4 Delicious DC Ghost Kitchens That Are Here to Stay

Cheesesteaks, breakfast sandwiches, and crunchy tacos aren't ghosting.

A smash burger at Ghostburger in Shaw. Photograph by Leah Judson.

Plenty of pandemic-born ghost kitchens have vanished—but some of the best are sticking around. Here are four standouts.

Shababi. Photograph by Farrah Skeiky.


Ex–Maydan chef Marcelle Afram pays homage to their Palestinian roots with this West Bank–inspired chicken takeout that operated in Alexandria for nine months. Now Afram is planning an October pop-up in DC as well as an all-day Shababi restaurant that will serve their signature sumac-spiced rotisserie chicken—a riff on musakhan, the national dish of Palestine. Check @shababichicken on Instagram for updated locations.

Crinkle cut fries and cheesesteaks. Photograph courtesy of Ghostburger.


The Espita team’s smash-burger-and-cheesesteak side venture helped get the Shaw Mexican restaurant through the pandemic. Not only is the menu staying put, but the group is also scouting brick-and-mortar locations around DC. 1250 Ninth St., NW.

Crispy beef tacos at Gonzo. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.

Gonzo Eats

Former Pineapple & Pearls chef and LA native Nicholas Olivas will continue his Cal-Mex “residency” at the Dupont cocktail bar Astoria. Head over on weekends for braised beef or Baja-shrimp-filled crunchy tacos, tres leches cake, and mezcal-spiked micheladas—now available to stay or go. 1521 17th St., NW.

Gooey breakfast sandwiches from I Egg You. Photo courtesy of I Egg You.

I Egg You

The Capitol Hill location of Chiko’s gooey, weekend-only breakfast sandwiches on milk bread are a cult hit. They’re stuffed with such fillings as brown-buttery egg and sausage, and you can round them out with frozen Irish coffee and loaded potatoes. 423 Eighth St., SE.

This article appears in the October 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

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.