Check out how creative, made-to-order masterpieces have become the new can’t-miss restaurant experience.
Amongst the hustle for Michelin stars, wowing diners with meticulously crafted tasting menus and shouting out tickets over chaotic kitchens, many restaurants have had to find innovative ways to lure diners. While many chefs had to tweak their menus for takeout and delivery, they’ve also kick-started collaborations with other chefs, converted sit-down service into fast-casual concepts and launched make-shift outdoor patios. It’s actually become such a trend that the new buzz across the city is which pop-up concept to try. Next time you’re looking to grab a bite, check out something creative, new, exciting and tasty from any of the options below.
And keep in mind many of these pop-ups are fleeting, so try these epicurean offerings before they disappear.
Butter Me Up
HalfSmoke on U Street opened up its kitchen early to fill the need for nourishing breakfast sandwiches with Butter Me Up. Every delicious item is stacked on toasted brioche with locally sourced ingredients and organic soft-scrambled eggs. Sandwiches tout fun names like The Bestie, made with hardwood smoked bacon, smoked cheddar cheese and chipotle ketchup. Have yourself a Staycation, a magical creation layered with smoked cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, avocado and sriracha mayo – then book your own staycation in the District. There’s also the Feels Like Home, which offers buttermilk-brined fried chicken, caramelized onions, Gordy's pickles, smoked cheddar cheese and sriracha mayo.
Walk up or order online delivery or pickup, Monday & Wednesday-Saturday from 8 a.m.–3 p.m., Tuesday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. | Order
651 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
You can now grab authentic tacos from Rita’s Tacos, a ghost kitchen at fried chicken-favorite Roy Boys. The pop-up concept is now a permanent addition, complete with signage and a take-out window. Menu items include tacos of course but also a birria quesadilla, elote loco (crazy corn!) and more. And to top it off, Roy Boys serves ice cream tacos regularly.
Tuesday–Thursday: 2-10 p.m. | Friday–Saturday 2 p.m. – 12 a.m. | Sunday 2-9 p.m.
2108 8th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
Victura Park at The REACH
This family-friendly outdoor oasis and pop-up wine garden is located at the River Pavilion at The REACH and is named after John F. Kennedy’s iconic wooden sailboat The Victura, purchased when he was 15. A collaboration between the culinary creative team of The Hilton Brothers and Chef Erik Bruner-Yang, Victura Park is a winery-inspired landscape. Dotted with picnic and café tables and heat lamps, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a snack overlooking the Potomac or spread out a blanket on the grass with a glass of wine.
Wednesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. | Learn More
The REACH at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566
Chinese Street Market Pop-Up
The Chinese Street Market Pop-Up is bringing authentic East Asian street market vibes to DC. Choose amongst fresh dumplings, noodle kits, unique specials and more to pre-order and either pick up at a selection of local farmers' markets or have delivered straight to you. This concept hopes to build a community of support for the preservation of Chinese culture in the DC area.
Locations and pick-up times vary, delivery available. | Order
Affordable smash burgers and authentic Philly cheesesteaks greet the taste buds of DC. The team at Espita has delivered this fascinating twist on their typical cuisine. At Ghostburger, expect a flavor mash-up that blends cuisines from Philadelphia, Mexico and France. Boozy milkshakes are also available, as are sides like crinkle cut fries and Fresno-style wings.
Open daily from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. | Learn More
1250 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
Operated out of Via Umbria in Georgetown, Officina’s breads, wines and preserves, in addition to hot prepared meals, fresh pastas, butcher products and specialty meats and cheeses, can be pre-ordered weekly and picked up curbside at this pop-up market. Officina Provisions also offers delivery, and customers can book a timed shopping slot to maintain social distance.
Pickup anytime after 2 p.m. | Order
Various pickup locations and curbside delivery available
Ampersandwich, the ghost kitchen from Shilling Canning Co. in Navy Yard, offers more than puns and buns. We’re talking seven ounces of wood-fired beef stacked with barbecue sauce and creamy horseradish – and that’s just their Baltimore Pit Beef sandwich. Other options include a crispy chicken sandwich (yes, you can make it spicy and a good ol’ double patty burger).
Delivery hours: Wednesday–Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m.; Friday–Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–2 p.m. | Order
360 Water Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
From the owners of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken comes this all-day sandwich and cookie-centric ghost kitchen. The menu consists of Philly-inspired cheesesteaks, delicious sandwiches and sides, and jumbo cookies made to order. Standouts on the Satellite Sandwiches menu include a Pizza Steak topped with marinara sauce and sautéed mushrooms, and a cheesesteak hoagie that can be topped with smoked gouda cheese. There’s also a steak and egg breakfast sandwich, a gyro….we could go on, but you should view the menu for yourself. Items were inspired by co-owner Jeff Halpern, a former NHL player and now an assistant coach for Stanley Cup winners, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Items for pickup or delivery must be ordered online in advance.
Monday–Friday: 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
1308 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
During a time when restaurants were struggling, Chef Nicholas Olivas felt compelled to venture out and create a pandemic-friendly concept and thus Gonzo was born. Named after the exaggerated journalistic style that is gonzo, Olivas shares his story through his menu. The Mexi-Cali pop-up is housed at Astoria and features traditional carnitas and baja shrimp tacos, a not-so-traditional nopales and queso frito taco (that’s cactus and fried cheese – um, yum!) and more.
Open daily from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Order
1521 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036