Watermelon Dishes (And Cocktails) Around Washington

Spend the waning days of summer consuming dishes and drinks that celebrate the season.

Try this tongue-searing watermelon dish at Kapnos. Photograph by Greg Powers.

If you missed National Watermelon Day—which was August 3—don’t worry. Local restaurants that ran weekend specials have opted to extend dishes and cocktails through Friday, August 9. In addition to those, there are a bunch of places running seasonal specials. Read on for the full list. Oh and word to the wise, Alexandria: We have it on good authority that Vermilion is expecting a shipment of watermelons on Wednesday, so look out for a special $12 watermelon-and-cucumber salad with toasted peanuts, coriander, and mint from chef William Morris starting then.

Specials through Friday, August 9


Head to the bar in the Loews Madison Hotel for watermelon gazpacho with pickled berries and micro basil ($9), a seared-watermelon salad with arugula tossed in a cracked-pepper-and-citrus vinaigrette and topped with shaved Manchego ($12), and/or the Dealer’s Choice cocktail: tequila-infused watermelon, vanilla sugar, Key lime, and Cointreau ($11).


Here are some things Abraham Lincoln likely never ate: lobster-and-watermelon beignets with gazpacho vinaigrette ($14), roasted salmon with watermelon tabbouleh and caper yogurt ($13), and corn-and-jalapeño pound cake with lime granita, watermelon consommé, and candied basil rind. ($8). All are on offer at the downtown restaurant honoring our 16th president.


Todd English’s new Metro Center Mexican restaurant will offer a jicama salad ($9) with grilled watermelon, avocado, grapefruit, and arugula plus an orange-and-red-chile vinaigrette. There’s also a tuna-and-crab ceviche ($14) with watermelon, coconut, habanero, and lemongrass. To drink: Damon’s Watermelon Punch—tequila, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, hibiscus syrup, and muddled watermelon—for $12.

Teddy & the Bully Bar

Alan Popovsky’s second presidential eatery has a lamb chop with watermelon hash and minted pistou ($15); barbecue watermelon with red Indian corn, radish, and duck confit ($14); and a cocktail called Hot & Cold: seared watermelon feta ice cubes, olives, mint, and lemon ($8).

Seasonal specials

Blue Duck Tavern

Chef Sebastien Archambault is mixing watermelon into a salad with shaved pork loin, pickled rind, aleppo pepper, and palm-sugar vinaigrette. It’s $9.

Hank’s on the Hill

On bartender Gina Chersevani’s current cocktail menu you’ll find the Juicy Fruit ($12), with gin, watermelon soda, basil, and a pinch of fleur de sel.

Jackson 20 
Bartender Dea Feddaoui has debuted a new nonalcoholic on-tap mixer with watermelon water, fresh lime, and orgeat. He adds orange liqueur and Absolut Citron before serving ($11). It’s available booze-free, as well.


Mike Isabella’s new Greek spot has found plenty of early fans in the Spicy Watermelon ($8)—squares of fruit dressed with Urfa peppers and slivers of rind along with a fennel granita.

Masa 14

This fusion small-plates spot on 14th Street, Northwest, celebrates summer with a watermelon-and-crab gazpacho ($6) topped with cucumber, red onion, and olive oil.


Look out for the Ensalada de Sandia ($9)—with shredded cotija cheese, mint, cilantro, and pickled jalapeños at José Andrés’s Mexican spot in Penn Quarter. The salad is dressed with hoja santa oil and lime zest.


At her Airstream trailer bar out front of Union Market, Gina Chersevani is offering a frozen watermelon margarita ($8) to help cool down the cornhole competitors who camp out there on weekends. Also excellent: the piña colada.


Head to this Falls Church spot for a cocktail of compressed watermelon, cantaloupe, and vanilla-infused vodka syrup topped with fresh lemon thyme and lemon basil from the on-site garden. It’s $8 and available at lunch and dinner with or without the vodka.