Dining with Dietary Restrictions, DC Edition, Part I

By Esther Hidalgo and Charlotte Sturm, Host Committee Members


Fast Casual Food

Two intrepid diners. One a carefree omnivore who likes her vegetables as much as she likes her proteins. The other, a food lover whose dining experiences are impacted by dietary restrictions owing to a range of food allergies and sensitivities.

One urban setting: Washington, the District of Columbia. Growing in reputation as a city for foodies, DC offers something to appeal to every palate.

Their mission: to taste their way through just a few of the multitude of DC dining options and find restaurants that serve delicious food while still being able to accommodate special dietary needs. In this 2 part blog post, the diners will first cover some fast casual options, and later they will move on to more leisurely (and yes, pricey) sit-down options.


Located in Dupont Circle at 1528 Connecticut Aveneu NW, Beefsteak is a fast-casual restaurant by Jose Andres. It is almost 100% vegetarian in its culinary offerings; the optional add-ons of chicken sausage, poached egg, or salt-cured salmon may appeal to non-vegetarian dining companions. The menu is clearly marked to identify dishes which contain gluten and dishes which are vegan. Limited edition dishes like the Santorini Special highlight seasonal produce. And the Make Your Own option lets you build the exact meal that you want to, and can, eat. The full ingredient list for menu items is not apparent, so diners with extensive restrictions may have to ask questions about specific offerings. When presented with one such question, the staff member thoughtfully admitted to not being knowledgeable about those ingredients and promptly called a manager to assist. The manager easily and confidently responded to such questions, leading to a tasty and safe meal experience for both diners. One diner especially liked the Gazpacho Bowl, which was savory and refreshing, and paired nicely with the bag of Jose Andres signature potato chips, which were crumbled over top.



Cava serves up fast-casual Mediterranean-inspired salads and grain-based bowls. They have locations all over the city, including in the Dupont Circle area at 1222 Connecticut Avenue NW. The a la carte ordering system begins with the customer declaring their “base,” and then moving, assembly line-style, through a selection of dips/spreads, proteins, vegetables, and toppings. Cava partners with local farms to source fresh and seasonal ingredients. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly about questions relating to dietary restrictions. Some stores have printed menus with dietary information for Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, and Soy Free diners. This menu is also available online at https://cava.com/menu/allergens. Even if you are a carefree omnivore, you may have questions about the array of options for your salad or grain bowl. Don’t be afraid to ask, so you don’t find out the hard way that the crazy feta spread might just be a little too crazy for your taste.


sb_sys_medias_media_key_830.jpgMitsitam Native Foods Cafe

The Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe, located within the National Museum of the American Indian, offers a wide variety of dishes from the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Open from 11 am – 3 pm daily, this lunch spot is set up cafeteria-style, so diners can customize their meals from the huge assortment of a la carte options. Food offerings are organized into five different regional stations – Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso America, and the Great Plains. Using ingredients such as bison, turkey, and salmon; green chiles; white and black beans; quinoa; and plantains, the resulting dishes such as ceviche, posole, soups, and seasonal salads are delectable and one-of-a-kind in the DC dining scene. Dishes are well described and pictured on cards (which also display the prices), but not every ingredient is listed, and there is the potential for cross-contamination in food preparation areas. Gluten-free dining should not be an issue at Mitsitam, but those with other food allergies should consult with staff or the restaurant manager before indulging.

Also of Note

If you’re joining your colleagues for baseball at Nationals Park on Friday night, rest assured that you can and will eat well at the game. The Gluten Free Grill, on the Main Concourse (section 100), serves exactly the celiac-friendly food its name suggests, and it also offers gluten-free wine and beer. A housemade veggie burger from the Georgetown Grill (section 130), fries topped with vegetarian chili from the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl (sections 110, 141, and 317), or dishes like veggie cheesesteaks, mushroom sandwiches, or a vegan crab cake at Field of Greens (section 136) could be just the ballpark food you’ve been searching for.

Honorable Mentions

Although our diners did not make it to these two bakeries, they are highly rated on the Find Me Gluten Free app or website, and they may also suit other special dietary needs.

And so our diners have come to the end of their fast casual dining adventure. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow, at which time our diners will spend a little more time to sit and savor their meals.


