The Best New Burger and Sandwich Spots in DC

Wood-fired bagels at Call Your Mother.
Eat Great Cheap 2019

About Eat Great Cheap 2019

This article is a part of Washingtonian’s Eat Great Cheap feature, our annual list of where to eat (and not break the bank) right now. Our food editors put together the best new restaurants around DC where you can find Detroit-style pizza, Japanese egg-salad sandwiches, chicken-nugget-filled tacos, and more—for $25 or less per person.

Brew Belly

18065 Georgia Ave., Olney

This cavernous market/bar offers an eclectic selection of under-the-radar Maryland brews on tap (go for the Chuck Brown ale from Odenton’s Crooked Crab Brewing Co.). To pair with your pints or tasting pours, a bar menu is packed with stomach-padding delights. Front and center are the cheese­steaks—eight styles, including Korean-accented and Greek. But for Philly die-hards, we haven’t found a closer “wiz wit” clone. Fighting words, we know (and yes, it’s okay to order yours with mushrooms and rosemary gravy).

Call Your Mother

3301 Georgia Ave., NW

Sorry, Rose’s Luxury and Bad Saint, but the line-of-the-year award goes to this turquoise-and-pink-painted sorta-Jewish deli, where hourlong waits on weekends are the norm. Here’s why you should go anyway: The wood-fired bagels are better than anybody else’s in town—just chewy enough but a little soft, slightly sweet, and heavily sprinkled with za’atar or “everything” spice. Order a pizza bagel or one of the excellent sandwiches—say, the smoked-salmon-laden Rihanna-Flex—and get a dozen to freeze at home. When you pop one into the toaster, you can laugh at all those fools in line.

Lucky Buns

2000 18th St., NW

We know, we know: Who doesn’t serve a snazzy burger these days? Still, chef Alex McCoy crafts our ideal—a juice-dripping, jaw-stretching burger—at his spirited Adams Morgan pub. Single or double beef patties are tricked out with cheffy ingredients like bacon XO jam and spicy ’nduja, but we’re partial to the “Alfie’s bun” with grilled pineapple, pickled beetroot, and a runny egg. It was inspired by the Australian-run burger shacks McCoy encountered in Thailand. Fabulous fried-chicken sandwiches get their own world tour. They range from Japanese katsu to Indian tandoori and are ideally enjoyed from the patio on a sunny day.

Fried chicken sandwich at Lucky Buns. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
The spicy fried-chicken sandwich at Lucky Buns.


3907 14th St., NW (inside Little Coco’s)

After rotating through kitschy seasonal pop-ups, the owners of Little Coco’s have transformed the space above their Petworth Italian restaurant into a laid-back burger bar. The menu has just four burgers—all served on buttered Lyon Bakery potato buns. Minced white onion and Dijon-mustard aïoli top the most basic patty, but our fave is the deluxe, piled with bacon, cherry peppers, and white American cheese. Thin, salty fries mimic McDonald’s, but Lucy’s beats any fast-food joint when it comes to the drink list, heavy on classic cocktails and craft brews.


2029 P St., NW

Bowls have taken over the downtown lunch scene, but rest assured you can still get a good sandwich. This unassuming Italian cafe serves a mean meatball sub with sweet tomato sauce and a cold-cut sandwich dressed with hot-cherry-pepper relish, chimichurri, and giardiniera pickles. Service isn’t limited to lunch, either. Stop by in the morning for your bagel-and-lox fix (it’s upgraded with smoked-caper schmear), during happy hour for a salad and Aperol spritz, or late night for Stachowski’s pastrami on rye.

This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.