Weekend Picks: Great Eats Under $10

Calleine Harms is serving as the Program Advisor for the Public Policy track of the 2010 Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems. Her blog entry is the fifth in a series of “Weekend Picks” for TFAS interns spending their summer in DC.

Every unpaid summer intern in Washington, DC has the same hope – to have a memorable summer that includes being able to grab a bite to eat with friends, all without breaking the bank!

Luckily, DC has some pretty great options for places to snag some grub for under $10. While the sporadic splurge is acceptable, I remember during my own summer with TFAS two years ago, that I certainly enjoyed a bargain when I came across one. Believe me, I love to eat, and cheap locations are right up my alley.

So, from Georgetown to Dupont and just beyond, here is my personal recommendation list for some great and yet cheap eateries:

Mr. Smith’s of Georgetown
3104 M Street NW
(202) 333-3104
http://mrsmiths.com
For 40 years, Mr. Smith’s has been serving the Georgetown community. This popular location not only serves homemade affordable food, but has a casual atmosphere, the largest outside garden seating in the District and great specials everyday. Sundays provide discounts to students: half price appetizers with a Georgetown ID. This is my favorite place to eat in DC and I have already made multiple trips this summer. Do not pass it up!

Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U Street, NW
(202) 667-0909
http://www.benschilibowl.com
Established in 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl has had an interesting history and has been visited by people such as Bill Cosby, President Sarkozy of France and President Obama. This award winning restaurant has something special about it: loyal customers who enjoy the food and keep the restaurant running, and also spread the word, making this eatery well known. Plus, it’s so cheap and good – Ben’s is a can’t miss.

Five Guys
1335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
(202) 337-0400
http://www.fiveguys.com
So good and conveniently located to Georgetown’s campus, it is hard to pass up Five Guys. Five Guys has been rated by ZAGAT each year since 2001 and has been Washingtonian Magazine’s “Readers’ Choice” #1 Burger every year since 1999. Needless to say, this burger joint is just too tasty and too reasonably priced to not warrant a visit at least once during your stay just up the street.

Potbelly
1635 Connecticut Avenue, NW
(202) 265-8890‎
http://www.potbelly.com
I love sandwich shops and though Potbelly is certainly a chain, it is too tasty and too cheap to pass up on this list. For 19 years, beginning in 1977, Potbelly was a one store location. It has become so popular that Potbelly no longer only serves the Chicago area, so thankfully, we in DC get to enjoy its great menu! This is one of those places that I will miss when I leave DC and trudge back to Missouri, where unfortunately, we are not lucky enough to have the chain. I recommend not only the great sandwiches (especially the turkey with Swiss!), but also the great salads, shakes and freshly baked cookies. Lunch anyone?

Wingos
3207 O Street, NW
(202) 338-2478
http://www.wingos.com
It was in 1983 when two college roommates had the desire to create the best wings around and thus, Wingos was created. Today, not only does Wingos serve well… wings, but it also has an array of menu items ranging from breakfast sandwiches to salads and sandwich options. With everything on the menu being priced under $10 (except the mass buckets of wings and the vast amounts of chicken wings some may order, of course!), this is an ideally located cheap eatery that I highly recommend all TFAS students try at least once during their summer stay in Georgetown.

BGR the Burger Joint – Dupont Circle
1514 Connecticut Avenue, NW
202-299-1071
http://www.bgrtheburgerjoint.com
This may sound a bit crazy, but if I was told that I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, I would choose burgers. For example, my 4th of July would have been quite incomplete had I not had at least one, and I had two… at two different locations. So needless to say, the Burger Joint is a top pick for me. I am more of the “classic burger” type, but BGR offers a wide variety of burger options such as The Cuban, The Greek, Ahi Tuna and of course, Veggie Burger. With thin sweet potato fries or onion rings on the side, BGR should definitely be considered for a lunch stop if working anywhere around the Dupont Circle area.

Surfside
2444 Wisconsin Ave., NW
202-337-0004
http://www.surfsidedc.com/www
If you are anything like me, then you love great Mexican food. Back home, I have identified my favorite locations for what I would consider great Mexican food, but have found DC to be more difficult on that front. However, Surfside hits home for me. Unfortunately, it is a little bit of a hike up Wisconsin Avenue, but I still had to include it because this restaurant provides a great Cali-Mex atmosphere alongside the overstuffed and overflowing food options. Needless to say, I am a big fan and definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who loves Mexican food on a budget, especially guacamole!

Manny and Olga’s Pizza
1641 Wisconsin Ave., NW
202-337-1000
http://www.mannyandolgas.com
Pizza lovers, here is a great option for you. Manny and Olga’s offers a variety of pizzas with a huge array of toppings to choose from – it is possible that you may never order the same pizza twice! Like calzones better that pizza? Not a problem because Manny and Olga’s offers calzones too. With a great location and versatile menu, everyone should make a pit stop at this establishment at least once.

Wisey’s
1440 Wisconsin Ave., NW
(between O St & P St)
(202) 333-4122
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/7/766912/restaurant/DC/Georgetown/Wiseys-Washington
Salads and smoothies and paninis, oh my! This Georgetown location is sure to provide a quick fix for that Wisconsin stroll, whether it be for breakfast in the morning, a light lunch or a hot mid-afternoon cool off.

Zorba’s Café
1612 20th St., NW
202-387-8555
http://www.zorbascafe.com
If you enjoy Greek food and an array of vegetarian options, Zorba’s is your place. Offering dishes with the freshest ingredients for hummus, tabouli, falafel and gyros, it is hard to pass up this eatery with an outside patio area! It is no wonder Zorba’s has been around for 26 years and is still going strong.

Thomas Sweet
3214 P St., NW
(between N 32nd St & N Wisconsin Ave.)
(202) 337-0616
http://thomassweet.com/  
Do you have a sweet tooth? I know I do! Thomas Sweet was one of the first places I discovered when I arrived in DC two summers ago. There was no way I could pass up the fresh made ice cream and chocolate options. However, it is not only ice cream and chocolate… fro-yo lovers get excited because this is also served! Needless to say, if you ever crave sweets, you should check out this Georgetown location.

3 thoughts on “Weekend Picks: Great Eats Under $10

  1. You should also check out:

    Good Stuff Eatery
    303 Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast
    Washington, DC 20003
    (202) 543-8222
    This little burger joint is owned by Top Chef, Spike Mendelsohn. They have great service and fabulous shakes!

    La Tasca Spanish Restaurant
    2900 Wilson Blvd
    Arlington, Virginia 22201
    (202) 347-9190
    This is a great tapas restaurant that has a great happy hour and also is a good place to go with friends since plate sharing is encouraged with this type of food.

    Enjoy!

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