It is essential for any intern living in a group house with a crowded kitchen and minimal income to know where to find inexpensive food. Luckily, there is a smorgasbord of choices when it comes to eating on the cheap in D.C.
[IMGCAP(1)]Monday nights bring half-priced pizza to Capitol Lounge (231 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). Large cheese, pepperoni or veggie pizzas are all reduced to go perfectly with a bottle of beer. On Tuesdays, the bar offers 25-cent wings. This deal draws a crowd, so be sure to get there early. If you’re willing to up the ante and spend a whole $1, swing by on Wednesdays for Fiesta Night when soft tacos go for $1 and quesadillas will only set you back $4.
Over at Wok and Roll (604 H St. NW) in Chinatown you can get a cheap meal and a history lesson. Not only is the restaurant a haven of fried rice and avocado rolls, but it is also housed in the Surratt House where John Wilkes Booth and others conspired to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.
At happy hour, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, Wok and Roll offers $1 pieces of sushi along with $2 beers. Even outside of happy hour, the menu is budget-friendly. Lo mein starts at $8.50, and a variety of noodle soups are available starting at $6.95.
Vapiano, the cafeteria-style Italian restaurant with locations downtown (1800 M St. NW) and in Chinatown (623 H St. NW), offers low-cost food in a decidedly hip environment. The restaurant is operated like a cafeteria, with patrons standing in line at a counter to order. While it may take a few minutes to order your food, Vapiano is well worth the wait. Pizzas featuring fresh ingredients start at $7.95, while big bowls of tasty pasta top out at $10.95.
In fact, no dish on the menu exceeds $11. Vapiano is also extremely convenient for groups. Customers are given a plastic card on entering that serves as their bill, taking the pain out of breaking up a check among friends.
California Tortilla (728 Seventh St. NW and various other locations) is a great spot for cheap burritos that cost less than $10. The Chinatown location also offers the “Burrito, Soda and Movie Deal.— For a mere $12.99, patrons get a burrito, a soft drink and a voucher for a movie ticket at the Regal Cinema across the street. This deal is valid after 4 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.
Burgers abound in D.C. While they may not be the healthiest dining option, they can be extremely cost-efficient. Good Stuff Eatery (303 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) offers more than 10 different burgers, priced from $5.49 to $7.69 and topped with everything from avocado to chili to pickled daikon. Turkey burgers are available for the health-conscious and mushroom burgers for vegetarians.
Some of the more creative offerings include Spike’s 5 Napkin, the chef’s eponymous burger, and Colletti’s Smokehouse burger, named for general manager Mike Colletti. The burgers are so tasty that Michelle Obama recently visited the Capitol Hill hot spot to indulge.
While the first lady may have chosen Good Stuff Eatery for lunch, President Barack Obama chose Five Guys Burger and Fries. This burger joint has locations all over town and features a simple menu. Serving only burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese and fries, this restaurant is perfect for curing a hangover. A “little burger— — which consists of one patty instead of the usual two — costs a mere $3.40, while a hot dog is only $3.29.
The Billy Goat Tavern (500 New Jersey Ave. NW) beats the competition when it comes to pricing. This tiny bar and burger joint offers a cheeseburger for a mere $3.25. Not only does the Goat offer cheap grub, but it also offers ample outdoor seating, making it the perfect spot to get some fresh air after a long day at the office.