Ebbitt Express

$$$$ ($14 and under)
Ebbitt Express is the takeout wing of the renowned Old Ebbitt Grill.
Mon-Fri 7:30 am-5 pm
McPherson Square (Blue and Orange lines), Metro Center (Red, Blue and Orange lines)

Editorial Review

Hidden inside the atrium of a marble-floored office building, it is accessible through the doorway just south of the Grill's entrance. Open weekdays only, Ebbitt Express is packed with regulars, primarily downtown workers, not the tourists who find their way into its fancier parent.

At lunch, there is often a long but swiftly moving line of patrons waiting to reach two counters, one each for hot and cold food. The hot side always includes a pasta dish (offered in two sizes), made while you wait. The cold side offers sandwiches and salads, either ready-to-go, or the staff will toss a garden or Caesar salad (also offered in large or small) to order.

A place to eat is just steps away, in the cool marble atrium that backs up against the Old Ebbitt Grill. In this airy space, seating for takeout patrons ranges from a counter top for the lone diner to a table big enough to seat 10. Ebbitt Express makes a great meeting spot for a hot lunch with plastic utensils -- without spending the cash necessary for the main restaurant.

-- Harriet Winslow