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9 D.C. Area Restaurants Supporting Their Neighborhoods Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

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It’s no secret that the food industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. As restaurants have pivoted their business models to survive, they’ve also had to figure out how to keep serving the needs of their employees — and their neighborhoods.

When faced with the choice of financially staying afloat or doing well by their neighbors, a number of restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area have risen to meet the challenge by doing both. (Just scroll through their Facebook pages to get a quick taste of how they’re making a difference.) Below, see how some of the D.C. region’s most beloved restaurants are working creatively during the crisis: by helping spotlight hard-to-find cuisines, feeding frontline workers, supporting their local economies, and so much more. When we support small business, we support our communities — so if you’re inspired to offer help, or need help yourself, find more resources at Facebook’s Small Business support hub.

Be sure to check these bars and restaurants before you go, as they continue to adapt to changing regulations as they reopen. A number of D.C. area restaurants have resumed dine-in service; however, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit coronavirus.dc.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. SUCCOTASH

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915 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 849-6933
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This is James Beard award-winning chef Edward Lee’s ode to southern food, mixed with flavors of his Korean roots. But beyond his restaurant, Lee’s working hard to pivot his energies into relief efforts: His nonprofit, The LEE Initiative, has been helping service-industry workers during the COVID-19 crisis by turning restaurants across the country into relief centers. Employees who are laid off, or who’ve had their hours cut, can pick up bagged meals and supplies each night until they can get back on their feet. “As the pandemic hit, I knew that we could do these things as long as my staff was into it and they bought into it and we were all a team,” Lee told us. “We could do it because that’s what restaurant people do.”

2. Rose Ave Bakery

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1110 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

“Delicious” and “fun” are big themes at this spot. Owner Rose Nguyen, a former nurse turned self-taught pastry chef, creates sweet treats that combine American classics with traditional Asian flavors, like her crowd-favorite Strawberry Lychee Rose Donut. In addition to serving up delectable, unique desserts during the pandemic, her shop also has donated meals to SOME, a nonprofit that serves people experiencing homelessness, organized deliveries to Children’s National Hospital, and volunteered at World Central Kitchen. 

3. Foodhini

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2212 Rhode Island Ave NE
Washington, DC 20018
(202) 734-3855
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The idea for this food delivery service was born when Noobstaa Vang moved to D.C. and missed his mom’s Hmong cooking. Remembering how hard she worked at low-wage jobs so he could have a better life, he decided to honor her story by starting a delivery and catering business to share authentic, multicultural food while providing economic opportunities for refugee and immigrant chefs of all backgrounds. During the pandemic, he pivoted by adding the “Foodhini Marketplace,” a one-stop shop where customers can order foods that support local immigrant producers who otherwise wouldn’t have a platform. 

4. &pizza - U Street

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1250 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Known for its gigantic oval-shaped pizzas, this fast-casual joint is now offering the “Hero Pie,” which lets people buy a pie for frontline hospital employees. That’s not all, though. The restaurant expanded its employee benefits in the middle of the pandemic to ensure team members would be taken care of: Think extended sick leave and higher wages. The business also encourages its workers to get involved with activism, and gives them time off to vote. 

5. Thip Khao Restaurant

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3462 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 387-5426
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If food could tell stories, then everything on this menu would tell you about Laos — from Ping Kaw Muu (grilled pork neck with lemongrass, ginger, padeak, and spicy toasted rice sauce) to mouth-watering Tam Som (more commonly known as green papaya salad). Here, chefs Seng Luangrath and Bobby Pradachith channel their childhoods to bring Lao flavor to D.C., family-style. More recently, they’ve also committed to social justice movements by sending monthly donations to the D.C. chapter of Black Lives Matter and Campaign Zero, a nonprofit working to end police brutality. 

6. Roaming Rooster

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3176 Bladensburg Rd NE
Washington, DC 20018
(202) 507-8734
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This food truck-turned-restaurant went viral last summer when a local artist sent out a tweet encouraging locals to try its cuisine. Among customer favorites, the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich is no joke, with its mind-blowing mix of spices and chilis, topped with house-made slaw. During the pandemic, the Roaming Rooster crew has been using its trucks to feed hospital workers. And in addition to balancing the daily business and serving essential workers, the team is gearing up to open another location at Foggy Bottom’s Western Market food hall this fall. 

7. Thamee

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1320 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 750-6529
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D.C.’s only Burmese restaurant — and the mother-daughter duo behind it — aren’t just here to elevate traditional Burmese street food. Co-owners Jocelyn Law-Yone, Simone Jacobson, and Eric Wang are using their platform to empower other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) entrepreneurs. In addition to carryout, the restaurant has rolled out make-at-home meal kits that take less than 30 minutes to cook, Black Farm Bags (which feature produce grown by local Black farmers), and most recently, a BIPOC Pantry featuring goods from makers who promote equality. 

8. Peruvian Brothers

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1280 4th St NE #18
Washington, DC 20002
(703) 625-6473
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Brothers Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone started their food truck because they missed their hometown of La Punta, Peru. Although they’ve gained recognition for a number of dishes, their personal favorite is the Pan con Chicharrón sandwich, which offers a hearty serving of pork loin boiled in a Peruvian broth, then lightly fried and served on a bed of sweet potato slices and topped with Peruvian Salsa Criolla. As they continue to run their trucks and Fourth Street NE location, they’ve also managed to deliver more than 10,000 meals to frontline hospital workers.

