Metro stops are usually less than inspiring, with yellow/green line L’Enfant metro stop on the national mall being the exception. Why you ask, well, at lunch time the street above this metro stop is lined with food trucks as far as the eye can see, with a view of the capitol building in the background. Indian, Ethiopian, American BBQ, Greek, French, sub sandwiches, etc.. there are enough options here to make everyone happy. And let’s face it, food truck food is always cheaper and tastier than in a sit down restaurant (my hypothesis is that the limited menu allows only the best dishes to make an appearance). I love grabbing lunch here, especially since eating options on the mall seem to be limited to; overpriced hotdogs, overpriced museum food courts and crowded corporate chains, and very high-end and not particularly kid friendly restaurants. This lunch spot is largely unknown to visitors, which is truly a shame, a visit to DC should include delicious food, that’s what Ooey and I believe anyway.
Typically Ooey and I have a hard time leaving the house before 10am, so by the time we do get anywhere I’m ready for early lunch. Enter, L’Enfant metro stop, where all great museum days start. I recommend lunching here early (~11:30) before the lines get too long.
My favorite food truck at L’Enfant is an Ethiopian joint called Lilypad on the Run. Remarkably, it was only this year that I was introduced to Ethiopian food and, meanwhile my toddler already recognizes and loves injera. My friend who made the introduction to the cuisine lived in Ethiopia for a brief period and prefers this food truck above all other places we’ve tried together.
The Washington DC area is home to the most Ethiopians, outside of Africa, and their area restaurants are a gastronomic attraction, so far I’ve only been to two and my poor little stomach was bothered by both of them. I had decided that, while I liked the food it wasn’t worth the belly aching. The Lilypad on the Run food truck however, produced different results and now Ooey and I make it a pit stop at every opportunity.
Adding to the appeal of this lunch spot is the shaded lawn, live music, and the aforementioned proximity to the mall. Outdoor eating is, as far as I’m concerned, second to none and the best spot here is under a large tree providing live entertainment in the form of people watching of DC natives on their lunch hour and street performers (I’ve yet to have a celebrity sighting here, and by celebrity I mean political figure, this is DC not Hollywood). Female vocalists, pan flutist, and a four man band are just a few of the performers who I’ve seen set up shop here, definitely have change on hand for street artists while in DC.
Once you’ve consumed your lunch and tipped the street performers you should be satisfied knowing you’ve gotten the best possible lunch experience while on the mall. You’re now ready to begin or resume the sight-seeing. The closest museums to L’Enfant are Smithsonian’s Museum of Air and Space and the Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art just a short walk up 7th street NW.
Happy luncheon! Do you have a favorite food truck at L’Enfant
at the intersection of 7th street NW and Maryland Ave SW
Take the Metro to L’Enfant Plaza
Additional Supplies: Picnic blanket
Nursing Friendly: Sure, plenty of places to sit but no designated spots
Attention Level: High; people, cars, etc…
Disclaimer- I have created a level of alertness scale; low, medium, high. based on factors such as play area location in relation to traffic, strangers, dogs, etc. A low rating in no way indicates you should not keep an eye on or engage with your child, it simply means your child is in less danger here should you become distracted.