Pop-ups were everywhere in D.C. before the COVID-19 pandemic started, and an emergency order keeping dining rooms closed has led several restaurants to come up with a creative crop of new options. This curated guide includes everything longer-term pop-ups and one-off events.
ABC Guys Burger & Fries
The Deal: Erik Bruner-Yang’s shape-shifting all-day cafe in Navy Yard riffs on Five Guys-style burgers with takeout options from Bruner-Yang and chef Armani Johnson like a char siu bacon burger — with smoked aioli, grilled onions, jalapenoes, and cheddar cheese — or a crab dip burger with Old Bay onions and lettuce.
Where: 2 Eye Street SE
Dates: January 14 through January 16 (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
PLNT Burger Breakfast Pop-Up
The Deal: Celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn hosts a one-day breakfast sandwich pop-up at all of his health food outposts across the DMV. The debut morning sandwich is built with Beyond Meat sausages, Follow Your Heart cheese, and the plant-based egg substitute Just Egg. This New Resolutions month also calls for half-price cheeseburgers ($3.95) while supplies last and $5 off orders for first-time PLNT Burger app users.
Where: All seven PLNT Burger locations
Dates: Starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, January 14
Winter Wonderland & Après Ski Sundays
The Deal: Glover Park’s new Glover Park Grill hosts a family-friendly pop-up on its heated outdoor terrace every Sunday, complete with a snow machine, music, and games. Guests can saddle up to personal bonfire pits to roast s’mores using homemade marshmallows from chef Alex Levin and sip hot chocolate that’s spiked for adults. An “Après Ski Tower” is stacked with pigs in a blanket and mini sandwiches from chef Hamilton Johnson, along with desserts from Levin.
Where: Glover Park Grill, 2505 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Dates: Every Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. starting Sunday, January 17
Cost: Tickets start at $25. There’s also a canned food drop-off station to benefit DC Central Kitchen every week.
District Doughnuts x DC Brau
The Deal: DC Brau head brewer Rob Rodriguez and District Doughnuts pastry chef Christine Schaefer lead a Zoom tasting featuring four DC Brau beers paired with four doughnuts from District Doughnut, plus a tasting glass from the brewery. Pairings include a Citizen Belgian Pale with Sufganiyot; Coffee Penn Quarter Porter and Hot Cocoa; and the The Corruption IPA with Gingerbread.
Dates: All deliveries and pickups are scheduled for Thursday, January 28
Cost: Participants must buy tickets ($26.50) before Monday, January 25
The Deal: Bammy’s, the Caribbean grill from Maydan alums Chris Morgan and Gerald Addison, brings back its recently launched kebab pop-up in February. Whole wheat flatbread packs in lamb kebabs or falafel — with tahina, herbaceous sahawiq, salad, and pickles — and comes with sides like salata (cucumber, tomato, red onion, parsley, lemon, olive oil) and french fries with toum. Drinks include a Bomally cocktail (gin, arak, pomelo-thyme syrup, sparkling and an Almaza Pilsner.
Where: Bammy’s, 301 Water Street SE
Dates: Thursday, February 25 to Sunday, February 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guests can order at the restaurant or online via Toast.
Cost: Sandwiches start at $10 and sides start at $4; drinks are $6-$13
The Deal: Pineapple & Pearls alum Nicholas Olivas draws from his upbringing in San Gabriel Valley, California, with a new weekend residency at Dupont Circle’s Astoria. The SoCal-inspired carryout menu includes Baja shrimp tacos, pork pozole, guacamole tostadas, and a burnt cinnamon tres leches cake. Drinks include Tecates, Miceladas, and a baked apple toddy.
Where: 1521 17th Street NW
Dates: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Fridays to Sundays
Cost: Dishes are $3-$17 and cocktails are $15; order online
Little Sesame at Sugar Fox
The Deal: Fast-casual hummus and pita shop Little Sesame opens a months-long pop-up on the outskirts of D.C. centered around family-style, shawarma-spiced rotisserie chickens. Operating out of Chevy Chase ice cream shop Sugar Fox, the pop-up will also feature limited quantities of its classic hummus bowls as an off-menu item. The main attraction is a menu item Little Sesame introduced at its Chinatown shop last fall: whole- and half-portions of spit-roasted rotisserie chickens or spiced and marinated cauliflower. The poultry is raised humanely without hormones or antibiotics. Other options include a family-style veggie fattoush salad, retail portions of hummus by the pint, marinated peppers, and five-packs of pitas.
Where: 5027 Connecticut Avenue NW
Dates: Wednesday, January 6, through Sunday, March 14 for takeout and in-house delivery Wednesdays to Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: Sides ($5 each) come with family-style chicken or cauliflower meals for two to four ($20-$48), along with a choice of sauces like harissa barbecue and labneh ranch.
