Best of Washington 2021: Seven New Lunch Spots

Going back to the office but not looking forward to a sad desk lunch? Check out these new places.

Chiko is taking part in Bethesda's Restaurant Week, winding down this weekend. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Bubbie’s Plant Burgers

This plant-based, certified-kosher joint offers decadent beet burgers topped with onion rings and tofu-seitan “bacon” alongside crispy faux-chicken sandwiches you could confuse for the real deal. 1829 M St., NW; 202-758-2894.


Queen Mother’s

Industry vet and podcast host Rock Harper specializes in fried-chicken sandwiches—including spicy mumbo-sauce and honey-butter versions—with brined breasts crisped in duck fat and canola. 918 S. Lincoln St., Suite 2, Arlington; 703-997-8474.


The Freshman

Grab a quick salad and “fancy toast” or dig into heartier plates such as a roasted half chicken at this all-day cafe in National Landing. 2011 Crystal Dr., Arlington; 571-257-7250.

Photograph by Scott Suchman


The Chinese Korean fast-casual sensation has a new location in Bethesda, with another coming soon to Shirlington, for your bulgogi-hoagie and cumin-lamb-noodle fix. Dupont Circle, 202-331-3040; Capitol Hill, 202-558-9934; Bethesda, 301-968-0053.


Your Only Friend

Columbia Room beverage manager Paul Taylor makes not only some of the city’s best cocktails but also a standout Italian-style mortadella-mozzarella sub and cauliflower bánh mì at this pop-up sandwich shop. 124 Blagden Alley, NW; 202-316-9396.


Taqueria Las Gemelas

The new La Cosecha market­place spot from the team behind Espita Mezcaleria serves all-day tacos (plus quesadillas and tlayudas) on housemade heirloom-corn tortillas. 1280 Fourth St., NE; 202-866-0550.



Fine-dining chef Elias Taddesse infuses his Ethiopian heritage into such casual fare as a doro wat–inspired fried-chicken sandwich and berbere French fries. 449 K St., NW; 202-289-5471.

This article appears in the September 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

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.