9. The Kitchen Jerk

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703 Edgewood St NE
Washington, DC 20017
(202) 276-6588
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Samantha Lebbie-Adderley and China Adderley, the married couple behind this brand, are focused on empowering Black-owned businesses and making soul food accessible to all. You can enjoy their Caribbean-inspired soul recipes at The Kitchen Jerk, where Lebbie-Adderley brings her parents’ traditional flavors from Sierra Leone, and Adderley infuses her family’s traditions from the Bahamas. Fortunately, whereas many restaurants have struggled to change their business models during the pandemic, this restaurant — located inside the Mess Hall culinary incubator — didn’t have to pivot much since they were already carryout-only.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. SUCCOTASH

915 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004

This is James Beard award-winning chef Edward Lee’s ode to southern food, mixed with flavors of his Korean roots. But beyond his restaurant, Lee’s working hard to pivot his energies into relief efforts: His nonprofit, The LEE Initiative, has been helping service-industry workers during the COVID-19 crisis by turning restaurants across the country into relief centers. Employees who are laid off, or who’ve had their hours cut, can pick up bagged meals and supplies each night until they can get back on their feet. “As the pandemic hit, I knew that we could do these things as long as my staff was into it and they bought into it and we were all a team,” Lee told us. “We could do it because that’s what restaurant people do.”

915 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004

2. Rose Ave Bakery

1110 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005

“Delicious” and “fun” are big themes at this spot. Owner Rose Nguyen, a former nurse turned self-taught pastry chef, creates sweet treats that combine American classics with traditional Asian flavors, like her crowd-favorite Strawberry Lychee Rose Donut. In addition to serving up delectable, unique desserts during the pandemic, her shop also has donated meals to SOME, a nonprofit that serves people experiencing homelessness, organized deliveries to Children’s National Hospital, and volunteered at World Central Kitchen. 

1110 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

3. Foodhini

2212 Rhode Island Ave NE, Washington, DC 20018

The idea for this food delivery service was born when Noobstaa Vang moved to D.C. and missed his mom’s Hmong cooking. Remembering how hard she worked at low-wage jobs so he could have a better life, he decided to honor her story by starting a delivery and catering business to share authentic, multicultural food while providing economic opportunities for refugee and immigrant chefs of all backgrounds. During the pandemic, he pivoted by adding the “Foodhini Marketplace,” a one-stop shop where customers can order foods that support local immigrant producers who otherwise wouldn’t have a platform. 

2212 Rhode Island Ave NE
Washington, DC 20018

4. &pizza - U Street

1250 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Known for its gigantic oval-shaped pizzas, this fast-casual joint is now offering the “Hero Pie,” which lets people buy a pie for frontline hospital employees. That’s not all, though. The restaurant expanded its employee benefits in the middle of the pandemic to ensure team members would be taken care of: Think extended sick leave and higher wages. The business also encourages its workers to get involved with activism, and gives them time off to vote. 

1250 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009

5. Thip Khao Restaurant

3462 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010

If food could tell stories, then everything on this menu would tell you about Laos — from Ping Kaw Muu (grilled pork neck with lemongrass, ginger, padeak, and spicy toasted rice sauce) to mouth-watering Tam Som (more commonly known as green papaya salad). Here, chefs Seng Luangrath and Bobby Pradachith channel their childhoods to bring Lao flavor to D.C., family-style. More recently, they’ve also committed to social justice movements by sending monthly donations to the D.C. chapter of Black Lives Matter and Campaign Zero, a nonprofit working to end police brutality. 

3462 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

6. Roaming Rooster

3176 Bladensburg Rd NE, Washington, DC 20018

This food truck-turned-restaurant went viral last summer when a local artist sent out a tweet encouraging locals to try its cuisine. Among customer favorites, the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich is no joke, with its mind-blowing mix of spices and chilis, topped with house-made slaw. During the pandemic, the Roaming Rooster crew has been using its trucks to feed hospital workers. And in addition to balancing the daily business and serving essential workers, the team is gearing up to open another location at Foggy Bottom’s Western Market food hall this fall. 

3176 Bladensburg Rd NE
Washington, DC 20018

7. Thamee

1320 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

D.C.’s only Burmese restaurant — and the mother-daughter duo behind it — aren’t just here to elevate traditional Burmese street food. Co-owners Jocelyn Law-Yone, Simone Jacobson, and Eric Wang are using their platform to empower other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) entrepreneurs. In addition to carryout, the restaurant has rolled out make-at-home meal kits that take less than 30 minutes to cook, Black Farm Bags (which feature produce grown by local Black farmers), and most recently, a BIPOC Pantry featuring goods from makers who promote equality. 

1320 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

8. Peruvian Brothers

1280 4th St NE #18, Washington, DC 20002

Brothers Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone started their food truck because they missed their hometown of La Punta, Peru. Although they’ve gained recognition for a number of dishes, their personal favorite is the Pan con Chicharrón sandwich, which offers a hearty serving of pork loin boiled in a Peruvian broth, then lightly fried and served on a bed of sweet potato slices and topped with Peruvian Salsa Criolla. As they continue to run their trucks and Fourth Street NE location, they’ve also managed to deliver more than 10,000 meals to frontline hospital workers.

1280 4th St NE #18
Washington, DC 20002

9. The Kitchen Jerk

703 Edgewood St NE, Washington, DC 20017

Samantha Lebbie-Adderley and China Adderley, the married couple behind this brand, are focused on empowering Black-owned businesses and making soul food accessible to all. You can enjoy their Caribbean-inspired soul recipes at The Kitchen Jerk, where Lebbie-Adderley brings her parents’ traditional flavors from Sierra Leone, and Adderley infuses her family’s traditions from the Bahamas. Fortunately, whereas many restaurants have struggled to change their business models during the pandemic, this restaurant — located inside the Mess Hall culinary incubator — didn’t have to pivot much since they were already carryout-only.

703 Edgewood St NE
Washington, DC 20017

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