When I’m down on U Street and I’m in the mood for a halfsmoke, I usually hit up Ben’s Chili Bowl. I love Ben’s – don’t get me wrong – but when a girl wants options and doesn’t want to remember to bring cash, there’s a new game in town. A few blocks over in Shaw, you’ll find Halfsmoke. The restaurant opened last fall but I’ve just discovered it – just in time for their first summer patio season! There’s a lively bar plus big tables and open spaces to play board games.
The restaurant’s most popular items are their meats on a toasted bun and flatbreads but you can also get wild rice or salad. For meat, you can order the halfsmoke, Italian pork, lamb, beef bratwurst, grilled chicken, or vegan falafel. As the DC locals know, a traditional halfsmoke consists of chili, raw onions, mustard, and cheddar cheese. But at Halfsmoke, you can choose from a variety of toppings such as roasted peppers, tomatoes, relish, slaw, and a few different varieties of mustard. We tried the traditional halfsmoke meat and the lamb and both did not disappoint.
They also boast a carnival style dessert menu including enormous, colorful milkshakes and funnel cakes with a variety of toppings. We decided on the funnel cake topped with chocolate and powdered sugar. The order arrived as two funnel cakes making them easy to share. They are the perfect amount of sweetness.
Halfsmoke also has a great happy hour schedule: Monday to Friday 4 PM to 7 PM and Friday to Saturday 11 PM to 2 am. You really can’t go wrong with a place with a Friday AND late night happy hour. We’ll also have to come back to try the patio bar. You can find them about four blocks from the Shaw metro station (green).
Happy hour, lunch or dinner, dessert, patio bar
651 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001