Big Bear Cafe

1700 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001


Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw

Cuisines: American, Breakfast, Deli/Quick Bites

Opening Hours:
Open Monday through Friday 7 AM to 11 PM, Saturday 7:30 AM to 11:30 PM, and Sunday 7:30 AM to 11:30 PM.

Nearby Metro Stops: Shaw-Howard University

Price Range: Inexpensive

Dress: Informal

Reservations: Not Needed


Best Dishes:
Chicken/mozzarella/pesto sandwich; fromage blanc/fig sandwich; turkey/apple/brie sandwich; Jessie's salad; coffee.

Special Features: Kid Friendly, Outdoor Seating, Breakfast

Scene: Outdoor Seating

Dirt Cheap Eats 2009: Big Bear Cafe

Simple, fresh sandwiches and salads made with care are the reason to order more than a cappuccino at this corner cafe with a lived-in, European feel. Music swings from jazz to soul to alternative, and a seat by the tall windows yields a view of herb, flower, and vegetable gardens and a cobblestone patio.

Grilled sandwiches arrive with a salad of lightly dressed mixed greens and, perhaps, a marigold from the garden. The chicken-mozzarella-and-pesto sandwich ($7.50) gives off a lovely aroma of fresh basil, while a less substantial but tasty sandwich of spicy fig marmalade, fromage blanc, and arugula ($6.50) is a reminder of the cafe’s close ties with the neighborhood farmers market.

A turkey-apple-and-Brie sandwich ($5) and Jessie’s Salad ($7.50)—topped with grilled chicken, feta, and cucumbers—also make nice meals. Coffee is taken seriously, and your latte’s foamed milk will sport a palm-frond design.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; closes at 6 on weekends.

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