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DC visit in June with kids

Looking forward to 4 days in the city with the family in June. Kids are 11, 9, and 6.
Can you direct me to any recent posts about family friendly good food spots, mostly for lunch and dinner.
We are staying near Union Station and will have a car. We are prepared to take the Metro and walk.
Kids are very interested in DC Cupcakes, so we'll venture to Georgetown one day.
Eastern Market perhaps.
We like Italian (i.e pizza or pasta), burgers, Mexican, Greek.
Thanks and looking forward to being there.

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  1. The name of the place is Georgetown Cupcake. The line is usually horrifically long. I have seen the line not budge and people looking pretty sad on that line. Perhaps there is a strategy to beating the wait.

    I live in Arlington, and there is a place called Bakeshop that has cupcakes at least as good and there is no line, so I am not tempted to wait in Georgetown.

    In Georgetown, there is a place called Olivia Macaron. It is near Georgetown Cupcake. While you are waiting on the GC line, send somebody to Olivia and get some macarons. Cassis, lemon, and rose are my favorite flavors - but they are all good. Also nearby is Larry's Lobster for lobster rolls which are terrific. These treats will give you the fortitude to wait on the line or may encourage you to give up altogether. The macarons are better than the cupcakes; it's not even close.

    District of Pi for St Louis style deep dish pizza. Best in DC.

    BGR is a local chain for burgers. Inexpensive, cooked-to-order, juicy, charred, delicious. Or go to Good Stuff Eatery where the highlight is the toasted marshmallow milkshake.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Agreed that Georgetown Cupcakes is nothing special, other than being on TV. Unless you are going to G'town for some other reason, don't bother. Plus it is out of the way from Metro and parking and traffic are horrendous.

      Are you doing mostly stuff on the Mall? That would help us to steer you to places that meet your criteria. Even if you have a car in DC, you don't want to drive if you can avoid it. Traffic is bad most of the day and the roads are confusing. Lanes and entire roads can change direction depending on the time of day. There are service lanes and tunnels and if you don't get into the service lane you will miss your turn altogether. Parking is a hassle in most parts of town.

      1. re: Just Visiting

        Sure. Lets focus near The Mall. Thanks for all the ideas.

        1. re: rcburli

          If you'll be doing some of the museums, plan on having a lunch at Mitsitsam, the cafeteria at the American Indian Museum. Great variety of interesting food choices with different dishes from various native groups across the US. Way better than a typical stale-sandwich museum cafe!

          1. re: rcburli

            Thinking your thread got a little waylaid by the Georgetown Cupcakes discussion....

            Some suggestions that frequently come up in the "where to eat near the Nat'l Mall" threads, hoping this gives you some search terms you can use to figure out if they'd work for you or to get other ideas (I know some of these have been mentioned already):

            -Fried fish sandwiches at the SW DC waterfront
            -Teaism in Penn Quarter
            -Mitsitam, the cafeteria at the National Museum of the American Indian
            -The Garden Court (?) restaurant in the National Gallery of Art
            -Various Jose Andres restaurants in the Penn Quarter area (Zaytinya, Jaleo)
            -Food trucks that gather lunch time on weekdays around the L'Enfant Plaza metro at 7th & Maryland and around Farragut Square, McPherson Square, and Metro Center
            -Not too far north from the Lincoln Memorial are the Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods, that have lots of places that might interest you, if you do a search.
            -Burgers: in West End there's Bobby's Burger Palace (or something like that?); in the same building as the Spy Museum is a branch of Shake Shack; on Pennsylvania Ave SE, convenient to the Capitol, is Good Stuff Eatery (and his pizza place next door). Ray's Hellburgers are famous (and good!!), but search on here for how to get one since his burger place closed -- would be doable, say, after a visit to Arlington Cemetery.
            -Your idea to look into Eastern Market is probably a good one, too.

            That's a bit of a random list. Hope it helps.

          2. re: Just Visiting

            Our apartment is very close to Union Market. Is this worth a visit?

            1. re: rcburli

              Only if you're really market deprived from whence you came. It's a relatively small and somewhat expensive market but there are certain things that may be worthwhile. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/960518

              1. re: rcburli

                Nice spot to stop in for lunch/snack/coffee/etc. There are always kids running around, and lots of munchable and sippable items to enjoy.

                1. re: rcburli

                  Union Market is not Reading Terminal, not Chelsea Mkt., not Eataly, not even Lexington Mkt. It's an expensive food court with some worthy vendors as noted.

                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                    Good info.
                    Perhaps though worth a short summer's evening walk for gelato with the kids...
                    Perhaps a nice steak to grill?

              2. re: Steve

                You can order ahead at Georgetown Cupcake, to beat the line. I'm pretty sure I'm right about that (at least you used to be able to), but double-check. Georgetown (and now Georgetown Cupcake) are part of the tourist circuit in DC, so understand kids wanting to go. But it can be a hassle to get over there. I'd say the Circulator bus is your best bet.

                1. re: mselectra

                  You just have to order a day ahead of pickup. I do think the notoriety they receive is well deserved for D.C. Haven't had consistently good cupcakes from any other bakery in my opinion.

                  1. re: mselectra

                    Here's the best line strategy for Georgetown Cupcakes:

                    Around the corner from Georgetown Cupcake is Baked and Wired, which has better cupcakes.

                    Walk by GC and smile at all of the tourists waiting on line. Then go to B&W, get a better cupcake, and walk past the line again. Hope that someone realizes they just saw you walk by.

                    1. re: DanielK

                      Daniel -- I have actually dropped tourist groups at Georgetown Cupcakes (I work part-time in tourism, longer story), waved good-bye, and then walked to Baked & Wired on my own. Ignoring the looks from those in line as the group charges in to get their pre-ordered cupcakes.

                      There's also a branch of Georgetown Cupcake in Bethesda that I don't think has as long lines, if that's helpful to anybody.

                      And, I think Sticky Fingers won a TV cupcake competition, right? So I wonder if visitors are going to start wanting to go up to Columbia Heights for those?

                2. You might do well to try Zaytinya. It's Mediterranean food, small plates, and a very bustling/bright/busy space (which I think is good for kids. Not at all a quiet romantic spot). It's a Jose Andres restaurant and I always recommend visitors try one, since he's arguably DC's most well-known chef/restaurateur.

                  Ted's Bulletin is a popular spot near Eastern Market/Capitol Hill for American food -- slightly modernized spin on classics. Casual, good for families. Homemade pop-tarts, shakes, sandwiches, breakfast all day, etc.

                  Clyde's Restaurants (a local chain) are nothing earth-shattering, but a good option for a nice family meal. Good kid's menu, accommodating of having groups, etc.

                  I like the burgers at Good Stuff and at BGR, both mentioned by other posters. Good Stuff also owns a pizza spot (We, the Pizza) next door, so you could stop by both if you have divided opinions on what to eat.

                  1. Was there with my 2 boys in May. Ethiopic was wonderful. Eating with your hands was totally cool to my kids. The food was not crazy spiced and even the picky boy enjoyed the beef tibs. Service was wonderful, waitress even brought tiny portions out for my son to try, just because. Can't say enough good things about this place. The boys also enjoyed bens chili bowl. Yes I know it's touristy, but they were super gracious with their service, and the boys got a kick out of the pictures lining the walls