Food

Mother’s Day 2022: Fun Foodie Things to Do Around DC

Buffet brunches, kid-friendly eats, shop-and-sip events, and more.

Colada Shop fashions special churros for Mother's Day as part of their brunch package. Photograph courtesy of Colada Shop

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8. Brunch is the classic holiday move, and we have plenty of fun suggestions within that category. Thinking outside the brunch box? Take mom to tea, try a food-centric art class, sip and shop, or make it a day trip.

Treat mom to a luxe meal

Gravitas hosts Mother’s Day brunch. Photograph by LeadingDC

Options abound for indulging mom. Gravitas chef Matt Baker is putting on a family-friendly brunch ($80 per person) at his Michelin-starred Ivy City dining room, as well as at his new downtown American spot, Michele’s ($65 per person, $25 under 12, reserve here). At Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, also downtown, the regular a la carte menu of steaks and crab claws is available, and there is gratis key lime pie for moms. Over on the Georgetown waterfront, Fiola Mare is throwing a sparkling three-course brunch ($85 per person)—indoors and on the riverfront patio—that includes bottomless bubbles and a complimentary pastry basket. Fans of Julia will love a trip to scenic L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, where classic French specialties like savory crêpes and Dover sole fill the special Mother’s Day menu ($125-143; $60 for children), offered for brunch and dinner. If mom is more into dinner than brunch, an extravagant tasting at Michelin-starred Xiquet in Glover Park is a lovely luxe option. For Mother’s Day, chef Danny Lledo is going all out with prized Denia red prawns, A5 Kagoshima wagyu, and a special tasting menu ($325 per person, plus a $225 optional wine pairing with a special toast).

By the White House, restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s flagship Indian restaurant Bombay Club is bringing back its elegant Champagne brunch, complete with live piano music. The three-course menu is $45 per person, and $70 with free-flowing bubbles. Meanwhile, neighboring French sister restaurant La Bise is serivng a three-course brunch for $65. Over in Penn Quarter, Jose Andres’s Peruvian restaurant China Chilcano is offering a five-item brunch with plenty of choices per course ($60 per person), and fun drink specials like a rum-fueled Funky Flamingo with fresh strawberries. 

Hummingbird in Alexandria. Photograph by Daniel Swartz

Go a la carte—food critic-mom tested, kid approved

A steakhouse may not be your first thought, but Washingtonian food critic Ann Limpert is a fan of brunch with the family at St. Anselm at Union Market. Her argument for the Americana tavern: there are “biscuits, ice cream cake, and booths in which to trap them!” Also on her hit list: Unconventional Diner in Shaw, which boasts nostalgic treats for adults and a kid’s menu (plus outdoor seating), and Alexandria waterfront barge-restaurant Barca Pier & Wine Bar, which boasts plenty of space to roam by the river. The same is true for Old Town indoor/outdoor spot Hummingbird,  in a boutique hotel, and St. Vincent wine garden in Park View (kid and dog-friendly, though strollers have to park outside the gravel yard). Another fam favorite: José Andrés’s Spanish Diner in Bethesda, which opens at 9 AM with indoor and outdoor dining, and Mother’s Day specials like Spanish-style French toast served with cinnamon sugar and honey ($8). And Convivial in Shaw is her pick for the best quiche in the city, plus great burgers and cinnamon buns.  

Buttery biscuits from St. Anselm. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Bring on the buffet

If it’s not a celebration without a station, take mom to presidentially themed restaurants Lincoln Restaurant or Teddy & the Bully Bar. Both downtown DC spots are serving multi-course menus ($65 per person; $25 kids 12 and under) that include unlimited plates from a waffle and omelet bar. Added perk: 10 percent of all Mother’s Day revenue from both restaurants will go to N Street Village, which serves homeless women in DC. Families also flock to Farmers Fishers Bakers on the Georgetown waterfront and Farmers & Distillers in downtown DC for their vast buffet brunches ($30 for adults; $15 under 12; free under six). The Farmers Restaurant Group is also offering special take-home Mother’s Day menus as well.