Spiritless Kentucky 74 at Columbia Room
The Deal: In honor of Dry January, Columbia Room hosts a month-long pop-up starring a menu from Spiritless Kentucky 74. The set includes a trio of bottled cocktails like “We’ll be Having Brunch Again Soon” and “Toast to the Old Fashioned” as well as two cocktail kits, which include a full-sized bottle of Kentucky 74 and all the fixings to make a “Whiskey” Sour or an Old Fashioned, plus access to a virtual cocktail class with bar owner Derek Brown.
Dates: Starting Wednesday, January 6
Cost: The Zoom class is free with the purchase of a kit; email Sherra@drinkcompany.com for more details. Guests can also order cocktails to-go or for delivery via Columbia Room’s website.
The Loft at Lena’s – Winter Lodge
The Deal: Del Ray’s neighborhood eatery Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap converts its second-story space into a fancy Aspen-styled perch. The 4,500-square-foot loft space that sports floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive views serves slow-cooked pork belly, lobster carbonara, affogato, and wintery drinks like mulled wine, a peppermint bark cocktail, and a honey-lemon toddy.
Where: Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, 401 E. Braddock Road, Alexandria, Va.
Dates: Starting December 16
The Deal: Shaw sausage bar HalfSmoke added a trio of virtual kitchens during the pandemic: Butter Me Up (breakfast sandwiches, coffee, tea, and cocktails); Morning After Next (brunch bites like Cinnamon Toast Crunch pancakes, seafood hash, and grilled half smoke sausages and gravy); and a new D.C. style of square pan pizza at Get Social.
Where: 651 Florida Avenue NW; available for carryout and delivery seven days a week.
Pizzeria Pop-Up at Anafre
The Deal: Prolific restaurateur and chef Alfredo Solis decided his seafood restaurant Anafre doesn’t lend itself easily to takeout-focused pandemic times, so he’s flipping the Columbia Heights spot into a Mexican-inspired pizzeria pop-up. That means pies like a Chile Relleno pizza topped with blistered jalapeño, Oaxaca cheese, and sour cream, or a pizza starring grilled chicken and mole poblano. Besides the nine pizzas, familiar menu items are still available for Anafre fans too (like the popular seafood nachos).
“I love our concept at Anafre and we had so much great momentum before the pandemic, but it just isn’t as sustainable as our other restaurant concepts,” Solis said in a press release. “In trying to see the brighter side of things, I’ve been wanting to spread my wings more and showcase some of the skills I’ve picked up along my chef journey. I’m proud to be a Mexican chef but that doesn’t mean I can only make Mexican food.”
Where: Anafre; 3704 14th Street NW
Dates: Anafre’s pizza pop-up will be open throughout the duration of the pandemic. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday from and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday to Thursday. Order takeout online and indoor and outdoor seating are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Cost: Pizzas are $10 to $14
Jinya Ramen at Mosaic District
The Deal: Jinya Ramen already has a location in Fairfax’s Mosaic District development at 2911 District Avenue, but Tysons Reporter has it that the chain adds pop-up selling Japanese-inspired desserts including doughnuts and soft-serve ice cream. The plan is to open up within the next month or so.
Where: Mosaic District, 2910 District Ave. Fairfax
Dates: The pop-up space will open up on Thursdays through Sundays.
Criollo by Carlos Delgado at Service Bar
The Deal: Service Bar owners Glendon Hartley and Chad Spangler team up with chef Carlos Delgado, a Lima native and China Chilcano alum, for a Peruvian pop-up that features lomo saltado (beef tenderloin), cebiche de pulpo (grilled octopus), and pisco sours in Shaw. The trio is gearing up to debut a Peruvian complex in Bladgen Alley next year, but this wintertime menu is more catered to guests sitting on Service Bar’s heated, covered patio. Pisco sours comes in classic, mandarin Chilcano, and punch flavors.
Where: Service Bar; 926-928 U Street NW
Dates: Starting, Friday, November 20, at 5 p.m., and running Tuesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. for dine-in and online orders for pickup and delivery.
Cost: Drinks are $11-$15 and dishes are $10 to $26
Korean Barbecue at Seoulspice
The Deal: The local Korean comfort foods chain just flipped two of its locations (NoMa and Tenleytown) into Korean barbecue pop-ups. Dry-aged beef served tableside comes with Korean banchan (sides) like kimchi, Korean radish, cucumbers, bean sprouts, kale, garlic, sushi-grade white rice and sauces (Korean hot sauce, ginger-carrot and cream). The point of the pop-up is to “explore the possibility of opening an authentic Korean barbecue restaurant in downtown DC once this pandemic is behind us,” according to a statement. Other proteins include bulgogi, chicken, spicy pork, and tofu in a kalbi marinade.
