Best Bites Blog
Beyond Apple Pie: July Fourth Celebrations at Washington Restaurants
From red-white-and-blue cupcake frosting to spins on classic American barbecue, Washington restaurants, markets, and bakeries are getting creative for July Fourth. Here’s how to celebrate Independence Day—with an appetite.
Penn Quarter's Hill Country is offering a slew of July 4-themed BBQ specials. Photograph by Scott Suchman
923 16th St., NW, 202-509-8000
Pastry chef Fabrice Bendano will be offering his excellent macaroons in patriotic colors and packaged in specially designed boxes. They’re available by the dozen ($20) and should be ordered 24 hours in advance. At the St. Regis bar, you’ll find the celebratory Bubbles and Pearls cocktail, an exclusive for Independence Day that features red-white-and-blue Cointreau pearls in Champagne.
A.M. Wine Shoppe
2122 18th Street, NW, 202-506-2248
On July 4, this Adams Morgan gourmet market will sell large male crabs by dozen, direct from the Chesapeake Bay and steamed in-house (market price). Call ahead to reserve a table. Also available are picnic baskets ($25 to $35; add $10 for wine) with meats and cheeses and two deli sandwiches, such as a turkey club or grilled vegetable.
50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, 202-289-6188
At this Union Station restaurant, enjoy music and an all-you-can-eat barbecue celebration from 11:30 to 6 on July 4. The spread includes chicken, riblets, burgers, and hot dogs; and sides are baked beans, mac and cheese, corn on the cob, potato salad, and coleslaw. Iced tea and soda are included in the price (adults $25, children 12 and under $17).
1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria, 703-519-3776
From July 2 through 14, this French bistro is offering a three-course, $35 prix fixe “Franklin” menu with pork shoulder, rock-shrimp fritters, and buttermilk fried chicken. Desserts are rhubarb-laced rice pudding and apple cobbler with fresh ice cream.
818 N. Quincy St., Arlington, 703-650-9676
This Ballston bakery will show its patriotic side with a spin on America’s favorite traditional dessert: pie. Buzz offers pie cupcakes ($22/half dozen) and blueberry- or cherry-stuffed yellow cake topped with buttercream frosting. The sweet treats will be available for pickup on the July 3 (the shop is closed on July 4) and must be ordered in advance. (Note: The cupcakes are not available at the Del Ray location.)
Café Du Parc
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 202-942-7000
This downtown DC bistro is celebrating Independence Day with a mashup of French and American dishes. Beginning at 11:30 AM, there’ll be a special à la carte menu with such options as garlic-steamed mussels, pan-seared salmon, and a white-chocolate/raspberry crumble. They will also offer a Kobe beef hot dog and a grilled-chicken sandwich, as well as Parisian crêpes. The menu will be available until the end of the Willard Hotel’s block party, which runs from 5 to 9. Reservations are requested before 2:30.
Charlie Palmer Steak
101 Constitution Ave. NW, 202-547-8100
At the annual indoor block party, this steakhouse—spitting distance from the Capitol—lays out a summer buffet-style dinner ($45 per person, $18 for kids), with a beef-carving station, roasted pork, a variety of salads, and whimsical desserts: cotton candy and a chocolate fountain. The meal runs from 4:30 to 8:30. Reservations are preferred. (Charlie Palmer does not offer access to the roofdeck for fireworks-watching.)
City Square Cafe
9428 Battle St., Manassas, 703-369-6022
Watch the fireworks in Manassas with a three-course dinner ($49) on the patio, along with live music. Dinner starts with a house salad; then there’s a choice of barbecue pork ribs with roasted potatoes and coleslaw, pan-seared salmon filet with roasted potatoes and vegetables, or three-cheese ravioli in marinara sauce. All-American dessert is a choice between apple pie à la mode or Fruit of the Forest pie, with strawberries, apples, blackberries, and rhubarb. Seatings are from 6:30 to 7, and reservations are highly recommended.
Cork Market & Tasting Room
1805 14th St. NW, 202-265-2674
This wine shop is putting together a number of picnic baskets: the All-American ($25; $35 with wine) includes your choice of four deli sandwiches, such as a smoked-ham sandwich with pickled onions and Camembert cheese and a side of potato chips; and the Red White and Chicken basket ($40; $55 with wine) with Peruvian grilled or buttermilk fried chicken alongside Mediterranean couscous salad or ratatouille. Both baskets are good for two people and include a choice of desserts, such as a honey-mint fruit salad or house-baked cookies. Baskets will be available through the end of July and must be ordered at least 24 hours ahead of time.
