Protein Bar Opens Downtown

The quinoa-focused eatery joins a bustling fast-casual food area.

By: Jessica Voelker

Signs have been up for months now at the new Protein Bar location at 1011 19th Street, Northwest. On Thursday at 11 AM, the Chicago-based shake-and-quinoa-salad spot finally threw open the doors, offering free “bar-ritos” to the first 51 customers who darken them.

This will be Washington’s third Protein Bar, which owner/weight-loss success story Matt Matros created in 2009. The first one, at 398 Seventh Street, Northwest in Penn Quarter, came to us in August of 2012. A second opened at 800 North Glebe Road in Ballston in late January 2013.

Breakfast options include quinoa bowls and oatmeal, while lunch involves “grilled” and “chilled” protein bar-ritos, salads, and more quinoa bowls—among those the “health Parm” with chicken, marinara, and Parmesan cheese. You can also pick food and shakes up for dinner; Protein Bar keeps the lights on until 8 PM.

The arrival of the new spot brings another healthy option to what's becoming something of a fast-casual hub. Potbelly and Corner Bakery, the intersection’s longstanding monuments to mediocre midday dining, have been joined in the past few months by locations of Sweetgreen and Energy Kitchen on L Street. Around the corner, G Street Food draws crowds not willing to wait it out at what has long been the best lunch choice in the area: The Greek Deli. Across the street from the new Protein Bar, Boloco serves up customizable burritos. Certainly not as health-focused as Protein Bar’s quinoa-stuffed wraps, they are nonetheless delicious.

Protein Bar. 1011 19th St., NW. 202-887-0100. Open Monday through Friday from 7 to 8 and Saturday from 10 to 4.