With nine government departments still shuttered during the shutdown, we wanted to offer a few dining suggestions to workers who may find themselves with a little more time for lunch than usual. All lunch options suggested are less than a mile (walking) away, so we hope you'll branch out from your food truck fav and explore more of the city's vibrant lunch scene!
And if you need a coffee pick-me-up before you head in to work for free, all Gregory's Coffee locations are offering government employees who show their IDs a free 12-ounce coffee of any type (drip, lattes, cappuccinos etc.) until the shutdown ends.
Departments of Treasury and Justice
The Partisan: You can't tell me that lingering over a cheese and charcuterie board in a sexy, dimly-lit restaurant doesn't lift your spirits during a government shutdown, right?? Tuck in with chef's selections of Red Apron meats, or go à la carte with a sandwich, such as the chorizo burger (chorizo patty, smoked chimichurri, avocado, pickled onions and sour cream on a challah bun) or the hot wagyu pastrami sandwich. And don't forget a side of the aged beef fat fries!
Old Ebbitt Grill: If you need a boost of self esteem -- or if you want to try and spy government officials talking strategy over lunch -- treat yourself to the most classic of power lunches: oysters Rockefeller followed either by the Maine lobster linguine (Lobster Fra Diavolo), the trout Parmesan or the jumbo jump crab cake. If you find yourself burning the midnight oil during the shutdown, Old Ebbitt's offers half-priced oysters from 11 p.m. -1 a.m. on weekdays.
Oyamel: Looking to save a little until your paycheck is reinstated? All of José Andrés’ D.C. spots are offering free sandwiches to those with valid government IDs. The sandwich offer differs at all his spaces, but Oyamel is slinging a Torta Suadero: braised beef brisket served with pickled tomatillo, dijonnaise, lettuce and onion. *
Carmine's: Everyone gets a little something fun here. All-day happy hour prices at the bar are in effect during the shutdown whether you are a government worker or not -- don't miss out on the bittersweet shutdown specialty, the "Hard Times" for $6. But for those affected by the shutdown, show your ID and get free meatball sliders. Winning!
Department of Transportation
Osteria Morini: If you need to eat your feelings or cry into a bowl of pasta (no judgment), this Navy Yard hot spot has your back. And honestly, I'm not even sure this counts as a splurge when you can order an app and any pasta/entree/sandwich for $27 -- add a trio of gelati e sorbetti for $4.
Ana at District Winery: While business lunches conducted over dry martinis may not be as popular as shows like Mad Men might have us believe, there's a time and a place for enjoying a libation with lunch. The place is District Winery's Ana and the time is a government shutdown! The lunch menu highlights chefs Benjamin Lambert and Michael Gordon's affinity for New American cuisine and international flavors, with an eclectic menu ranging from $12 duck wings to a $15 tofu katsu sandwich and an $18 vegetable shawarma.
Willie's Brew n Que: Looking for a lunch where you can linger until happy hour? Willie's has you covered. Grab some buddies (we recommend 5) and opt for the grand slam, where you can enjoy house smoked pulled pork, chopped or sliced brisket, pulled chicken, nat brat, four 16oz sides and six pieces of cornbread. For $10.33 a piece, we can promise you, you won't leave hungry! The pulled pork mac-n-cheese topped with toasted bread crumbs is also bomb.
RASA: In a city flooded with fast-casual options, Rasa is a refreshing choice. This longtime passion project of Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman, whose fathers have been in the game for years at Indique and Bombay Bistro, offers a diverse menu, reflecting the range of ingredients found across India. Guests can build their own bowl, or pick the safety of one of Rasa’s signature combinations like the “Aloo Need Is Love” or the “Open Sesame.”
Department of Homeland Security (Tenleytown location)
La Piquette: Put those pinky fingers up and get down with your fancy self at this convivial French bistro. If you're feeling the #TreatYoSelf vibes, select the three course lunch (steal a steal at $32) and choose between seven petites assiettes (Amish goat cheese and beets, please!), five Plats Principaux (Moules Marinière all the way) and seven desserts (can't choose, want them all). Just don't blame me if you find yourself booking a vacation to Paris before lunch ends!
The Grilled Oyster Co.: I know, I'm talking about oysters a lot in this post, but come on, don't they just scream luxury and indulgence?! Go all out with the crab hush puppies, shrimp ratatouille stew, fried Chesapeake oysters and some Old Bay fries! You can't miss with the coastal tuna tacos or the St. Michaels 'shroom tacos, either.
Zburger: The chain has offered free burgers to government workers twice already, with the third day coming up on Thursday, January 10. Enjoy one single burger, cheeseburger, veggie burger or turkey burger with a side of fries and a drink. The offer is good at the Tenleytown location only, and is valid for government workers with an ID between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Beefsteak: Looking for something a little lighter than a burger, but still short on time? Fuel up with a beetsteak burger, courtesy of Mr. Andrés! The vegetarian friendly sandwich comes with marinated beet, pickled red onion, leaf lettuce, tomato, sprouts, vegan chipotle mayo, olive oil and sea salt, on an olive oil brioche.*
*Editor's Note: The deal at all José Andrés restaurants is only available from 2-5 p.m. for those who show a government ID. The sandwiches offered in each restaurant will be the choice of ThinkFoodGroup restaurants, and the offer does not include sides or drinks.
If you work for the Departments of Interior, State, Commerce, Agriculture or HUD, check out part one of this story.