DC’s restaurant scene has something for everyone—including people with dietary restrictions. It’s estimated that somewhere around 15 million Americans have food allergies, and that doesn’t even include people who don’t have allergies but still need to avoid certain foods. If you don’t have an allergy, chances are you know someone who does. Looking for somewhere the whole gang can eat? Dietary restrictions are no problem at these five local spots.
Busboys and Poets
One of the most popular local chains in DC is great for people with dietary restrictions. Busboys and Poets has an extensive, well-labeled menu featuring everything from pizza to catfish. The menu specifies which dishes are gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan, so it’s easy to have some idea of what you can eat before the waiter even arrives at your table. If cross-contamination is an issue, the staff is very helpful and understanding. Busboys does breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, and all are delicious. The cocktail selection isn’t too shabby either. There’s no bad time to go! In addition to being a restaurant, each location is also a bookstore and a performance space.
#FrayLife Tip: Try the gluten-free fried chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and mushroom cream sauce. Even better, all Busboy’s fried chicken is gluten-free by default. It’s so good that gluten eaters won’t notice.
Located right in the heart of Adams Morgan, Rise is a 100% gluten-free bakery that also has dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free and soy-free options, all without compromising flavor. It’s a bakery/coffee shop, so you can get your latte fix too. Rise has a rotating menu that includes donuts, cake, cinnamon rolls, and bagels. That’s just a taste! There are whole loaves of gluten-free bread and packages of bagels you can get to go. Seating is extremely limited here (there’s only space for two tables), so we highly recommend you grab your pastry and take it for a walk.
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#FrayLife Tip: Try the cinnamon roll. Good gluten-free cinnamon rolls are crazy hard to come by, but these guys have it down!
The Little Beet
If you’re going for fast and casual, the Little Beet has got you covered. They serve healthy bowls of fresh veggies and meat (if you’re into that). Their menu labels soy-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, tree nut–free, and peanut-free options. You can choose a bowl from the menu or build your own. That means it’s easy for everyone to avoid the things they can’t have and still get an amazing meal. It’s an extremely delicious way to eat your veggies. The Little Beet has locations downtown and in Arlington, and most bowls cost between $11 and $14.
#FrayLife Tip: Try the yuzu poke bowl. Salmon poke sits on top of rice with chipotle slaw, kale, yuzu vinaigrette, and avocado. Healthy and delicious!
If you’re looking to eat vegan or vegetarian, Farewell is your place. This diner-style restaurant is great when you’re in the mood to sit and talk with your friends over some insanely good food. They’ve got all the essentials: brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks, and baked goods. Nut-free, wheat-free, and soy-free options are clearly labeled on the menu, and everything is vegan (which also means it’s safe for your dairy-free friends). If you just want a quick treat, stop by the bakery case for a dessert created by founders Doron and Jenny. Oh, did we mention they won Cupcake Wars? Yeah, they did. Twice.
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Want to participate in #MeatlessMonday, but looking for something extra hearty? Try our Seitan Platter, with southern-fried chick-pea seitan, fresh veggies and roasted potatoes. 📷: @hammondfoster . . . . #eatfarewell #vegan #whatveganseat #vegansofig #seitan #comfortfood #foodporn #gravy #potatoes #greens #vegansofinstagram #diner #hstreet #hstne #atlasdistrict #noma #captolhill #dceats #veganfood #veganfoodshare #savory
#FrayLife Tip: Try the seitan platter with southern-fried chickpea seitan, crispy roasted potatoes, and savory gravy. It’s fried chicken without the chicken. Vegan and nut-free.
Like the Little Beet, Beefsteak is all about bowls and veggies. Vegan and gluten-free options abound, and pretty much everything is vegetarian. No worries, carnivores: there’s plenty of meat you can add to your bowl, but meat isn’t the main thing here. Beefsteak is all about how delicious veggies can be. Build your own bowl, or go for something completely different, like a BEETsteak burger. It’s a hamburger made out of marinated beets topped with even more veggies and chipotle mayo on an olive oil brioche bun. The best part? Chef and local legend José Andrés is behind this chain, so you know lunch is going to be amazing. Beefsteak has locations scattered throughout DC and one in Maryland.