Where To Eat During GAC 2017

Washington, DC, is home to more than 2,000 restaurants. Which ones are worth a visit while attending the 2017 Governmental Affairs Conference?

With a plethora of choices, the DC restaurant scene can be hard to navigate especially for those descending on our nation’s capital for the 2017 Governmental Affairs Conference.

To help hungry executives and board members eat their way through the city, CreditUnions.com is arming its readers not only with data and insight but also with some vetted restaurant recommendations.

Enjoy the GAC, and happy eating!

2017 Credit Union Impact Report

Lending, savings, community support, and more. Credit unions had a busy year, and this coming week at GAC is all about touting the benefits of credit unions. Start with these areas of impact.

The Sit-Downs

Le Diplomate

Consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in DC, Le Diplomate offers the closest you can get to a traditional French brasserie this side of the Atlantic.

Cuisine: French

Price: $$

You want the bread at Le Diplomate. Trust us. We know bread.

Travel time from convention center: 20-minute walk, six-minute ride.

Website: www.lediplomatedc.com

Pro tip: Make a reservation, though the restaurant can sometimes accommodate walk-ins, usually outside. Also, order extra cranberry walnut bread.

Old Ebbitt Grill

Located across the street from the White House, Old Ebbitt Grill is the oldest dining saloon in DC. It has a vast menu and traditional dcor. This is the quintessential DC restaurant.

Cuisine: American

Price: $$

Travel time from convention center: 17-minute walk, 10-minute ride.

Website: www.ebbitt.com

Pro tip: Take advantage of the oyster happy hour every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. And, if Old Ebbitt is packed, try its sister restaurant, the Hamilton. (www.thehamiltondc.com).

Farmers and Distillers

Farmers and Distillers is the newest restaurant for the Farmers Restaurant Group, which specializes in farm-to-table American food. Although this one is closest to the convention center, you might also check out Founding Farmers (www.wearefoundingfarmers.com) and Farmers, Fishers, and Bakers (www.farmersfishersbakers.com).

Cuisine: American (with nods to Chinese)

Price: $$

Travel time from convention center: six-minute walk.

Website: www.farmersanddistillers.com

Pro tip: The menu can be overwhelming, start with some dumpling appetizers and order a salad or a burger for the main entre.

A Baked Joint

The perfect spot for breakfast and high-end coffee beverages.

Cuisine: Coffee & Pastries

Price: $

Travel time from convention center: nine-minute walk.

Website: www.abakedjoint.com

Pro tip: Order the biscuit sammie for a deliciously moist biscuit breakfast sandwich. The restaurant rotates between meat and cheese biscuits and goat cheese and herb biscuits both are equally amazing.

La Jambe

La Jambe serves three things: cheese, charcuterie, and drinks. It’s the perfect place to catch up with an old friend over a nice glass of wine and some French cheese.

Cuisine: French

Price: $$

Travel time from convention center: nine-minute walk.

Website: www.lajambedc.com

Pro tip: Enjoy happy hour prices from 5-7 p.m. and order a surprise board it won’t disappoint.


Chaplin’s offers a tasty combination Japanese food and Charlie Chaplin dcor that nobody asked for but works well. The ramen is phenomenal, and if the weather is nice, there’s a patio outside.

Cuisine: Japanese

Price: $$

Travel time from convention center: nine-minute walk.

Website: www.chaplinrestaurantdc.com

Pro tip: If you get the ramen, don’t miss out on the fun and delicious appetizers. The Chaplin buns are amazing.


An upscale approach to pizza, Matchbox offers brick oven pizza in an urban chic environment. The flavor combinations range from traditional to adventurous there’s something for everyone there.

Cuisine: Pizza

Price: $

Travel time from convention center: eight-minute walk.

Website: www.matchboxrestaurants.com

Pro tip: If you’re with a group that enjoys sharing, order a few of the specialty pizzas (like the q special) and enjoy a slice of each!

The Palm

The Palm steakhouse is a part of DC’s history, and its walls are illustrated with DC personalities and VIPs. It’s a place to see and be seen as it’s filled with lawmakers and DC executives.

Cuisine: Steak

For the authentic DC white tablecloth experience, head to The Palm.

Price: $$$

Travel time from convention center: 10-minute drive.

Website: www.bobbyvans.com

Pro tip: You can’t go wrong with any of the entrees, but make sure to add the creamed spinach and the half & half (half fries and half onion rings) as sides.

Cuba Libre

Just a short jaunt from the convention center, Cuba Libre offers a traditional Cuban menu with some creative twists.

Cuisine: Cuban

Price: $

Travel time from convention center: six-minute walk.

Website: www.cubalibrerestaurant.com

Pro tip: Try any dish that comes with the plantain chips.

Acqua Al 2

DC’s Acqua Al 2 is the second location of the same restaurant located in Florence, Italy. The food is authentic and delicious. It’s not too far from the Capitol building, so it would be a good end to a long hike up Capitol Hill.

Cuisine: Italian

Price: $$

Travel time from convention center: 15-minute drive.

Website: www.acquaal2.com

Pro tip: Order the pasta sampler for the table. Skip the dessert sampler.

Cheap Eats

Whether working up an appetite hiking the hill or taking a break from the conference, these options are great for a quick and easy bite. Take the advice of Callahan’s own staffers for a dish that won’t disappoint at these fast-casual establishments.

Good Stuff Eatery

Food: Burgers

Website: www.goodstuffeatery.com

Callahan’s recommended dish: farmhouse bacon cheese burger with a shake. Sam Taft, director of industry analysis


Food: Salad

Website: www.sweetgreen.com

Callahan’s recommended dish: Guacamole greens. Erin Reilly, program coordinator


Food: Pizza

Website: www.andpizza.com

Callahan’s recommended dish: The maverick (a version of meat lovers). Ian Melhorn, account management coordinator


Food: Southeast Asian

Website: www.shophousekitchen.com

Callahan’s recommended dish: Pork and chicken meatballs over jasmine rice with spicy red curry sauce and squash and Thai basil. Brad Westley, associate director


Food: Burrito-sized Sushi

Website: www.eatburedo.com

Callahan’s recommended dish: Go-go and add jalapeo. Suzanne McGann, functional analyst

Shake Shack

Food: Burgers (& Milkshakes!)

Website: www.shakeshack.com

We like the chicken, but you can’t go wrong with anything at Shake Shack.

Callahan’s recommended dish: BBQ chicken sandwich. Erik Payne, associate editor


Food: Sandwiches

Website: www.sundevich.com

Callahan’s recommended dish: Everything! Plus it’s right by the convention center. Tim Taylor, vice president of sales

Luke’s Lobster

Food: Seafood

Website: www.lukeslobster.com

Callahan’s recommended dish: Definitely the lobster roll. Charlotte Taft, director of business intelligence

Taylor Gourmet

Food: Sandwiches

Website: www.taylorgourmet.com

Callahan’s recommended dish: The race sandwich, which has turkey and pesto. Alex Gekas, marketing director

Astro Donuts & Fried Chicken

Food: Donuts & Fried Chicken (also, fried chicken on donuts)

Website: www.astrodoughnuts.com

Callahan recommended dish: Old Bay fried chicken sandwich. Lizzie Sebastian, business intelligence analyst

More From CreditUnions.com On What To Eat During GAC

  • Callahan’s GAC Guide To Washington, DC

  • The CreditUnions.com Guide To Eating In Chinatown

February 23, 2017

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