Shop, paint, sip

If mom is more into an experience than a meal, try one of these events or classes.

Leading up to the holiday on Monday, May 2, Cork Wine Bar & Market is hosting an outdoor sip-and-shop event at 6 PM with wines, cocktails, and snacks from women chefs, plus retail products from women-owned businesses (tickets are $75). Shoppers can also head to Georgetown boutique Kendra Scott on Friday, May 6 at 4 PM for a collaborative happy hour between the jewelry maker and Spanish restaurant Boqueria, which will provide bubbles and bites. Then on Monday, May 9, Palette 22 in Shirlington hosts a Mother’s Day Art & Sip event that includes a two-hour, artist-led painting class, a glass of wine, and two appetizers ($57).

Then, on Mother’s Day itself: Kingbird at the Watergate Hotel is combining a special brunch with a “swinging ’60s”-themed high-tea ($140). Over in Ivy City,  Throw Social is calling all moms and queens for its Mother’s Day drag brunch. Tickets starting at $50 include the show and buffet (mimosa packages are extra). Over at Figleaf Bar and Lounge off Thomas Circle, the restaurant is hosting a special brunch with $15 bottomless mimosas and a make-your-own bouquet bar in partnership  with Lee’s Flower Shop, the oldest Black-owned flower shop in DC. In Logan Circle, two high-profile names—French brasserie Le Diplomate and neighboring Detroit-born boutique Shinola—are teaming up for a sip-and-shop event. Any mom who peruses the leather goods, jewelry, and watches at the store from 9:30 AM to 3 PM will be gifted with gratis Le Dip bubbles (also, all moms with a restaurant reservation will be given a complimentary Shinola journal, but there’s no current availability).

Happy family spending a spring day on picnic.
Photograph by iStock

Make it a day trip 

Get out of town and visit one of these nearby wineries with plenty of space for adults to sip and kids to run. Or combine a trip to a winery with one of these Virginia wine country brunches (all worth a scenic drive). More into flowers than grapes? These gorgeous flower farms are the place to be this spring—some offer edible treats in addition to blooms, and are prime for picnicking (here are some pro-picnic tips and products). Mother’s Day also falls a month after the start of Chesapeake crab season; here are our favorite Chesapeake crab houses.

Upgrade her breakfast in bed

You could go with a continental spread of eggs and toast, sure. But you could also pick up a bunch of delicious pastries. Head to District Doughnut in Union Market for its cherry-jelly-filled and cookies-and-cream rounds, or to nearby Pluma bakery for chocolate-pistachio croissants. North Bethesda’s Sunday Morning Bakehouse also makes a great, airy doughnut, and downtown Bethesda’s Tout de Sweet turns out lovely almond croissants and passionfruit-soaked slices of brioche.

Swiss restaurant Stable offers mother’s day fondue—yes, even the pot—to go. Photograph courtesy of Stable

Get fun and fancy takeout

Skip the cooking (and dishes!) and bring mom a chef-level meal home. At Swiss restaurant Stable on H Street, Northeast, chef David Fritsche offers three over-the-top takeout packages that all include wine as well as food: a brunch option filled with homemade breads, cured meats, sweets, and tulips ($95); a grand $125 fondue spread for two (with the option of renting  equipment) that also includes appetizers and dessert; and a similar “raclette extravaganza.” Menus and ordering information is available here.

At Cuban cafe collective Colada Shop (multiple area locations), chef Mario Monte is offering a brunch package ($85 for two, or $115 for four) with mimosa makings, churros, empanadas, breakfast sandwiches, and more. There’s also a gift: a complementary one-hour styling session with a Bloomingdale’s stylist and a $25 gift card. The package can be pre-ordered via Tock.

Neighborhood Provisions, which delivers in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, has a ton of options for Mother’s Day: set brunch packages, a la carte items like ready-bake biscuits and quiche, homey dinners for four, wine, flowers, and more.

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.