Neighborhood Profile: Columbia Heights

By Katie Seitz, Host Committee Member

Just two neighborhoods east of Woodley Park, past the cool green expanse of Rock Creek Park and the hilly residential neighborhood of Mount Pleasant, is Columbia Heights. This neighborhood has become well-known for its diverse communities, the plethora of excellent restaurants and shopping options, and the community feel created by a central plaza and fountain. Its history and the changes it has gone through exemplify the best and worst of the shifts in DC over the last twenty years – to understand its history is to understand much of the struggles of modern-day DC residents.


By Peter Fitzgerald – self-made, tracing done from PD satellite imagery, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3600981

The land that we now know as DC was first the home of Native people, the Piscataway, Anacostank, Pamunkey, Mattapanient, Nangemeick, and Tauxehent. The Smithsonian, the National Park Service, and the Library of Congress have online resources that give a glimpse into pre-colonial Native life in the heavily trafficked trading area of the Chesapeake region, the impact of colonization and genocide, and resistance and cultural continuity between then and now.

The DC government’s page on DC Emancipation Day (April 16, 1862, which is celebrated as a DC holiday to this day) gives a short history of the early days of slavery and waves of African American resistance in the District. For an excellent in-depth look at the ways the neighborhood developed and changed through the 19th and 20th centuries, with a particular focus on African American communities, walk the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail or check out their online guide. The Heritage Trail takes its participants on a loop around the neighborhood to see sites of social justice activism, gay black history, slavery and resistance, and literary and artistic achievement. The Over the years, Columbia Heights has been the home to many luminaries, from musician Duke Ellington and diplomat Ralph Bunche to writers Carlos Fuentes, Jean Toomer, and Marita Golden.

From the 1970s on, Columbia Heights has been home to waves of immigrants from El Salvador, the Caribbean, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Vietnam. However, since the 2000s the multicultural, working class nature of the neighborhood has been threatened by gentrification and the rising cost of housing, forcing out many longtime residents of color. While the spirit of Columbia Heights is alive, the future of the neighborhood as a multicultural, economically diverse mecca is uncertain.

Today, most visitors, if they’re not headed to the Target, are likely in Columbia Heights for the amazing food and nightlife. Most evenings in the summer, the small plaza at 14th and Park Roads NW is alive with neighborhood residents gathering to watch children play in the fountain, to talk, or simply to sit and watch the world go by. Columbia Heights (and adjacent neighborhoods) boast incredible restaurants across the spectrum of cuisines, price points, and levels of fanciness. Here are some representative examples, chosen with an eye to variety and as places where the community gathers.


By Roland Tanglao from Vancouver, Canada – Pupusas at Amigos Cafe – Image222, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53705490

Meals from $5-$15
Pupusas, El Salvador’s crave-worthy national dish of griddle-fried, stuffed tortillas, are obviously served at Pupuseria Maria (3915 14th St. NW), but make sure to try other things on the menu, especially the yucca con chicharron. Nearby is Taqueria Habanero (3710 14th St. NW), which boasts of being “99% Mexican.” The tacos, huaraches, and tortas are the best in DC, so expect a short wait at peak hours. NuVegan Cafe (2928 Georgia Ave. NW) is a legendary black-owned vegan soul food restaurant that serves both a killer mac and cheese and home-pressed juices and smoothies in its loungey, hip location. Pho Viet (3513 14th Street NW) is always packed with people hungry for their signature pho and grilled meats.

Meals from $15-$30
Letena (3100 14th St. NW), tucked on the Park Road side of the looming Target at the Columbia Heights metro, is an excellent Ethiopian restaurant serving a wide variety of meat and vegetarian-friendly dishes. (Hint: the vegetarian sampler works for omnivores too!) Thip Khao (3462 14th St. NW) is DC’s only Laotian restaurant, but its lack of competitors doesn’t stop it from offering incredible food and cocktails. Reservations are recommended for peak times.

Meals from $20 and up
Bad Saint (3226 11th St. NW) was named Bon Appetit’s 2nd best restaurant in the country in 2016. This small, beautifully appointed Filipino restaurant has been packed ever since. Pay attention to their website for instructions on getting a table.



Thirteen-tier fountain at Meridian Hill Park (Malcolm X Park). Photo by Ben Schumin on July 6, 2005. Wikimedia Commons, CC share-alike license.

Visit Malcolm X Park (officially Meridian Hill Park) on 16th Street between W and Euclid Streets NW. Come on Sunday afternoons at 3pm for the drum circle, a DC institution, or anytime to walk along the shaded walkways and Italianate fountains. It’s both beautiful and rich in history.