Dates: Starting Wednesday, November 11 at Seoulspice in Tenleytown (4600 Wisconsin Avenue NW) and NoMa (145 N Street NE)
Cost: $20 per person (beverages, tax and gratuity not included) includes prime marbled beef brisket served with sides. Patrons can enjoy a 25-percent discount through November, followed by a 10-percent discount in December.
Viking Village at Hook Hall
The Deal: ParkView’s huge outdoor bar and events space has swapped its tropical summer theme for a cold weather motif full of viking-themed huts, blanketed benches, fire pits, filling comfort foods, and theatrical drinking vessels for sale. The menu includes rustic beef stew, a massive macadamia nut cookie, a two-pound Bavarian hot pretzel, smoked turkey legs, assorted meats, pizzas, and more. A bottomless brunch includes Ragnar’s fried chicken and biscuits and a Scandinavian smoked salmon flatbread. Drinking options include glühwein, mulled hot cider, mead, and dark Scandinavian beer. Commemorative tankards, mugs, and drinking horns cost $24 to $42. Buying one brings a 10 percent discount on drinks.
Where: Hook Hall, 3400 Georgia Avenue NW
Dates: Starting Friday, November 6. Hours kick off at 3 p.m. Wednesday (until 10 p.m.), Thursday (until 11 p.m.) and Friday (until midnight) and starting at 11 a.m. Saturday (until midnight) and Sunday (9 p.m.).
Cost: Each weatherproof hut, available for 2.5 hour reservations at $125, includes a welcome bottle of champagne, heaters, and fixed food and drink deals. Sit in the center yard area outfitted with furry benches and personal firepits (2.5 hours with a $15 reservation).
Six-person huts come with special fixed menu options like “The Voyages of the Valkyries” ($24.99 per person).
Etta Faye’s Chicken Shack
The Deal: Clarendon newcomer Smokecraft Modern Barbecue just debuted a new to-go ghost kitchen starring the same Southern comfort foods executive sous chef William Burke cooked alongside his grandmother as a kid. Etta Faye’s Chicken Shack offers seven types of fried chicken sandwiches on buttermilk biscuits. Options swing from a fried green tomato BLT to a fried chicken sandwich with harissa hot sauce on a potato bun. There’s also salads and sides like spiced tater tots with smoked garlic sauce and mac and cheese.
Where: Smokecraft Modern Barbecue; 1051 N Highland Street, Arlington, Va. Orders will be available for delivery on UberEats and DoorDash, or order online for pickup.
Cost: A la carte, and a “chuck it bucket” for four ($24) comes with fried chicken, two sides, slaw, biscuits, and fries.
Lechoneria 111 at Blend 111
The Deal: A new weekly pop-up series at the Latin-inspired wine bar in Vienna is all about roasted pork. A three-course menu features fruta de pan (breadfruit) with escabeche and mojo aioli; a roasted pork shank with Caribbean coconut rice, black beans, and avocado salad; and a blood orange and brûléed Spanish custard for dessert. Tickets include a glass of organic red or white wine from Spain, Alhambra beer, or sparkling lemonade.
Where: Blend 111; 111 Church Street, Suite 101, Vienna, Va.
Dates: Every Thursday starting October 15
Cost: $88 for two; upgrade to a bottle of wine for $20 or carafe of sangria for $10 more
Clos Du Roy
The Deal: Shaw stalwarts Corduroy and Baby Wale combined for a new alleyway pop-up behind the pair of Shaw restaurants, complete with fire pits and a scenic mural. A “clos” is a walled-in vineyard, and the name refers to its walled-in patio, per an email to Popville. The menu swings more Corduroy (seasonal new American cuisine) for now.
Where: 1124 Ninth Street NW
Dates: Open daily until winter starts, weather permitting
Pho Joint and Toddy Bar at Duke’s Grocery
The Deal: Duke’s Grocery in Foggy Bottom debuts a cold weather pop-up centered around the beloved Vietnamese soup. Pho Joint fills bowls with protein options like brisket, eye round, meatballs, chicken, or a combo of the above. “The Duke’s family all enjoys pho regularly, so a few weeks ago we took a stab at it ourselves using a family recipe,” says managing partner Daniel Kramer, in a statement. In addition, his Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle outposts just rolled out a new lineup of hot toddies like a B.P.S.L. — a bourbon-spiked version of a pumpkin spice latte made with organic pumpkin puree, espresso, bourbon and spices, covered with a thick layer of cream — and Sailor Toddy, a potent blend of Gosling’s dark rum, Earl Grey tea and a dash of orange bitters. There’s also a cool riff on the Irish coffee built with Jameson cold brew whiskey.
Where: Duke’s Grocery (Foggy Bottom): Pho Joint & Toddy Bar; 2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW; Duke’s Grocery (Dupont Circle): Toddy Bar; 1513 17th Street NW
Dates: Pho is available for dine-in, takeout and delivery via UberEats, GrubHub and Doordash.
