10 Must-Try New Lunches Around DC

By Rina Rapuano  |  January 25, 2017
Credit: Brandon Weight

A slew of new restaurants isn't just a boon for dinner — consider all the lunches being launched as well. So, the next time you're having a slow day at work and want to break out of the brown bag routine, drop by one of these newcomers for a fresh take on the midday meal.

Red Apron Burger Bar
Local butcher shop Red Apron’s burgers (pictured above) have long been celebrated for their superior quality, so it’s a no-brainer that the team would eventually open a restaurant dedicated to this all-American staple. The Dupont Circle burger joint offers two types of dry-aged patties for each burger: the ubiquitous black Angus and the Ancient White Park — jokingly dubbed “the beef you don’t know (yet)" on the menu. If you’re here for the burgers and fries, you might as well go all in and order the house freeze, a blend of vanilla soft serve and root beer.
Lunch hours: Opens daily at 11 AM
Try this: The Standard double-patty burger made with Ancient White Park and an order of chili-cheese fries

1323 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-524-5210

Under a Bushel Photography

Joselito Casa de Comidas
There’s nothing better than treating yourself to a long, luxurious lunch — and this cozy, nostalgic spot currently tops the list of where to do just that. Park yourself at a marble table near the window, order a glass of wine or sherry and linger over a parade of dishes that can each be ordered in three sizes — “tapa, 1/2 ración and ración,” basically translating to “small, medium and large.” Graze on jamón Ibérico and aged Manchego before diving into the heftier plates.
Lunch hours: Opens daily at 11:30 AM
Try this: Tuna carpaccio with avocado mousse, spring onions, almonds and pineapple sorbet

660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; 202-930-6955

Jai Williams

Dirty Habit  
Forget the slightly weird name and the wacky post-apocalyptic theme — the bottom line here is that the food is delicious. Chef Kyoo Eom, who stayed on at the Hotel Monaco restaurant in Penn Quarter after Poste closed last year, deftly turns out Asian-infused versions of global favorites like the burger and the spicy tuna tartare along with dishes inspired by the food he ate growing up in Korea. You’ll likely leave with a promise to return for more expanded options — like poached hen dumplings — at dinner time.
Lunch hours: 11:30 AM–2:30 PM weekdays
Try this: The DHDC burger (topped with a fried egg, Kewpie mayo and teriyaki sauce) with fries

555 Eighth St. NW; 202-449-7095

Courtesy of Tredici Enoteca

Tredici Enoteca
At this Philadelphia import inside The St. Gregory Hotel near Dupont Circle, the new lunch menu means creative salads by chef Carlos Aparicio, like his unlikely pairing of broccoli and avocado with a black sesame–Dijon vinaigrette (believe it or not, it works). Pastas, sandwiches and flatbreads plus items from the raw bar also make an appearance.
Lunch hours: Weekdays from 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
Try this: Squid-ink tonarelli with cockles, shishito pepper and a white wine–garlic cream sauce

2033 M St. NW; 202-888-2899

Courtesy of Eatsa

Automats are back, baby. But now instead of putting in a nickel and getting a tray of meatloaf, you pay online or with a credit card and receive a quinoa-based bowl topped with flavor combos that run the gamut from Indian to Mexican to Italian. As with most fast-casual spots, you can choose from the signature combinations or do a DIY bowl, selecting from among 78 options including roasted beets, pickled onions and apple-cabbage slaw.
Lunch hours: Starting at 10:30 AM daily
Try this: The No Worry Curry — stir-fried quinoa with egg, arugula, potatoes, spaghetti squash and red Thai curry

1701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 1627 K St. NW; no phone numbers

Kyle Schmitz

Ari’s Diner
No matter what you’re craving or what time it is, this new diner in Ivy City has got you covered by serving breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. Slide into one of the sleek green-and-white booths or grab a swiveling stool at the old-fashioned counter and go wild ordering a burger at 6 AM or an incredibly tasty breakfast sandwich at 8:30 PM. No matter when you’re there, don’t miss out on the cookies 'n' cream milkshake.
Lunch hours: Opens at 6 AM Tuesday–Sunday
Try this: Avocado toast and some of the best pancakes around

2003 Fenwick St. NE; 202-290-1827

Courtesy of Marcus

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s namesake restaurant at MGM Resort at National Harbor is the only big-name restaurant open for breakfast and lunch there. You’ll find dishes that reference Samuelsson’s Ethiopian homeland, his Swedish upbringing and his New York influences on the dinner menu, but the lunch menu mainly skews toward Southern favorites like shrimp and grits, a burger and a pimento cheese sandwich.
Lunch hours: 11 AM–3 PM weekdays
Try this: Sammy’s chicken and waffles

101 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill; 844-646-7778

Ken Fletcher

Farmers & Distillers
The team behind Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers looks to strike gold again with a new spin on the farm-to-table genre that incorporates an on-site distillery. Joining the spirits (such as vodka and amaro), you’ll find pizzas and sandwiches alongside Chinese-style dumplings and noodles among its exhaustive menu offerings.
Lunch hours: Starting at 11 AM weekdays
Try this: Ahi tuna poke with prawn chips

600 Massachusetts Ave. NW; 202-464-3001

Courtesy of Sfoglina

Never mind that Van Ness is far away from just about everything — when Fabio and Maria Trabocchi open a new restaurant, you need to giddy-up. And just as with all their other restaurants, there’s a healthful "Maria Menu" available during lunch hours and consisting of two courses — such as an arugula-radicchio salad and an entree of black bass with blood oranges, quinoa and capers — for $26. But for those of you feeling a bit more lusty, go for the pasta, which is the main focus of this gorgeous dining room.
Lunch hours: Starts at 11:30 AM Tuesday–Friday
Try this: Rigatoni amatriciana and squash tortelloni

4445 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-450-1312

Rina Rapuano

Granted, this Ivy City spot merging the Turkish pide with pizza may seem an awful lot like another popular, super-fast maker of oblong pizzas at first blush (ahem, &pizza), but it’s the Turkish flavors that really set it apart. Expect to see more branches, too, as the business already has locations in Chinatown and the Atlas District in the works.
Lunch hours: Opens daily at 11 AM
Try this: The pide topped with chopped Angus, diced tomato, green pepper and shredded mozzarella

2000 Hecht Ave. NE; 202-635-0890