Most kid-friendly restaurants in our nation’s capital
The go-to eateries in Washington. D.C. were once the scenes of backroom political dealmaking. But over the past decade, the restaurant landscape in our nation’s capitol has seen a significant shift, making room for a variety of palates and patrons, including your kids!
800 F St., NW, Union Station, Nationals Park, and Dupont Circle
I think that every kid deserves to have a burger while on vacation, even if it’s a veggie burger. A NYC-rooted chain, Shake Shack, has expanded to 15 additional states and five countries. If you don’t have one in your area, take my daughter’s word for it and try one of the best burgers in town… and it’s fast! It has to be quick to keep up with the line that routinely winds out the door and around the corner. $
2331 Calvert St., NW
If you’re staying at a Woodley Park hotel or visiting the National Zoo, make a stop at Open City. Its open and casual layout is perfect for families. Animal crackers arrive with drinks, and your grilled cheese can come traditional-style or with Brie and pepper jelly. Gluten-free bread is also on the menu. $$
1443 P St., NW
The strollers tell the story here. One of my favorite neighborhood stops, Commissary, is walking distance from Dupont Circle area hotels and the popular Stead Playground on P Street. It’s not uncommon to see multiple strollers in this restaurant at any hour. Breakfast is served until 4 p.m., and the rest of the menu has some tasty American-style fare including multiple vegetarian and vegan options. $$
1800 N. Street, NW and 2444 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Open 24 hours a day, Surfside is a Dupont Circle taco stand, serving a fresh Mex menu that reminds me of Southern California. My husband goes for the grilled fish-of-the-day taco; my daughter opts for steak. You can also grab surf or turf at its less (but still very) casual spot in Glover Park, where customers sit under the covered rooftop deck, complete with full bar. $$
KidTripster Tip: There are no servers at either location. Be prepared to seat yourself and carry pitchers of margaritas to your table.
641 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington’s robust international community thankfully shares its diverse cuisine at restaurants around the region. Lebanese Taverna, founded by a husband and wife in the 1970s, now has multiple restaurants and cafés, including one in Woodley Park near the National Zoo. The couple has retired, but their five children remain active with the day-to-day operations. My daughter can’t get enough of the fresh hummus bar. $$
Matchbox offers a broad menu at several locations around the District, including the original restaurant in Chinatown. Weary parents will appreciate the great happy hour; kids will love the familiar menu items. As an appetizer, I recommend the mini burgers on fresh brioche buns stacked with an impressive amount of onion straws. For an entrée, share one of the signature wood-fired pizzas. $$
Photo courtesy: Matchbox
1818 14th St., NW and 505 8th St, SE
Open early and serving breakfast all day long, Ted’s Bulletin is a family favorite in two locations - one on Capitol Hill and the other in the popular 14th Street corridor. My family and I are repeat customers at Ted’s, because the servers always seem happy to see kids at their tables. Try the homemade pop tarts that are worth every gram of sugar. $$
KidTripster Tip: The Capitol Hill location is smaller. Call ahead to get your name on the waitlist.
1005 E St., NW
&pizza may be the fastest-growing group of eateries in Washington, D.C., since it started up in 2012. Customers line up out the door for its customize-it-yourself 18-inch-long pies. Pick your own dough (including gluten-free), cheese (including vegan) and sauce (including garlic ricotta and mushroom truffle), and then go nuts with a selection of three dozen toppings. There are six additional locations. $
9/Busboys and Poets
1025 5th St., NW and 2021 14th St., NW
By day, Busboys and Poets is a popular spot to grab American fare or to lounge on comfy couches with a coffee. By night, it’s a cultural hub for poets and other artists showcasing their talents. If you want to see real talent, put a plate of their chicken wings in front of my six-year old! $$
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Located just three blocks west of the White House, this restaurant is the flagship of a restaurant chain owned by farmers who've put an emphasis on sustainability. While it's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can also pop in for brunch on weekends and holiday Mondays. $$
KidTripster Tip: The last time that I visited, the restaurant didn't have highchairs, so it may not be the best spot for babes.
Journalist Jocelyn Sigue lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter, two proud native Washingtonians. While she's happy to live amid all that our nation's capital has to offer, Jocelyn's okay being a native San Franciscan.
Photo courtesy: Founding Farmers
This writer received some complimentary meals for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely her own.