In honor of Christine & Karen‘s upcoming trip to visit me in DC, I thought I’d share a little insight as to my planning process when it comes to what to show them when they are here. I am, by no means, an expert on the DC food scene, but these are the impressions I have of it. While we won’t be able to visit all of these places, I hope you will be able to at some point!
One food trend that is making its way around the country is locally-sourced, farm-to-table restaurants. This is one that I think will be here to stay, if not forever then for a long while, because diners are able to support local businesses even more by choosing restaurants that source their food from local farms. As a diner, you aren’t so worried about what kind of ordeals your salad had to endure to get to your plate, ripening over a bumpy truck journey across the country instead of how nature intended.
I’ve visited a couple of the farms that supply many of our local restaurants in the DMV, and it does feel good knowing that you are supporting local farms, where you can put faces to your food. DC also places a big emphasis on food being sustainable as well, which is a huge plus in my book.
Let’s go over a few DC establishments that partake in more conscientious dining:
Farmers Fishers Bakers
You can tell from the name that Farmers Fishers Bakers wants to place an emphasis on the people who are bringing you your food. Located on the Georgetown Waterfront, they have a sushi bar — which is a little different and weird to me but apparently is working — and an extensive drinks menu. This is a place you go when you want to feel good and to eat food that you feel good about as you enjoy a view of the water.
(See also sister restaurant: Founding Farmers — wearefoundingfarmers.com — now with 3 locations, and a hugely popular brunch spot. Make reservations or be prepared to wait a long time, but Founding Farmers is a great option if you’re not willing to spend quite as much as FFB asks you to.)
Popular items include cinnamon rolls, pretzel appetizer, crab dip, and most specialty cocktails
Come for brunch, lunch, dinner
3000 K St. NW; (202) 298-8783; farmersfishersbakers.com
Enter Beuchert’s Saloon and be welcomed in by… just a warm, cozy feeling with a splash of the Old West. If you drink, you definitely need to do so here, because at this former speakaeasy, they know what they’re doing behind the bar. Not only is your food locally sourced, but you can even watch it be prepared thanks to an open kitchen/chef’s bar.
Popular items include bone marrow, oxtail tagliatelle, candy bar
Come for brunch, dinner
623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; (202) 733-1384; beuchertssaloon.com
You can always spot a farm-to-table concept by its name, can’t you? DC Harvest pairs its locally-sourced food with 100% American beverages. You may be noticing a theme, but like many DC farm-to-table restaurants, they decided that supporting local farmers wasn’t enough and decided to take their cocktail game to the next level also.
Popular items include quinoia cakes, pot du creme – butterscotch or s’mores, [complimentary] chips, and scallops
Come for brunch, happy hour, dinner
517 H St. NE; (202) 629-3296; dc-harvest.com
Honorable Mention: Busboys & Poets
Busboys and Poets isn’t necessarily known for locally-sourced food, but I wanted to spotlight them because they are big on sustainable food and supporting local and independent businesses in the DC metro area. Named for poet Langston Hughes being a former busboy, this is a very DC restaurant in how conscientious it is in every way: they use clean power, push for higher minimum wage for restaurant employees (not just their own)… plus they sell books, have open mic nights… it’s a groovy place, you guys.
Popular items include nachos, sweet potato fries, french toast, and blackened salmon
Come for brunch, lunch, dinner
Original location: 2021 14th St. NW; (202) 387-7638; busboysandpoets.com
Special Mention: Silver Diner
Silver Diner is a DMV family of diners that really surprised me. I thought it was just some local diner chain, typical diner food there to greet you after a late night or for an early morning. Oh no no no. They have undergone some kind of overhaul and now partner with local farms that are described around their restaurants by the name of the farm and with photos of the farmers themselves. The bottles of ketchup on the table are labeled “Organic Ketchup”. The menu has been reworked to be seasonal, healthier, and not greasy greasy-spoon fare. I normally get frustrated with DC restaurant recommendations that include Maryland and Virginia establishments, but I thought that the Silver Diner was a really good example of how the farm-to-table movement has affected our entire metro area.
Popular items include quinoa coconut pancakes, a milkshake, flat-iron steak, and Oaxaca omelette
Come for breakfast, brunch
Multiple locations around Maryland, Virginia, and one in Cherry Hill, NJ; silverdiner.com
There are so many options if you want to eat locally-sourced sustainable food, and I definitely think you should try them out.
What do you think of the farm-to-table trend?
What are your favorite locally-sourced and/or sustainable food restaurants?