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Ben's Chili Bowl in DC's U Street neighborhood - Where to enjoy all-American eats in Washington, DC

15+ Places to Enjoy All-American Eats in Washington, DC

Indulge your red, white and blue culinary passions at these DC eateries.

While DC is a culinary capital filled to the brim with international cuisine, the city can also offer the finest in American specialties. From tasty burgers and juicy steaks to authentic barbecue and handmade ice cream, the District has numerous options for enjoying them all. Dig in.

Hot Dogs & Half-Smokes

Ben’s Chili Bowl
Ben’s Chili Bowl is a DC institution celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The U Street locale serves up what has become the District’s signature dish, the half-smoke, a slight variance on the hot dog comprised of a sausage smoked before it’s grilled, providing a spicy kick. You can also get a classic hot dog, chili dog or turkey dog at Ben’s, a must-see spot on any voyage to the nation’s capital.


Located within walking distance of Ben’s Chili Bowl, HalfSmoke is another source for the classic DC dish, as evidenced by its name. Their version of the capital sensation features mustard slaw, onion crisps, bacon and beer cheese on a toasted bun, which makes for a flavor explosion. You can also peruse an entire sausage menu and build your own half-smoke.



Good Stuff Eatery
DC-based chef Spike Mendelsohn rose to prominence on Top Chef and operates this bedazzling burger-making enterprise along with his family. Using only fresh and seasonal ingredients and farm-raised beef, Good Stuff Eatery builds delicious burgers that will leave you breathless. The restaurant has two locations: one in Capitol Hill and one in Georgetown.


The Capital Burger
The revolution will come with a pickle, or so says the folks at The Capital Burger, a gourmet burger joint that transforms this American classic into fine dining fare. The restaurant’s proprietary beef blend makes for some serious burger masterpieces, like the namesake patty sandwiched between Wisconsin gruyère, caramelized onions and a shallot aioli.


Lucky Buns
Creativity in the form of bold flavors and toasty buns can be found at chef Alex McCoy’s globally inspired burger joint, Lucky Buns. The former pop-up proved to be such a hit that McCoy has given it a permanent home on 18th Street in Adams Morgan. The hot spot’s tantalizing creations include a runny-egg burger topped with gouda, pickled beetroot and grilled onions and a British breakfast burger comprised of sausage and bacon (we recommend adding bacon XO jam to that).


Shake Shack
Shake Shack has become a national sensation with its perfectly grilled burgers, adorned with soft potato rolls, crisp lettuce, ruby red tomatoes and legendary Shack Sauce. You can order yours at any of its DC locations: Dupont CircleUnion StationPenn Quarter and Logan Circle, to name a few. The chain is also adored for its creamy, irresistible shakes made with premium custards featuring rotating flavors. Everyone will want one of the juicy burgers, with hot dogs or chicken sandwiches serving as alternate options.



Hill Country Barbecue Market
Serving authentic barbecue in the heart of Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Hill Country Barbecue Market has brought the heart of Texas right into the nation’s capital. The set-up is part meat market, part barbecue joint, making for a down-home vibe that you will struggle to find anywhere else. In further tribute to Austin, Hill Country often welcomes rock, country and blues acts to its stage, as well as live band karaoke on select nights. 


Rocklands Barbeque
All of the ingredients for a perfect barbecue experience are present at Rocklands Barbeque: Ribs. Chicken. Pork sandwiches. Beef brisket. Cornbread, baked beans, coleslaw. The eatery, located in Upper Northwest, also features a “Wall of Fire,” where you can unlock even more flavors via an incredible array of hot sauces. All meats at Rocklands are made using only wood and charcoal, a rarity in the area.


2Fifty BBQ

2Fifty’s second location on K Street in Mount Vernon Triangle touts handcrafted and wood smoked Texas-Style BBQ with what they describe as “a pinch of the tropics.” The pitmaster embraces the “low and slow” method, smoking ethically sourced meats over their specially selected wood for anywhere between six to 14 hours. At communal tables, guests can combine their cut of choice with American classics and Salvadoran favorites like esquites and plantains – for dine-in, take-out or catering.



Ice Cream Jubilee
It doesn’t get much more American than ice cream. Ice Cream Jubilee, which has locations in both Capitol Riverfront and Georgetown, has become a favorite for the tasty treat in the District. The shop specializes in truly creative flavors, including banana Bourbon caramel, cookies and cookie dough, blueberry pie and many more. You can also savor sundaes, milkshakes and sorbets at this local sensation.


