You’ve probably ventured to U Street for a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Now, check out all the new spots that have opened up on or near this eclectic thoroughfare.
But first, coffee: Kick off your day at Café U, a popular quick-service neighborhood breakfast joint that draws in early birds with chai lattes, lox bagels, healthy juices, and a breakfast sandwich called Humpty Hump, which has eggs, cheese, and Sriracha.
Next stop: the African American Civil War Memorial Museum, which, at press time, was set to reopen in early 2023 following a multi-year expansion and renovation to add new artifacts and exhibits, as well as a state-of-the-art theater room. Outside on Memorial Plaza, see the Spirit of Freedom statue, as well as the names of more than 200,000 African American soldiers engraved on the Memorial Wall of Honor.
For lunch, check out one of the many restaurants in Little Ethiopia, mostly clustered around Ninth Street. One longtime favorite is Dukem (open for lunch on weekends), but there are plenty of others, like Habesha and Ghion. Get ready to nosh on lamb tibs, doro wat, and spinach sambusas.
After you’ve eaten, head to Meridian Hill Park, aka Malcolm X Park. On Sunday afternoons, the park is filled with drumming and dancing. It’s a longtime DC tradition that grew out of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s and has since evolved into a multicultural mix of entertainers who are sure to provide the social and spiritual lift you need to start your week. While strolling this green space, don’t miss the longest cascading fountain in North America.
You have a large variety of new culinary choices for dinner, from St. James for modern Caribbean to Dolce Vita for coastal Mediterranean. At Taqueria Xochi, savor the authentic Mexican flavors of a one-time food truck that’s set up shop in a new brick-and-mortar location. The only question now is: What are you in the mood for?
Feature image courtesy Laura Chase de Formigny
This story originally ran in our March issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.