Ah, the Verizon Center. Home of the Wizards, Capitals and Mystics...and not a whole lot of dining options beyond your typical stadium fare. While there are a few decent picks for dining at the Verizon Center, what's more important to note is that the arena just so happens to be located in one of Washington's most happening corridors for dining, Penn Quarter/Chinatown. Here's a guide to best bets for eating inside and just nearby the Verizon Center.
Verizon Center's Three Standouts
Hard Times Cafe: This local chain serves chili in all its many forms — over spaghetti, with frito pies, slathered over nachos and topping hotdogs. Also just plain in a bowl. They're also offering wings at the Verizon Center locations. [Sections 112, 119]
The Greene Turtle: Ever-expanding local chain The Greene Turtle has a menu of stadium offerings that include boneless wings, pulled pork sandwiches and cheesesteaks. It's also accessible from outside of the stadium along F Street. [Section 117]
Acela Club: Members have access to this 11,000-square-foot restaurant with a variety of dining options, including a recently added savory bar offering five types of mac 'n cheese. They also have a monthly rotating wing bar and menus for private events. [Sections 220-225]
Highlights Just Outside the Stadium
Graffiato: Former Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella opened up his very first restaurant just behind the Verizon Center on 6th Street with the intention of welcoming sports fans and concertgoers before and after events. He's got a Jersey-Italian-inspired menu of pizzas, pasta, small plates and, of course, the pepperoni sauce that won his praise on the Bravo show.
Jaleo: After almost two decades in Penn Quarter, chef José Andrés recently revamped his Spanish tapas restaurant Jaleo. There are still traditional tapas dishes like croquettes, Spanish tortilla and more, but now they've got foosball dining tables, private nooks and beaded curtains.
Poste Moderne Brasserie: Located at the Hotel Monaco, Poste has recently shifted even more steadily toward the "brasserie" aspect of its name under chef Dennis Marron. They've got a killer onion soup burger plus one of the best patios in the neighborhood.
Proof: This wine bar also happens to serve some of the best food of the neighborhood under the direction of executive chef Haidar Karoum. You might not have time for Proof's four-course chef's tasting menu before your event, but a charcuterie plate and a glass of wine could be just the ticket.
Hill Country: Texas barbecue by way of New York City, Hill Country is one of the more recent additions to the neighborhood. Get your brisket by the pound (order it moist), add on sausage from Texas' Kreuz Market and sides from mac 'n cheese to green beans. They've also got Texas sheet cake and peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.
*denotes Eater recommendations
Power Grill, Sections 102, 105, 116: All kinds of snacks from chicken tenders, hot dogs, fries, pretzels and peanuts, cracker jacks and fruit. They've also got meals for kids.
Papa John's & Monster Nacho, Section 106: Pizza, popcorn, nachos and something called "monster chicken nachos."
Capital Carvery, Section 107: Regular brats, turkey sausages and cheddar beer brats.
Healthy Choice & Snacks Portable Stand, Section 108: Vegetarian and vegan offering, including sandwiches, fruit, soup, salads. Also gluten-free options.
BBQ Concept, Section 110: Barbecued chicken, pork and brisket served on sandwiches or platters. Also beef jerky and sides like mac 'n cheese, green beens and corn.
*Hard Times Cafe, Sections 112, 119: A local chain serving chili in all forms — over spaghetti, in a bowl, with frito pies, over nachos and hotdogs. They've also got wings.
*The Greene Turtle, Section 117: Another widespread local chain, The Greene Turtle's stadium offerings include boneless wings, pulled pork sandwiches and cheesesteaks.
Papa John's, Section 119: Variety of pizzas from the national chain.
Dunkin Donuts, Section 120: Doughnuts, coffee, iced coffee.
Specialty Sandwich Stand, Section 120: Selling carved sandwiches, a beef tip sandwich, fries and chili cheese fries and more.
*Nothin But Net, Section 201: Classic stadium food such as burgers, nachos, hot dogs and chicken tenders, plus things like salads, crab shack fries, fish and chips and roasted peanuts.
Zona, Section 214: Mostly Mexican fare, including burritos, tacos and nachos, plus flatbreads and hot dogs.
Hill Grill, Section 216: Among the most popular items are the District Half Smokes. They also offer sandwiches from cheddar burgers to chicken clubs and PB&J. Also soft pretzels, nachos, hot dogs and other stadium fare.
*BBQ Pit, Section 229: Various smoked meats, including brisket and turkey breast, plus barbecue pork or chicken in a sandwich or on nachos. They've also got candy and snacks and a PB&J sandwich.
*Acela Club, Sections 220-225: Members have access to this 11,000-square-foot restaurant with a variety of dining options, including a mac & cheese bar offering five types of the stuff and a monthly rotating wing bar.
Papa John's, Fillup Buster, Sections 402, 416: Selling pizzas, combination meals, hot dogs, nachos and kids' meals too.
Fillup Buster, Sections 407, 427: Regular stadium snacks like nachos, pretzels and kosher-style hot dogs.
Power Grill, Sections 413, 417, 432: All kinds of snacks from chicken tenders, hot dogs, fries, pretzels and peanuts, cracker jacks and fruit. They've also got meals for kids.
BBQ Spot Portable Stand, Section 423: Pulled pork and barbecue chicken sandwiches.
Also widely available throughout the stadium: Dippin Dots ice cream; portable beer stands serving Coors Light, Blue Moon, Red Hook, Budweiser, Stella Artois, Guinness and more; Bacardi liquor stands; funnel cakes; cotton candy; peanuts.