For a standout example of Mediterranean Revival architecture, the Tivoli Theater at 14th and Park Roads NW cannot be missed – literally. It’s visible from the metro station and takes up most of the block. This important piece of Columbia Heights history now houses the GALA Theater, a national center for Latino performing arts.

Columbia Heights is most easily accessible from the Wardman Park Marriott by the Circulator buses, which cost only $1 per ride. It’s also a stop on the Green and Yellow metro lines. Visit the WMATA website for routes that include buses, fare estimates, and times.


We are excited to welcome you to Washington, DC, and hope this glimpse into the past and present of Columbia Heights makes you want to visit. Come, learn our history, and grab a bite to eat!


DC Tattoo Parlors

By Esther Hidalgo, Host Committee Member

Tattoos are forever and, as discussed in the session “Coloring Outside the Lines: Tattoos as Personal Archives”, which was presented at the 2012 SAA Annual Meeting in San Diego, they even possess unique archival value. If you were unable to attend that session, you can access Randall C. Jimerson’s interview with session speakers in  “Coloring Outside the Lines”, Archival Outlook, November/December 2012, p.8.

If you have a memory or experience that you have been “dyeing” to commemorate (bad pun intended), consider visiting a few of the following tattoo parlors, which are conveniently located near the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.


Embassy Tattoo is located in Adams Morgan at 1762 Columbia Road NW. Don’t be misled by the building’s exterior, or the sketchy (pun intended) stairwell leading up to the shop. Rather, to paraphrase the declaration on their website: let their work speak for itself!  The small, accommodating staff of artists’ talents range from fine-line to abstract to painterly, as well as black and gray shading and popping color-work. The shop also offers body piercing and Tatt2Away tattoo removal services.

Located in the heart of Adams Morgan, you can’t miss Tattoo Paradise, with it’s neon signage and striking blue storefront. The salon walls are lined with tattoo flash, many of which pay homage to vintage traditions of western nautical tattoo art, such as swallows, skulls, anchors, mermaids, and pin-ups. The shop is clean, spacious, and colorful. The desk staff is courteous and patient, despite the influx of clients and tourists that occasionally wander inside. The shop schedules appointments, as well as walk-ins. Full disclosure: The author (rather spontaneously) got her forearm tattooed there, whilst taking a break from studying for the MSLIS Comprehensive Examination.

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Burger assembly guide? Kabob schematic? Optical camera lens diagram? Endless interpretations!



Globe Electric Tattoo is located on a residential block, a short walk from the Columbia Heights Metro station. The shop was founded by a couple with extensive tattooing experience, and who also work at the legendary Jinx Proof Tattoo in Georgetown, DC. Compared to the decor of many other tattoo shops, the interior is contemporary and elegant, with a nice dose of natural light coming in from the front window. Additionally, unlike many other establishments, the Globe Electric staff work by appointment only. Based on personal experience, the artists are professional, communicative, and have vision. They work with their clients to mutually design bespoke permanent art pieces. Especially worth noting is artist Susan Doyle’s skillful application of color inks on darker skin tones.


Finally, Fatty’s Tattoos & Piercings in Dupont Circle is  home grown franchise,

with sister shops in Silver Spring, MD and the H Street NE, DC. Frequently featured in the Washington City Paper’s annual Best of DC, Fatty’s has made a name for itself. The reception area is clean and open, with hardwood floors and large windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of Connecticut Avenue.  Unlike many other shop, Fatty’s does not display tattoo flash. Rather, as a testament to their commitment to creating custom pieces, the walls display original works by the tattoo artists, including Fatty himself. They accept walk-in consultations, but you will need to make an appointment to get the work done. Fatty’s also offers piercing services and a wide range of natural wood, stone, and quality metal jewelry.


Whether you decide to finally get that heart with “Mom” tattooed on your bicep this year, or four years from now, be sure to read up on, and observe, general shop etiquette before you entering any shop. Even if you don’t get “inked” this August, be sure to check out the Tattooed Librarians and Archivists Tumblr for fun and inspiration.

Dining Options

By Anna Yallouris, Host Committee Member

The Joint Annual Meeting is only a few weeks away and we hope you take some time to explore D.C. during your stay including the wide range of dining options. There have been new additions to the restaurant scene since the last annual meeting took place in D.C. and the week of the conference also coincides with D.C. Restaurant Week (August 13-19) which is a great opportunity to try new restaurants.  All participating restaurants will be offering 3-course menus for lunch ($22), dinner ($35) and brunch ($22).

