Food

Summer Restaurant Week Is Still Happening in DC—and You Can Get Meals to Go

The two-week promotion expands with carryout deals and cocktails, plus family-style specials.

The steak salad at Randy's. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The world might be turned upside down, but one thing is for certain: You can still get a $35 (or this year, there’s the option of a $55 dinner) at a cool restaurant. The DC area’s annual Summer Restaurant Week promotion, organized by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, is back—but things look different in the pandemic.

To start, the promo will officially run for two weeks instead of one, between August 17 and 30. And you can now get your meals in carryout form for either solo or family-style dining, with the option of cocktails and wine. The sharable meals cost $60 to $100 for two people and $130 to $210 for four people. Restaurants will offer curbside pickup. Lunch and brunch menus are $22 a person.

It might feel weird to jump on a discount when restaurants are hurting so badly, but it’s worth remembering how Restaurant Week started as way to lure customers into seats during typically slow months in August and February. It also helped places drum up business during difficult times, whether the 2019 government shutdown, the 9/11 attacks, or the 2008 recession. This pandemic, though, is different—by far the biggest, longest running hardship the industry has ever faced.

The participating restaurants skew more casual than fancy this time around. This might be the time to check out a newer spot like Penn Quarter Spanish/Japanese spot Cranes, Georgetown’s Brasserie Liberte, or Tysons steakhouse Randy’s. Or to hit old favorites like Osteria Morini, La Piquette, Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly, and the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse.

Alexandria will also hold its own Restaurant Week from August 21 through August 30. It’s going all-in on takeout, offering $49 dinners-for-two for delivery, curbside pickup, or regular carryout. Among the offerings: a double set of lobster rolls, fries, and a bottle of Chardonnay from Old Town’s Haute Dogs & Fries; a Creole and Cajun-style three-courser from RT’s; a whole roast chicken with baguette from Brabo; a fried chicken and waffle dinner from Hen Quarter; and a dumpling and mixian noodle feast from Yunnan by Potomac.  

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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 Logan Circle.