Cost: Pho bowls are $12-$14 and cocktails are $11-$12
RĀKO x Oyster Oyster
The Deal: Shaw’s new sustainability-centric Oyster Oyster teams up with Lorton, Virginia-based RĀKO Coffee Roasters on a daytime coffee shop running through the winter. The setup sports espresso carts dispensing caffeinated concoctions, with bagged RĀKO coffee for sale. Oyster Oyster chef and avid baker Rob Rubba plans to make cinnamon roll-styled pumpkin hickory bark rolls, seasonal breads, and rotating scones. He also collaborated with the roasters on an energizing mushroom tea made with lion’s mane mushrooms. The two brands share the same environmental ethos, and returned RĀKO coffee bags are recycled into park benches.
Where: In front of Oyster Oyster’s next-door Oyster Garage* at 1440 8th Street NW
Dates: Starting Saturday, September 26; running through February every Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
La Tejana Pop-Up at Bammy’s
The Deal: Every Tuesday, Bammy’s executive chefs Chris Morgan and Gerald Addison host an ongoing pop-up with Tex-Mex breakfast taco startup La Tejana. Guests can order for carryout or delivery via Toast.
Where: Bammy’s, 301 Water Street SE
The Deal: Chef Fabio Trabocchi’s new pop-up dinner series stars produce and meats sourced from Rappahannock County’s Chancellors Rock Farm. The three-course menu at the Michelin-rated Italian restaurant rotates frequently, depending what’s in season. Customers can choose from two savory dishes and dessert, or opt for the chef’s personally curated menu.
Where: Fiola, 678 Indiana Ave NW
Cost: $85 per person; reserve via Tock
Peregrine at the Pug
The Deal: Atlas District watering hole the Pug just took on a new identity as the newest location for Peregrine Espresso. The homegrown brand’s full coffee menu will be available on a to-go basis, including pastries from Pluma by Bluebird Bakery. To celebrate its new home, iced and hot coffee will be free on Thursday, July 9 (and retail coffee is $2 off until Sunday, July 12). Peregrine just closed its 14th Street NW location, but maintains two other locations in Eastern Market and Union Market.
Where: The Pug (1234 H Street NE); carryout or order ahead on the Joe Coffee app
Dates: Pop-up hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and will run “as long as the neighborhood wants to drink our coffee,” says Peregrine owner Ryan Jensen.
Bake Sale at Well Dunn Catering
The Deal: The vet D.C. catering company flips its Capitol Hill townhouse home — the site of countless galas and events over the past 40 years — into a weekly pop-up bakery and flower market. The decision to sell goods from its pastry kitchen stems from the fact its events business is nonexistent due to COVID-19. The team also recently added a home dinner delivery service. “As good chefs do, we’re doing our best to make lemonade out of this massive lemon of a situation,” says Well Dunn VP Dan Rose. Offerings include mini pies, buttermilk biscuits, brownies, and rosemary focaccia.
Where: 510 11th Street SE
Dates: Every Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Sweets start at $3
Officina x Via Umbria
The Deal: Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s three-level Italian complex on the Wharf teams up with Via Umbria, Georgetown’s go-to market for Italian goods. The new pop-up adds Officina’s breads, wines, and preserves to the mix, along with hot prepared foods, fresh pastas, butcher products, and specialty meats and cheeses. It’s available for takeout or delivery, or customers can book a timed shopping slot to maintain social distance.
Where: Via Umbria; 1525 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Dates: Starting Wednesday, June 10; Wednesday to Friday (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Saturday and Sunday (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
Cost: The pop-up also features nightly two-course meals for two ($70) with rotating mains like lasagna bolognese and braised beef short rib.
Pop-Up Wine Shop at Lulu’s Winegarden
The Deal: Lulu’s, the months-old replacement to Vinoteca, is back with pickup, delivery, and limited patio service full of Southwestern dishes from chef-partner Cable Smith. A new pop-up wine shop inside sells more than 45 labels repping small producers. And an on-site market slings ready-to-drink bottled cocktails and pantry staples like its barbecue aioli and everything spice, along with fridge fillers like pickled shallots.
Where: Lulu’s Winegarden; 1940 11th Street NW (contactless pick-up via GoTab or delivery via Caviar)
Alta Strada DC’s Great American Lunch Counter
The Deal: Mount Vernon Triangle’s reliable pasta place adds weekday lunch to the mix by selling to-go sandwiches and salads. Sandwiches fillings swing from brisket that’s been slow-cooked for 18 hours to a caprese option. The short lunch lineup also includes a made-to-order cheeseburger and chopped Cobb or chicken Cesar salads.
Where: Alta Strada, 465 K Street NW
Dates: Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.