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Tackling the city restaurant scene, year by year

Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Media Credit: Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Pizza Parts & Services offers pizzas made from scratch at reasonable prices.

As your time at GW passes, your tastes change as well. Here’s a year-by-year guide, from the best coffee to survive freshman year to the mixed drinks for celebrating graduation.


It’s intimidating enough to navigate GW’s campus for the first time, but traversing the District as a freshman can be much more anxiety-inducing if you don’t know where to go. Below, find two coffee shop alternatives to Gelbucks. After all, there’s no need to stick to the same cafe all year.

District Doughnut: There aren’t many combinations more delicious than coffee and doughnuts, and District Doughnut is no exception. Until its grand opening Sept. 8, District Doughnut serves up fresh doughnuts and steaming coffee Fridays from 6 p.m. until the supply runs out. Try unique renditions of the classic pastry like Cannoli or Nutella Chocolate Bacon ($2 to $3), and pair your choice with a cup of slow drip Compass Coffee, served in-store. Also, check out the company’s instagram, @dcdoughnut, for drool-worthy snapshots.

District Doughnut, 749 8th St. SE. Open Fridays at 6 p.m. until grand opening Sept. 8.

The Wydown: Skip long lines and crowded tables and get your caffeine fix at The Wydown instead. Stocked with gadgets like programmable batch brewers and even a repurposed boiler from the 1970s, this new cafe offers coffee by roasters Intelligentsia and PT’s and Kaldi’s, plus baked goods made in-house daily. Homemade watercolor art using coffee as paint covers the walls, adding to the casual atmosphere. Warning: In an effort to create a community feel, the cafe does not offer wifi.

The Wydown, 1924 4th St. NW. Open Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

La Columbe: Skip the long lines and crowded tables at Gelbucks and get your caffeine fix at La Columbe instead. Since opening their first D.C. location last spring., La Columbe has already earned a shining reputation for its array of seasonal blends and fresh pastries. The brand has years of experience serving the perfect cup, with cafe locations in Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago. Located in Blagden Alley, the cafe has ample seating and and a laid-back, no-frills feel, making it the perfect hangout spot. But visitors be warned: The cafe does not offer Wi-Fi.
La Columbe, 1219 Blagden Alley NW. Open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.


It can be tough for some to budget after the loss of dining dollars from freshman to sophomore year. Take solace in the savory, cheap options below.

Pizza Parts & Service: For well-priced pizza with ingredients made from scratch, head to Pizza Parts & Service. Choose from classic toppings like mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and spinach, or go for more eclectic options like buffalo chicken, truffle oil and bacon. Slices start at $2.75 and whole pies at $8.99, depending on toppings. With a prime location on H Street, Pizza Parts & Services is both cheap and convenient without skimping on quality. Tip: Start your meal with the garlic knots (three for $2.99).

Pizza Parts & Service, 1320 H St. NE. Open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.

TaKorean: Indulge in this food truck’s famed Korean tacos and other cheap eats at their second permanent location, which opened in Navy Yard on Aug. 14. The restaurant serves the same savory options as its mobile counterpart: Soft corn tortillas filled with barbecue pork, sweet chili chicken, spiced bulgogi or caramelized tofu, finished off with your choice of slaw. Buy tacos for $3.50 each or three for $9, or order a rice or slaw bowl for $9.

TaKorean, 1309 5th St. NE. Open Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
New location: 1212 4th St. SE.


One of the more awkward parts of junior year is navigating the restaurant scene when half of your friends are 21 or older and the rest are underage. The two joints below, though, have both indulgent dishes and craft cocktails to satisfy everyone.

Melt Shop: Bring back your childhood favorite meal at Melt Shop, a New York City-based chain known for its gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Set to open at 19th and L streets in November, Melt Shop serves cheesy sandwiches, melts, tater tots and milkshakes (including a Nutella-Fluff flavor). Until Melt Shop makes its D.C. debut, get your grilled cheese fix at Grilled Cheese D.C. (1730 Pennsylvania Ave.), which serves the classic sandwich with wines, craft beers and cocktails.

Melt Shop, 1901 L St NW. Hours TBD.
Grilled Cheese D.C., 1730 Pennsylvania Ave. Open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for happy hour, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner.

Masa 14: With a cheap yet satisfying happy hour menu, Masa 14 may just be the new Nooshi. Share exotic grub with friends at this Latin-Asian fusion tapas restaurant, and make sure to check out the rooftop seating area. From 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Masa 14 offers $4 cocktails, cervezas and wine, along with small plates like Spicy Tuna Nachos ($13) and Crispy Soy-Glazed Okra ($6). Grab late-night bites like the Pork Belly Steamed Buns ($8) and Yucca Fries ($6) until 12 a.m. on Thursdays and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, or head back on weekends for the all-you-can-eat brunch ($39) that includes unlimited cocktails. We’re curious about their Bacon Bloody Mary.

Masa 14, 1825 14th St. NW. Open for dinner Sunday through Wednesday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Friday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.


The picks below serve some of the District’s most creative drinks. Weekends never looked so good.

Mockingbird Hill: Sherry bar Mockingbird Hill brings the mixed-drink tradition to coffee with a new daytime menu unveiled in May. Alongside a rotating selection of 10 to 15 worldly roasts, the cafe-by-day, bar-by-night serves non-alcoholic “mixed coffee drinks” ($7). Try the White Colombian, a coffee version of a White Russian made with a mixture of coffee, sugar, cream and egg whites, or the Kenya Cola, which includes Kieni coffee, sugar, bitters and soda. Stick around until 5 p.m. to see the restaurant transform into a sherry bar and tapas restaurant, serving dishes like warm octopus ($9) and manchego cheese with honey and cocoa-covered corn nuts ($7).

Mockingbird Hill, 1843 7th St. NW. Coffee bar open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, sherry bar open Sunday through Monday 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and Friday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Ezmee: Scrap the rowdy nightlife scene for a classier option at Ezme Restaurant and Wine Bar. The sophisticated Dupont restaurant, which opened in March, offers Turkish small plates and an impressive wine collection. Wine selections from across the globe line the restaurant’s walls, providing a visual menu with options sure to please every palate. Stop by during happy hour for $5 wine specials and a $5 tapas menu that includes traditional Turkish dishes like Dolma (roasted grape leaves stuffed with caramelized onions, pine nuts and rice) and Kofte (grilled lamb meatballs).

Ezme Restaurant and Wine Bar, 2016 P St. NW. Open Sunday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Happy Hour 4:30 to 6:40 p.m.

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