Here's the Scoop
The Georgia Avenue sweet shop dishes out ice cream, of course, but also cakes, pies, cookies and brownies. The frozen treats come in a variety of flavors including salted caramel pretzel and double chocolate fudge brownie, as well as vegan options from Maryland's Taharka Brothers and Cajou Creamery. 


District Doughnut
Another classic American treat, the doughnut, has an outstanding representative in DC. District Doughnut packs its many takes on the delightfully fried dough round and steps up the flavors. The dulce de leche is a favorite of ours, but you can’t go wrong with a Nutella s’more or a brown butter or a raspberry jam ... we’re getting hungry just listing these off. With locations in Georgetown, Capitol Hill and The Wharf, you’re never too far from a District Doughnut, either.


Dog Tag Bakery
Enjoy some scratch-made baked goods with a purpose at Dog Tag. Every purchase goes towards empowering veterans and military families through the bakery’s fellowship program. The menu is robust and includes pastries, breakfast and lunch options, desserts and coffee.


uncle chips cookies

Uncle Chip's

Uncle Chip's
Uncle Chip's serves up cookies and treats in Truxton Circle on North Capitol Street. Stop in for a one-of-a-kind cookie experience, or try their sandwiches, breakfast bagels or signature weekend cinnamon rolls.


Bar Fare

City Tap House Burger

City Tap House

City Tap House
This gastropub, located in the heart of Chinatown, provides plenty of craft beer, hospitality and a food menu brimming with innovative takes on classic bar dishes (corn and crab hushpuppies, ten spice wings, blue crab mac and cheese). There are also plenty of American classics to choose from, including a robust and juicy burger, a country-style pork chop and perfectly grilled rib-eye steak. City Tap House’s rustic and open setting is perfect for kicking back and enjoying an all-American evening.


Old Ebbitt Grill
The iconic Old Ebbitt Grill is one of the oldest restaurants in DC. Established in 1856, it has catered to politicos and journalists for more than a century, including former regulars like presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Theodore Roosevelt. This DC institution is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with to-go sandwiches, shareable desserts and a signature raw bar. You can't beat saddling up to the bar and ordering a classic cheeseburger or a bowl of chili while sipping on your drink of choice, and don't be surprised if you pick up some political gossip on the side.



Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
Del Frisco’s is hard to miss, as the restaurant is located in the heart of CityCenterDC, one of DC’s primary shopping destinations. Floor-to-ceiling windows line two split-level dining rooms, creating a cool atmosphere in which to enjoy the stellar wine selection, impeccable service and, of course, delicious hand-cut and dry-aged steaks, including prime rib-eye aged for 45 days and a Wagyu tomahawk chop.


Mastro's Steakhouse
Synonymous with a pristine steakhouse experience, Mastro’s combines elegant service and cuisine to create a night to remember for you and yours. The Downtown location is home to a variety of steak selections, from petite and bone-in filets to double-cut porterhouses to New York strips and much more. Make sure to dress upscale for your sophisticated evening at this nationally acclaimed restaurant.


Bourbon Steak
Located inside the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel, Washington D.C., Bourbon Steak is the creation of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina. Serving steak from a wood-fired grill, this fine dining spot is ideal for a romantic evening on the town. The slowly poached steak coated in butter meets its match goes will with any glass from its award-winning wine program.


Charlie Palmer Steak
Charlie Palmer Steak calls Capitol Hill home, appropriately situated among politicos and monuments to power. The stylish steakhouse brings bold flavors in its American artisan beef, so prepare yourself accordingly. You can’t go wrong with a cowboy-cut rib-eye or a dry-aged New York strip, and you’ll have savory sauces, plus add-ons like poached blue crab and seared foie gras to choose from. The restaurant also offers an impressive rooftop space.


RARE Steakhouse
With a first-floor tavern that dishes out bar fare and local oysters and an upscale steakhouse that features an extensive a la carte menu on the second level, Wisconsin-based RARE Steakhouse pairs Midwestern charm with a first-rate dining experience. Mouthwatering cuts range from local grassfed rib eyes to Wagyu strips and even a 50 oz. bone-in chop steak for two. You’ll also find the perfect pairing on the restaurant’s carefully curated wine list.



Nationals Park

Nationals Park
The national pastime is alive and well in the District, with the hometown Nationals (and 2019 World Series champions) drawing in crowds all summer long. The experience inside the ballpark is also top-notch, with a wide variance of food and drink options that are sure to satisfy any appetite. Don’t forget to download the Ballpark app for iPhone and Android, which allows you to order concessions without leaving your seat.

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