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Georgetown Locals’ Favorite Places to Eat, Shop, and Things to Do

Neighborhood denizens talk about their favorite spots—from an old-fashioned pharmacy to the beautiful gardens at Dumbarton Oaks

Carol Joynt loves the prepared foods at Griffin Market. Photograph by Yassine El Mansouri.


Carol Joynt is an Emmy Award–winning TV producer, blogger, and host of the lunchtime interview series Q&A Cafe at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton. She is author of the upcoming memoir “Innocent Spouse,” about her time as owner of the Georgetown restaurant Nathans, which closed in 2009.

We get home-cooked meals at Griffin Market (1425 28th St., NW; 202-965-1222). There should be more corner markets in neighborhoods. The chicken milanese is brilliant, and I love the soups. I’m a soupaholic. The chef, Laura Bonino, used to work for Roberto Donna, so it’s like a taste of Galileo you can bring home. If I spontaneously decide to have a friend over for dinner and don’t want to drive to Safeway, I go there.

Best of Georgetown

I walk along Georgetown Waterfront Park at least once a day. It’s beautifully landscaped, and it puts you right on the water. So many parks like that have big fences and railings, but here you can sit on the seawall and dangle your feet over the water. When they complete it, you’ll be able to walk right along the water from Key Bridge all the way to the Jefferson Memorial.

Don’t come to Georgetown without stopping in Morgan Care Pharmacy (3001 P St., NW; 202-337-4100). It’s what pharmacies were before they became chains. The owner, Barry Deutschman, is always there, and he knows you, as does everyone who works there. It could be in the Smithsonian due to its Old World corner-drugstore charm. It has everything but the soda fountain.
I love going to afternoon movies at the AMC Loews Georgetown (3111 K St., NW; 202-342-6033). It’s clean, not crowded, and the popcorn tastes as fresh as you can hope to get in a modern multiplex. I just saw The Fighter, which I loved.

Furin’s (2805 M St., NW; 202-965-1000) for breakfast, without question. The pancakes are so good they are an addiction. The staff knows who you are and represents the best of the neighborhood feel.


Earl “Rusty” Powell has been director of the National Gallery of Art since 1992 and is chairman of the US Commission of Fine Arts. He has lived in Georgetown for 20 years with his wife, Nancy.

Just walking through Georgetown is one of the most satisfying experiences in Washington. As a neighborhood, it is so historically unique and a very special place.
Dumbarton Oaks (1703 32nd St., NW; 202-339-6400) is amazing. The Philip Johnson Pavilion is so special, with those great pre-Columbian collections. The gardens are open to the public and are among the most beautiful spaces in the city. This spring they’ll be in full glory again.

Tudor Place (1644 31st St., NW; 202-965-0400) is a great historic mansion at the top of Georgetown. Both it and Dumbarton Oaks are important because they root Georgetown and Washington in a history that people tend to forget about when they’re so caught up in politics and what’s happening on Capitol Hill.

In terms of restaurants, 1789 (1226 36th St., NW; 202-965-1789) is wonderful. I have to fall back on their rack of lamb. It’s been a standby for years, and it never disappoints. At Citronelle (3000 M St., NW; 202-625-2150), every day is a new experience. I’ve never had a bad meal at either place. And I’ve never had a bad ice-cream cone at Thomas Sweet (3214 P St., NW; 202-337-0616). I like to get the sugar-free swirl of vanilla and chocolate.

Kafe Leopold & Konditorei (3315 M St., NW; 202-965-6005) has wonderful pastries and coffee. It’s tucked into Cady’s Alley. I normally go for lunch on weekends because it has a nice outdoor place to sit.


John DeGioia is president of Georgetown University. He got his undergraduate degree in English and his PhD in philosophy from Georgetown; he’s been president since 2001.

I came here as a freshman in 1975, and I’ve been in Georgetown ever since. So many of my favorite places are owned by friends, people I’ve gotten to know over all these years.

Hollie Wong has a unique teahouse called Ching Ching Cha (1063 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-8288), where my wife, Theresa, and I love to go. They import a tea called Pu-erh. It’s a famous Chinese tea, and that’s my favorite.

The brownie at the Tombs (1226 36th St., NW; 202-337-6668) is also a favorite. It comes with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. It’s their specialty.

I love Volta Park (34th St. and Volta Pl., NW), where my nine-year-old son plays little-league baseball. We walk there from our house. It’s got a swimming pool and tennis courts, so during the summer it’s the local neighborhood pool. Sometimes we’ll walk from there to Five Guys (1335 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-0400) or Booeymonger (3265 Prospect St., NW; 202-333-4810). It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church (3513 N St., NW; 202-337-2840) has been our parish for years. My wife and I were married there, and my son has been at Holy Trinity School since nursery school.


Legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein nearly 40 years ago, has lived in Georgetown since 1976. His most recent book is Obama’s Wars.

Patisserie Poupon (1645 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-342-3248) is a bakery and carryout. They have great turkey sandwiches, chicken salad, baked goods, and anything for lunch and breakfast.

About four or five doors south of that is Bacchus Wine Cellar (1635 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-2003). I know the owner, Bassam Al Kahouaji. He can find good wine, even great wine, at reasonable prices. You go in there and he is ready to help you. It’s the classic, well-stocked neighborhood liquor-and-wine store.

Martin’s Tavern (1264 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-7370) has been here since I came to Washington. It’s got booths and great lunch and dinner. It’s kind of Old World, and that’s what’s nice—one of those places that reflect the opposite of fast food.

My daughter and I love Johnny Rockets (3131 M St., NW; 202-333-7994). My wife, Elsa, not as much. They have chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, too many French fries. And they give you nickels to put in the jukebox. There are a lot of oldies, but I let my daughter choose the songs.


Gordon Peterson is an Emmy Award–winning anchor with ABC 7 News and moderator of “Inside Washington.” He attended Georgetown University and now lives in the neighborhood.

The first 16 words of the Bill of Rights deal with freedom of religion, and Georgetown is an embodiment of that principle. Within a few blocks of where I live, there’s a hundred-year-old orthodox synagogue; several Baptist churches that serve predominantly African-American congregations; a Catholic church that celebrates Mass in English, Lithuanian, French, and Korean; a Methodist church that’s been in Georgetown since the 1700s; and a number of Episcopal churches. It’s just amazing to walk by them every day.

There are tons of restaurants I enjoy. You can always get a good breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Daily Grill (1310 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-4900). On M Street, there’s Bistro Français (3124-28 M St., NW; 202-338-3830), Taj of India (2809 M St., NW; 202-965-4266), and Hook (3241 M St., NW; 202-625-4488).

On Prospect Street, you have Morton’s (3251 Prospect St., NW; 202-342-6258), Cafe Milano (3251 Prospect St., NW; 202-333-6183), and of course Booeymonger (3265 Prospect St., NW; 202-333-4810), which is the best buy in town. It’s wonderful for students because you can get a very healthy meal for a very low price. They have good, hot breakfasts and great soups, sandwiches, and chili. It’s all top-quality stuff, really a remarkable place.

I love to walk down by the river. The only problem is you have to build in time for talking because you’re always going to bump into someone you know.

This article first appeared in the March 2011 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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Staff Writer

Michael J. Gaynor has written about fake Navy SEALs, a town without cell phones, his Russian spy landlord, and many more weird and fascinating stories for the Washingtonian. He lives in DC, where his landlord is no longer a Russian spy.