11944 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax, 571-522-6315
As part of Cupcake Actually’s “10 Weeks of Kids” campaign—a summer-long event during which a different cupcake design is featured each week—this Fairfax Corner bakery will feature $4 vanilla-and-chocolate patriotic-themed cupcakes on July 4. If traditional black-and-white doesn’t suit your fancy, other selections from the week’s regular lineup—which will include apple streusel and peanut butter—will be decorated with red-white-and-blue fondant creations.
The Dairy Godmother
2310 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-683-7767
At this Obama-approved shop, July 4 cakes ($19.95) are made with layers of frozen blueberry and strawberry Wisconsin-style custard, white cake, and whipped cream. Pre-orders are recommended, and if you're one of the first 200 customers to visit on Independence Day, you'll get a free American flag.
410 Seventh St., NW, 202-556-2050
This Penn Quarter restaurant, which channels a Texas barbecue roadhouse, is offering the following specials on July 4: pit-smoked Texas tenderloin ($32/pound), Mexican corn on the cob ($5), blueberry bars with strawberry ice cream ($7), and a "Rocket Pop" cocktail ($9) with Stoli Razberi, Stoli Blueberi, lemonade, blue curaco, and cherries.
8081 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, 301-565-9700
On July 3 from 2 to 6, this Silver Spring restaurant is hosting a barbecue celebration ($20 per person) on its patio with smoked beer-can chicken, Mexican corn, watermelon, and squash kabobs. Enter your best sweet recipe into Jackie’s bake off for a chance to win a $50 gift card. Cool off with a run through sprinklers. Reservations are recommended.
515 15th St., NW, 202-661-2440
At this steakhouse, which sits in the shadow of the White House, there’ll be a picnic on the patio ($35 per person) special from 5 to 10 PM with such options as shrimp cocktail, watermelon-and-goat-cheese salad, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, barbecue chicken, and lobster rolls. Family-style sides are coleslaw, potato salad, and corn on the cob. For dessert, they will offer ice-cream sandwiches or chocolate pudding. A bucket of six beers is $25, and pitchers of sangria, margaritas, vodka lemonade, and bottles of wine are $30.
2000 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, 703-549-3444
This Alexandria wine shop is joining forces with Red Apron Butchery to create Independence Day “party packs.” The beer-and-barbecue package, which feeds 12, includes two six-packs of Port City beer, a dozen handmade hot dogs, buns, and chef Nate Anda’s special mustard. The Fireworks and Picnic pack includes two Red Apron rillettes, pâtés, or cheeses; a baguette; a bottle of wine; and sparklers. Both packs ($45) come in reusable Red Apron bags and must be ordered by June 29; call 703-549-3444. Pickup is on July 3.
Punk's Backyard Grill
2188 Annapolis Mall, Annapolis, 410-571-7744
The relaxed, backyard theme of this Annapolis restaurant will come to life on Independence Day with a number of barbecue specials. On the patio, chefs will grill dry-rubbed ribs (half-rack $15.99 with a side) and corn on the cob ($1). The outdoor specials will be offered July 3 and 4 during regular hours, 11 to 9.
701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 202-393-0701
This sprawling restaurant, just a few blocks from the Mall, is offering special dinner options from 4 to 10 on July 4. Appetizers are chilled tomato soup with grilled shrimp or bison chili with cornbread croutons ($12); entrées are a smoked Wagyu-beef basket with potato-and-bacon salad and corn on the cob ($25), or crabcakes with summer slaw ($26). Finish the meal with a red-white-and-blue parfait ($9) made with local blueberries.
1245 H St., NE, 202-396-1766
At this new H Street restaurant, a special menu ($20) runs from July 1 through 10 on the patio and includes a main course, side, and dessert. Pick from entrées such as braised pork or 64-hour short ribs, paired with sides of purple-potato salad, cornbread, beans, or grilled corn. Sweet treats are bread pudding and lemon-ginger cake. The DMV Brewers Barbecue, also $20, is Sunday, July 3, and highlights area breweries including 3 Stars (DC), Baying Hound (Maryland), and Lost Rhino (Virginia). Beers from those companies are $5.