ($22) on Grubhub or UberEats.

403 H St. NE. Open for lunch Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 8 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Perhaps the backbone of D.C. cuisine, this nationally famous restaurant was recently featured in the History Channel’s #SaveOurRestaurants initiative – a philanthropic effort that highlight’s some of America’s historic eateries that have been impacted by the pandemic. While the Nationals and FedExField locations remain closed, you can order classics like the original half-smoke ($7.70) on UberEats, Grubhub and Doordash for pickup or delivery from the U Street or H Street locations.

1213 U St NW and 1001 H St. NE. Hours differ by location: Check here for details.

The Red Hen

An Italian-inspired restaurant using “mid-Atlantic bounty” according to the joint’s Instagram, this eatery will keep its dining room closed until further notice. Instead, you’ll need to download Toast for delivery or place an order for pickup on the restaurant’s website. Try The Red Hen’s pasta like its garganelli with Tusacn duck ragu ($21) or squid ink linguini ($19) that you can pair with one of their several wines from their extensive drinks menu.

1822 1st St. NW. Open from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 9 p.m. Friday through Saturday. 

Timber Pizza Company

In addition to its food truck that you can often find at Foggy Bottom Market, you can order homemade pies from Timber Pizza Company’s Petworth location. The restaurant does not offer delivery, which means you’ll either have to call or use the pizza shop’s Square site – a takeout and payment service – to place your order. Timber Pizza Company’s pizza menu changes depending on the ingredients in season. For instance, the winter offerings currently include pizzas, like the “Green Monster” ($15.50) pie with pesto, kale and zucchini.

809 Upshur Street NW. Opens for dinner daily at 4 p.m. and weekend breakfast at 8 a.m. 

La Betty

If you’re looking for fusion comfort food, you’ll want to check out La Betty in Mount Vernon Triangle. La Betty was closed for much of 2020, but the chefs are back in business with a new menu optimally designed for takeout and delivery through Grubhub. There’s a subtle central American flare at La Betty, so don’t be surprised to find pupusas ($12) – a thick piece of stuffed flatbread similar to an arepa – alongside a chicken schnitzel sandwich ($14). 

420 K St. NW. Open from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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