Though a dessert display case, rustic wooden tables, and exposed-brick walls ground this eatery's casual neighborhood appeal, the food at Lillies remains decidedly upscale but still approachable. A team of chefs draw from Italian culinary traditions when crafting Mediterranean seasonal dishes?including gourmet pastas, roasted lamb, and gourmet eggs benedict?trumped up with demi-glaces and aiolis. Bartenders concoct cocktails and martinis in between pouring international beers and wine to complement the cuisine's distinctive flavors. During warmer months, guests can enjoy their meals on the patio, where Mediterranean touches, including indigo mosaic-tiled tables and olive-oil waterfalls, reflect the cuisine?s heritage.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop?then called Pete's Subway?proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number over 34,000 around the world?almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
What used to be a wall dividing two restaurants is now a handsome zinc bar, where guests can grab a stool and sip on varietals from an eclectic nine-page list. Much of this list is divided into New World and Old World styles, a trait reflected in a food menu that includes everything from rabbit bolognese to barbecue-chicken pizzas.
Take a huge whiff of Italy as you walk through the front door of Vace Italian Delicatessen. The salami and sausages hanging over your head will further trigger your panging stomach, making this old school eatery one of those neighborhood joints that has become known throughout the city. Pizza aficionados can head here for a slice or a whole pie, while huge sandwiches made with Italian deli meats and cheeses are an option for those found wanting. If you prefer to cook at home, Vace stocks imported packaged items ranging from pasta to pimentos, and also sells homemade pasta and fresh pizza dough. The counter service can be a bit spotty, but at Vace, the food and the vibrant, colorful atmosphere are the star of the show.
Open City hosts a broad cross-section of patrons, from local hipsters and neighborhood families to conventioneers staying at the nearby Marriott and Omni hotels. Freelancers and students leisurely sip coffee and use the free Wi-Fi, and while the café is open all day long, the most popular meals here are breakfast and brunch. Look for omelets, scrambles, buttermilk or multi-grain pancakes, french toast, mimosas and everything else you might crave before noon, all served with a seriously relaxed vibe. While breakfast is served all day, those dining later might want to indulge in one of the homemade salads or sandwiches, or fawn over a cup of coffee – served with animal crackers on the side. No matter what your order, the big, yawning space will make you feel right at home, thanks to an abundance of natural light. Or, soak it all in from their sidewalk patio space.
Nanny O'Briens is a Washington Post editors' pick for its commitment to Irish hospitality. Every Monday eve beginning at 9, traditional Irish seisiuns bring together the musical chops of local strummers and crooners who fill the air with social waves of sound, inviting everyone with a voice or a set of ears to feel the communal power of appetite-whetting tunes. Tuesday night is Trivia Night starting at 8:30, and every night after is content to be merry feasting and drinking night.