Back in college I spent a semester in Washington, D.C. and I've traveled there quite a bit for work. I am definitely of the camp that D.C.'s food scene is incredibly underrated. While they could use a few more coffee shops open past 5pm and on weekends, I could easily eat my way through the nation's capitol. Check out my favorite places to grab food in D.C., and definitely mention any I missed in the comment section!
My first few weeks in D.C. consisted of sticking with the usual chains I know are safe, but with the help of adventerous friends and some searching, I quickly learned to embrace what it has to offer. But first, the DMV and east coast chains:
1. Shake Shack
This is one of my favorite lunch stops. They don't do gluten free buns, but their burgers are great even without one, and their cheese fries are amazing. They have a allergy protocol that they'll instigate if you say your order contains an allergy. They're also fairly fast!
2. Pei Wei
This chain is a bit larger than east coast, but it's a great option people often forget, so I wanted to include it. They're owned by P.F. Chang's, which is known for being incredible with gluten free. They have safe options that are great for a quick eat.
This place is absolutely fantastic. They have salads that actually make you happy you're taking the healthy option and eating a salad for lunch. They're similar to Chop't but they toss instead of chop. They also have a large array of fresh squeezed juices and usually have a gluten free soup option. Their menu changes with the season in order to provide fresh ingredients!
Once I got more comfortable living in a new place, I began to branch out and found amazing places. Here are some of my favorite local spots!
1. Busboys and Poets
This is one of the best restaurants in D.C. A fantastic atmostphere, book store to shop in while you wait, great drinks, and fantastic food. Gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options are all marked directly on the menu, and they take great care with food allergies. My favorite dish is the chili nachos, but you really can't go wrong.
2. Founding Farmers
I love this place for so many reasons. The first being how insanely good their food is, but also that they're owned by a farmers union. Their food is all fresh and farm-to-table. They make scratch sodas that are absolutey amazing. Their staff is always super helpful and accomodating. I usually get the Steak and Enchiladas, but your server can go through the menu with you to figure out the best options.
They have gluten free pizza, wings, and even beer! I went here for the first stop of my 21st birthday and was not disappointed! They also deliver if you're not in the mood for eating out.
4. District of Pi
Another option for gluten free pizza is District of Pi Great pizza, good salads, and centrally located. Not super fast but great for a sit-down lunch or dinner.
4. Good Stuff Eatery
Another awesome place for a burger, but this time in walking distance of Capitol Hill! They have several great sauces to try on your burger and fries, and are also very careful with allergies. Because of their close proximity of the Hill, they're very busy during lunch time, but it's worth the wait. Be sure to save room for a milkshake!
5. Ping Pong Dim Sum
I've rarely been able to take part in the Dim Sum experience, so this place was a great surprise! They have entire gluten free meals available, and they're perfect for sharing.
6. District Taco
If you're in the mood for a place like Chipotle or Qdoba, but want to eat local, I definitely suggest District Taco. They have fantastic safe nachos and lots of other options. They also carry Cane Sugar Soda on tap, which is much healthier (and dare I say tastier) than Coke or Pepsi.
7. Georgetown Cupcake
Yes, they usually have a line out the door. No, all those people are not insane for waiting. Because, yes, it is worth it. However, if you don't want to wait in a line around the block, order ahead! You can be sure they'll have gluten free ones in stock, and you get to bypass the line! Win-win.