A friend of mine is coming to town with a gaggle of 14 year olds on a cheerleading team this weekend. She asked me for recommendations for places to eat and what to see. I'm assuming the kids care about cool and the parents care about affordability.
Channeling my inner teen, here are my ideas:
Metro: Dupont Circle
I'll warn parents, this place has been on a wait since 1893. (Kidding, just since 1998.) It's a good Mexican joint with affordable prices and one of the best roof decks in town. If your appetites can wait for it, get a table on the roof (if it's cold, they will have heaters out.) Definitely get the queso - and a frozen margarita for the parents. It'll help you deal with the crowds. Bonus: Walk back to metro down U Street where you and the teens can check out the vibrant nightlife. Feel free to pop in one of the many cute U Street restaurants for dessert.
Clyde's of Gallery Place
Metro: Gallery Place or Metro Center
Teens will love the vibrant neighborhood of Gallery Place & Chinatown, where neon lights, culture, sports and restaurants converge. Next door to concert and sports venue, The Verizon Center, Clyde's is a two story restaurant that dazzles with it's wood paneled walls, sweeping staircase and dramatic DC-themed art work. The menu will appeal to the pickiest eaters (lookin' at you Chicken-Finger-Only kid...) and the adventurous foodies at the table. With three bars and five dining rooms, it's fairly easy to get a table. Bonus: Check out the sports themed art and statues in the front bar & snag a booth to get street views.
Good Stuff Eatery
Metro: Capitol South
Teens love to go places that famous people own. Or at least that's the story that I'm sticking to for my 16th birthday at Hard Rock Cafe. Good Stuff is helmed by cute celebrity chef and Bravo Top Chef contestant, Spike Mendelsohn. Good Stuff has burgers, fries and milkshakes to die for. There's usually a long line out the door, but Spike's Dad often greets guests and it moves quickly. Bonus: Mingling with Congressional interns.
Photo via Modern Domestic Blog
Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy
Metro: George Washington University
What do teen girls like more than a cool neighborhood and a celebrity chef? College boys. Head to George Washington University's campus for lunch or dinner at Tonic. This three story restaurant and bar is housed in a old school brownstone and has patio seating if the day is nice enough. Bonus: Get the tater tots.
Cantina Marina (Warm Weather Only)
Metro: SW Waterfront
This riverside local haunt opens it's dockside bar and dining in April. It's metro accessible, right next door to the Capitol Yacht Club and is fun, casual dining and people watching. Menu highlights for teens include Mini Corn Dogs, Burgers, BBQ, and my fave, the Fish Tacos. Bonus: Watch planes land at National Airport over the river. Parent Bonus: Try the Blueberry Stoli Lemonade.
No Metro: Georgetown
Got kids that dig seafood and shopping? Tackle box is your spot. Yes they have burgers, hot dogs and chicken tenders, but for the more adventurous, they also have seafood baskets that you can get crispy or grillled and fish or chicken tacos. Bonus: Don't miss out on the standout sides or desserts. (Their blueberry pie was voted Best in DC) You can walk it off shopping up and down Wisconsin Avenue.
Old Ebbitt Grill
Metro: McPherson Square
Tired out from walking up and down the Mall? Over the museums? Bored by the White House? But what's nearby... Old Ebbitt Grill. It's an American grill that's been around since 1865. Burgers, salads and fresh ingredient entrees make everyone happy. Bonus: It's open late AND early. Stop in for a fantastic brunch before you head out of town.
If you have kids - or are one, how'd I do? What am I missing?