I can't tell you what a struggle it is to find a decent lunch option on the hill. First time visitors to the capitol complex may be impressed with the wide array of services available to Members and staff. Honestly, you can get everything you need to survive the week without stepping outside- cafeterias, a barber, a dry cleaner, a bank, a post office, and a gym. Unfortunately, the appeal wears off quickly, and staffers are left suffering through subpar meals or eating from a vending machine. SInce we're pretty much chained to our desks when Congress is in session, we can't hit up all the great downtown restaurants for a 2 hour lunch. We're left with the cafeterias, a brown bagged lunch, or one of the few takeout places in a 10 minute walk. I'm usually a brown bag girl. A. It's cheaper, and B. I can't handle the overpriced, tasteless cafeteria food (it takes me back to my high school days...). When I need a break from packing I run up the street to grab food to take back to the office. In the three years that I've worked on the Hill, I've discovered a relative lack of affordable food options in walking distance of the Capitol. The discovery surprised me, after all, there are tens of thousands of Hill employees, plus an influx of lobbyists, tourists, and business people when we are in session. You'd think the place would be bursting with options waiting to capitalize on all that potential.
Fortunately, restaurants are beginning to catch on, and Pennsylvania Ave is finally getting some action. I can't tell you how excited Hill staffers get for new lunch options! Good Stuff Eatery has to make a killing off us, and Sweetgreen just opened. I can't wait for Chef Spike's pizza shop to open next month!
While lunch wish number one is starting to come true, and I'm excited with the influx of options down the street, I'm still waiting for the cafeterias to catch up and offer something halfway decent. Until then, I guess it's brown bags for me!