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Jan 16, 2009 05:58 AM

In DC for Inauguration, need cheap eats

I'm going to DC for a couple of days to see/hear Barack Obama's inaugural speech. While there, I will need to eat. I'll be primarily around memorials and things -- your basic tourist stuff. Is there good, inexpensive food to be had? I like everything! Though for the cold, places with great soup or pho or something, or big satisfying sandwiches, would be great.

I also wouldn't mind recommendations on less-well-known but still interesting tourist stops, since I'm sure that every place will be totally mobbed!


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  1. Near the Mall, I'd recommend the dining hall in the Museum of the Native American, Teaism (on 8th, north of D, just off Pennsylvania - try their amazing lentil soup) and definitely a half-smoke from a vendor. A few blocks north, for a sit-down meal, you can get a plate of Matchbox's wonderful miniburgers, which are served with a huge mound of the best onion strings every, for a very reasonable price. Also, Oyamel is on 7th, just about two blocks north of Penn. You CAN spend a lot there, but if you sample a few tacos at about three bucks a pop, you can keep your costs down.

    Make sure you get yourself to Ben's Chili Bowl one night, and for a reasonable, soothing dinner on a cold night, try Ethiopian. Etete is one of the best, or hit up Salaam at 15th and U for Eritrean.

    1. Also for burgers: Ollie's Trolley at E & 12th?NW and Five Guys at H & 8thNW.

      Mitsitam at the American Indian Museum gets really busy on a normal day and so does Matchbox. Mitsitam is worth it. Teaism (8th & D NW) is also a good idea for a cold day, there's seating downstairs.

      I assume Breadline will be closed, but if not, good for sandwiches and soups.

      All above near the Mall. But I second Ben's, Etete and Salaam for away from the Mall.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mselectra

        Some addresses:

        Teaism Penn Quarter
        400 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

        Ollie's Trolley
        425 12th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

        Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries
        808 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

      2. One thing to remember is that if you are going to the Mall to watch the inauguration, you need to come from the south -- NOT the north -- side. You apparently won't be able to cross Pennsylvania. So, Teaism, Oyamel, etc are out if you do that.

        3 Replies
          1. re: DCLindsey

            There will apparently be a couple places to cross Pennsylvania, if you're coming from the north to get to the Mall for swearing-in rather than the Parade (just read it in the Post, but they always say to keep checking for changes). But I'd assumed PhillyCook was not talking about inauguration day itself, necessarily.

            1. re: mselectra

              I thought I heard the 395 tunnel under the mall will be open to pedestrians - don't quote me. but that would require going out of one's way at either end.