12 Trends to Look for in the 2013 DC Dining Scene

[ 1 ] January 9, 2013 |
Fried Pickles @ Mad Fox Brewing Company

Fried Pickles @ Mad Fox Brewing Company

1.  Donuts:  Though cupcake shops and yogurt bars are not short of foot traffic in Washington, DC, there is a new kid in town who is about to take over the sweet tooth scene.  With Astro Donuts & Fried Chicken opening this month as the first of its kind, the DC area should get ready to see more restaurants pay tribute to the sugar fried dough.

2.  Fried Pickles:  These tantalizing fried appetizers are making their way around DC menus with many restaurants realizing how rare they are found in this region.  The Drafting Table made their debut last Fall, setting their menu apart with this simple, yet unique dish, which cannot be found anywhere else along the 14th street corridor.

3.  Not Your Typical International Restaurants:  So we have all seen the opening of an Italian, Asian, Ethiopian, Vietnamese and Contemporary American restaurant around these parts but what about those less talked about cuisines?  Ivan Iricanin is leading the trend of new cuisine flavors coming to this area with the opening of Ambar, which will serve Balkan and Mediterranean cuisine in honor of his Serbian roots.

4.  Online Dining:  Instead of online dating, how about the growing trend of online dining?  With sites such asGrubWithUs, which recently branched out in the District, people are finding others online with similar interest to enjoy a good meal.  Group dinners are assembled based on interest or you can choose to create your own group dinner online.

5.  Classes Where Food & Wine are Involved:  Everybody under the sun in DC is signing up for a cooking class, a painting and wine class or a night with a mixologist course.  It is the new way to socialize and the new way to spend your Friday night.  This trend grew in 2012, but I think 2013 will bring out even more interested parties.

6.  Unlimited Brunch:  Unlimited brunch is no stranger to the DC scene but it has become a staple at many local restaurants.  This trend is catching on like wildfire with newcomers such as Pulpo immediately setting up their unlimited brunch menu after freshly cracking open its doors.

7.  Honey:  Honey is buzzing around the DC dining scene in not only sweet cessations but now it has made its way to savory main courses.  This trend will spread with dishes such as FarmersFishersBakers Honey Pot Fried Chicken making you lust over the golden threads of sugar.

8.  Local:  Washingtonians are well known for their local eating habits, we love our homegrown produce.  This trend will continue to grow but indoors.  The opening of Union Market makes shopping and eating local more appealing in 30 degree temperatures and sweltering 98 degree temperatures.

9.  Ramen:  Ramen, Ramen, Ramen.  Washington is just beginning to have its fun with these noodles.  With creative talespins of pork belly, poached eggs, curry and sweet corn topping area restaurants ramen noodles, DC has just begun it’s field day with ramen.

10.  All-Inclusive Dining:  Your vegetarian friends do not have to eat the awful veggie plate that used to inundate restaurant menus.  Gluten-Free and Vegan diners are also going to see more menu options in 2013.  With restaurants catching the hint that vegetarians have the same taste buds too, without the yearning for carnivorous flavors, there will be a growing trend in broader vegetarian options.

11.  Street Food:  Fine dining is wonderful but what about that craving for something absolutely regular in your favorite upscale dining establishment?  This trend is going to grow in 2013 with more restaurants realizing adding corn on the cob and french fries to the menu isn’t such a bad thing if you add your own twist.

12.  Quinoa:  If Sweetgreen did not make you toss out the lettuce for a quinoa base in your salad, then Protein Barcertainly did in 2012.  The grainy substance is now the common base for your everyday salad adding life to a dish that can become a bore.  This trend will only continue to grow in 2013 with more restaurants taking the hint.

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Category: Announcements, Washington D.C.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Washington, DC and North Carolina. All three places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. Johnna is currently airing on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host.


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  1. BrightestYoungThings – DC – Weekly Food News Round-Up | January 16, 2013

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