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From Kids Eat Free to To-Go TP, These D.C. Restaurants Are Offering Creative Perks

The coronavirus pandemic has left customers and workers alike in need of some extra help

Rasa’s colorful fast-casual bowls are currently free for kids, hospital workers, and its staff.
Rasa/official photo

In effort to stem the spread of coronavirus, D.C. has ordered that dining inside bars and restaurants is officially off limits for the rest of March. That means more chefs are ramping up takeout, delivery, or to-go options to keep some revenue flowing in during uncertain times.

Restaurants are also using this unprecedented time to serve the community and push perishable products. Hook Hall’s cavernous bar and events space has turned into a relief center that sets up restaurant workers with meals and home essentials. Eastern Market’s Eat Brgz dropped off chicken and beef burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches to 400 firefighter-EMTs across D.C.’s 34 fire stations through nonprofit Food On The Stove Tuesday afternoon. Fast-casual newcomer Immigrant Food is is donating ingredients and inventory to staff and the local immigrant community through the restaurant’s five NGO partners. And Bethesda steakhouse Medium Rare is donating prepared meals every night to quarantined seniors.

Tuesday marked the first full day of the dining room closures, but many restaurants have already been showing off their ingrained adaptability.

“Restaurant and hospitality people are used to adjusting on the fly. At least we have some general familiarity with uncertainty and making the best of it,” says Duke’s Grocery founder Daniel Kramer, who has been giving away food at Duke’s and Gogi Yogi, his Korean barbecue joint in Shaw, since last night. Kramer considered staying open for takeout, but he wanted to follow social distancing guidelines. Plus, he says the whole point of Korean barbecue is it’s a communal experience.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is expected to follow the lead of NYC and allow takeout alcohol soon. Shilling Canning Company has voiced interest in batching to-go cocktails and Beuchert’s Saloon would like to deliver wine if that happens. Amaro maker Don Ciccio & Figli plans to offer curbside pickup and home deliveries within the D.C. area.

Here are some to-go perks available across town:

Free Meals for Kids

Starting Tuesday, Indian fast-casual chain Rasa will offer free meals to school children (18 and under), all hospital workers with valid ID, and take-out for its own staff and their families. Delivery and online ordering services are also up and running.

Spike Mendelsohn’s We, The Pizza has a “kids eat free” program in effect for pick-up orders. It just added delivery on Postmates, along with curbside pick-up.

Free TP

H Street sushi stalwart Sticky Rice has a “Free Roll with a Roll” promo: every sushi roll order comes with an individually wrapped two-ply roll of the in-demand commodity. Available for carry out orders via delivery partners.

Old Town’s taco-and-tequila slinging bar Chop Shop Taco invites patrons to take the party home with packaged meals for four to five. As an extra bonus, a roll of toilet paper and $25 gift card is included. Order online, pay and pick-up (zero contact) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Employee relief

Starting today, half of all gift card purchases will go toward a dedicated employee relief fund within the Alexandria Restaurant Partners family. Purchasers will also receive a 20-percent bonus card for use at any ARP restaurant (which includes Mia’s, The Majestic, Vola’s, Theismann’s, and others).

Discounts and deals aplenty

D.C. area chain Moby Dick House of Kabob just debuted a sea of relief packages: one free kid’s meal with one adult entrée order; family platter discounts ($5-$10); half-off for first responders and healthcare workers with ID; and free delivery to senior living facilities and a 20-percent discount on orders for 10 or more. There’s also free delivery with 10-percent off all online orders via DoorDash (promo code 10OFF). All orders will be bagged and sealed with a tamper-proof evident sticker, and workers use a double glove system with an outer changeable layer.

Thai Chef DC slashes 10-percent off phone-in pick-up orders and delivery is also available via UberEats.

Customers at Carrabba’s Italian Grill can plug in ‘SPRING15’ to receive 15-percent off delivery orders.

Fast-casual salad and pizza chain Gusto Farm to Street (Bethesda, Silver Spring, Chantilly) offers a 50-percent discount to affected restaurant workers.

Wine Pairings

Starting Tuesday, natural wine bar Domestique will collaborate with tiny Japanese go-to Izakaya Seki to deliver bento boxes alongside its wine orders. Order by 2 p.m. to get the $10.95 boxes with a wine pairing that same night. Wine orders of $75 or more come with free delivery.

DIY ramen kits

With no customers allowed inside Union Market right now, vendor Ramen by Uzu is now selling its fix-ins (fresh noodles, broth, and garnishes) at Hana Market on 17th and U Street NW. Ramen by Uzu also just joined UberEats for the first time.

Door-to-door chef delivery

Beuchert’s Saloon on Capitol Hill is doing takeout and delivery from 12 p.m. to 8 pm. on UberEats, in additional and personalized local drop-offs by “DrewberEats” aka its chef Andrew Markert. Call 202-733-1384 to order, with credit cards placed over the phone to minimize contact. Full menus available for now, with “wine hopefully coming soon,” says the team.

New menu debuts

Napoli Pasta Bars new chef Andy Clark just unveiled a new lunch menu (soups, salads, and sandwiches) to fuel up remote workers in Columbia Heights. Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery.

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