Kosher Restaurants & Inexpensive Travel Ideas for Washington, DC


Last updated: September 21, 2016

Translate this post:

dc-washington-monument-capitolOver the recent Labor Day weekend I decided to take my family down to DC for a relatively inexpensive road trip vacation. Hoarding credit card points the way I do, I was able to book 2 different hotels entirely with points. (To start building up points for free travel, read this post). Combine that with all the free activities DC offers (more on that below), and DC was a
no brainer choice for an inexpensive 3-4 day kosher vacation from the NYC area.

First things first, the Kosher Restaurants:

For as prominent as DC is as a city in the US, it does have some limitations when it comes to Kosher restaurants, but that isn’t to say that DC is without kosher options. The JCC in DC has housed a number of kosher eateries over the years, most recently a high end pizza cafe: Silvercrust, which both opened and closed last year, and has not been replaced.

char-bar-georgetown-foggy-bottom-kosher-dc-restaurantThe only full service kosher restaurant in DC is Char Bar, formerly Eli’s, but in a new location in Foggy Bottom not far from Georgetown & Dupont Circle. Char Bar is a serviceable, albeit a bit overpriced, nice burger restaurant with other options including salads, pulled BBQ brisket, deli, steak, and more. Click for Char Bar’s menu. Don’t expect a meal that will blow you away by any means, but you will leave full and satiated as the portions are plentiful. I suppose not having much competition will do that.

Char Bar delivers around DC via Doordash.

Char Bar is under the kosher supervision of the VAAD of Greater Washington.

brooklyn-sandwich-co-kosher-dc-truckA new kosher option recently launched over the summer servicing the kosher community in DC: a kosher food truck. Launched by students at GWU, Brooklyn Sandwich Co.,  serves a limited menu of high end fleishig sandwiches, sides, and soups including pulled brisket, Reuben sandwich, matzo ball soup, knishes, potato wedges, cauliflower mash, and more. Click for Brooklyn Sandwich Co.’s menu.

We enjoyed the pulled brisket and pastrami in the Reuben sandwich. Overall, it provides a solid and quick kosher option in an area with few options. Does it compare to some of the high quality options we have in NYC (or Brooklyn for that matter)? Probably not, but DC needs Brooklyn Sandwich Co. and you should definitely support them when in town.

The kosher truck changes location on a daily basis. They post their location regularly on Twitter and their Find Us page.

Brooklyn Sandwich Co. is under the Rabbinical Supervision of Rabbi Hillel Baron of Congregation Ahavas Israel, Columbia, MD.

soupergirl-kosher-dc-takoma-parkA third kosher DC option is quite unique, and something I wish we had in the NYC area: Soupergirl.  A chain of 2 fully pareve and vegan soup cafés, Soupergirl brings delicious and healthy options to DC’s kosher observant population. The main location is located in Takoma Park, near Silver Spring, which is where we went since the downtown location is closed on Sundays. The downtown location is on M Street near Dupont Circle.

While the star of the show here is the soup, which you can try before you buy, other options that accompany the soup are sandwiches, delicious rolls/baguettes to dip in the soup, and pre-prepared salads in the fridge. A full list of soups and menu items are listed here.

We tried both the hot and cold soups and had trouble deciding which to order. Ultimately we settled on the Traditional Indian Mulligatawny and the Watermelon gazpacho. It was surprisingly filling with the bread. We took the salads to go for later. 

Soupergirl’s packaged products are under the supervision of the Star­-K and their store locations are under the kosher supervision of both the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington (Capitol­-K) and the Beltway Vaad. Soupergirl locations and markets that carry their products are listed here.

 

 

These are the 3 main places where you can go out and have a real meal, like a mensch. However, there are other options if you need a kosher meal and can’t head out to one of these locations, which are stocked with meals with Wrap2Go sandwiches & salads:

 

Travel Ideas & Recommendations:

Bringing kids to DC is a great idea since there are so many things to see and do inside and outdoors. Nearly all of the major attractions & museums in the city are free:

  • National Air & Space Museum
  • National Gallery of Art
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • U.S. Capitol & Library of Congress
  • The White House (requires advance reservations)
  • National Archives
  • National Zoo
  • Washington Monument
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Numerous other memorials and museums

In terms of neighborhoods to visit or stay in, I highly recommend Georgetown. We spent Shabbat there, and attended Kesher Israel for Shabbat services (and was put up for meals by the local Jewish community). Georgetown has many hotels within walking distance of the shul, but we ended up at Georgetown Suites, a non-chain hotel that was recommended by the shul and that allowed us to have 2 rooms and a small kitchen. The hotel is convenient in many ways, but it is dated and you can’t really use or accrue hotel points there outside of using a credit card portal to book it (which I did using Chase Ultimate Rewards – more on that another time).

Georgetown is a beautiful neighborhood to walk around and it also has a great promenade along the banks of the Potomac River.

 

Other places to consider spending Shabbat in DC proper include Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan. Just outside of the city there is a large frum community in the Silver Spring, MD area where you’ll have many options for shul, but fewer hotel options.

About The Author


  • Lou

    At Nationals Park (Baseball Stadium), The Kosher Grill is near section 142.
    And in the northern suburbs:
    Moti’s Grill (Fleishig – recently renovated) in Rockville is connected to Moti’s Kosher Market at the same location on Boiling Brook Parkway.
    In the same shopping center, you will find Goldberg’s Bagels (dairy sandwiches) and Royal Dragon (Kosher Chinese). The owners of Royal Dragon are Persian and there are several good Persian dishes on the menu.
    Another good option in Rockville is Siena’s Vegetarian Pizzeria & Restaurant at 12303 Twinbrook Parkway.
    You can get falafel and schwarma at Cafe Shawreen on Rollins Ave but Max’s is better.
    Max’s Café is in downtown Wheaton (Silver Spring) about 5 blocks from the Metro. It has a burgers, deli sandwiches and various entrees plus the best falafel and schwarma in town. Seating is casual and you pick up your food when it’s ready. The Nut House Kosher Pizzeria is nearby. Also in Silver Spring at the Kemp Mill shopping center you’ll find Ben Yehuda Café and Pizzeria and Shalom Kosher Market where you can buy prepared take-out meals.

  • Daniel Renna

    Don’t forget about Krispy Kreme at 19th and Dupont Circle under the Capital-K!!