Restaurant Week_Summer_Color_1







The conference hotel is conveniently located near several places to eat along Connecticut avenue. For a quick bite to eat, there is a Chipotle, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Pizza restaurant (Pizze) within walking distance. For sit down options, below are restaurants in the immediate area as well.

** New restaurants in the area since the last annual meeting in D.C. that I recommend checking out.

Woodley Park

The Afghan Grill ($$) – 2309 Calvert St. NW

District Kitchen ($$) – 2606 Connecticut Ave. NW

**Dukes Counter ($$) – 3000 Connecticut Ave NW

Hot N Juicy Crawfish ($$) – 2651 Connecticut Ave NW

The Italians Kitchen ($$) – 2608 Connecticut Ave NW

Lebanese Taverna ($$) – 2641 Connecticut Ave NW

Medaterra ($) – 2614 Connecticut Ave NW

Nando’s Peri-Peri ($) – 2631 Connecticut Ave NW

Open City ($$) – 2331 Calvert St NW

Tono Sushi ($$) – 2605 Connecticut Ave NW

Woodley Cafe ($$) – 2619 Connecticut Ave NW

Additional neighborhoods to explore within the area include Cleveland Park, Van Ness, Adams Morgan, and Dupont Circle. While this list is not exhaustive and does not include other areas that have even more dining options such as Chinatown, Penn Quarter, U Street Corridor, Georgetown, Shaw, Foggy Bottom, etc. – it is a good place to start if you want to stay nearby the conference activities.

Cleveland Park

**Bindaas ($$$) – 3309 Connecticut Ave NW

Cleveland Park Bar and Grill ($$) – 3421 Connecticut Ave NW

Dolan Uyghur ($$) – 3518 Connecticut Ave NW

Firehook Bakery ($) – 3411 Connecticut Ave NW

Indique ($$) – 3512 Connecticut Ave NW

Laredo ($$) – 3500 Connecticut Ave NW

Medium Rare ($$) – 3500 Connecticut Ave NW

**Sababa ($$$) – 3311 Connecticut Ave NW

St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar ($$) – 3433 Connecticut Ave NW

Trattoria al Volo ($$) – 3417 Connecticut Ave NW

Van Ness

Breadfurst ($$) – 4434 Connecticut Ave NW

Bucks FIshing & Camping ($$$) – 5031 Connecticut Ave NW

Comet Ping Pong ($$) – 5037 Connecticut Ave NW

LIttle Red Fox ($$) – 5035 Connecticut Ave NW

Pho 14 ($) – 4201 Connecticut Ave NW

**Sfoglina ($$$) – 4445 Connecticut Ave NW

Thai Pad ($$) – 4481 Connecticut Ave NW

Adams Morgan

Amsterdam Falafelshop ($) – 2425 18th St NW

Bourbon ($$) – 2321 18th St NW

Donburi ($) – 2438 18th St NW

Federalist Pig ($$) – 1654 Columbia Rd NW

The Grill from Ipanema ($$) – 1858 Columbia Rd NW

Jake Rose Dining Saloon ($$$) – 2007 18th St NW, Washington

Mintwood Place ($$$) – 1813 Columbia Rd NW

Roofer’s Union ($$) – 2446 18th St NW

Sakuramen ($$) – 2441 18th St NW, Washington

Smoke & Barrel ($$) – 2471 18th St NW

**Tail Up Goat ($$$) – 1827 Adams Mill Road NW

Tryst ($$) – 2459 18th St NW

Dupont Circle

Bar Charley ($$) – 825 18th St NW,

Beafsteak ($) – 1528 Connecticut Ave NW

**Bibibop Asian Grill ($) – 1516 Connecticut Ave NW

**Buredo ($) – 1213 Connecticut Ave NW,

Cava ($) – 1222 Connecticut Ave NW

District Taco ($) – 1919 M St NW

Duke’s Grocery ($$) – 1513 17th St NW

Hank’s Oyster Bar ($$) – 1624 Q St NW

Iron Gate ($$$) – 1734 N St NW

Obelisk ($$$$) – 2029 P St NW

Rakuya ($$) – 1900 Q St NW

The Riggsby ($$$) – 1731 New Hampshire Ave NW

Sette Osteria ($$) – 1666 Connecticut Ave NW

Shake Shack ($) – 1216 18th St NW

Sushi Taro ($$$) – 1503 17th St NW

Teaism ($$) – 2009 R St NW

Teddy & the Bully Bar ($$) – 1200 19th St NW