Eating Cheap at District Wharf

The District Wharf is a great place to find cheap eats whether you want a pre-show bite or a picnic along the Washington Channel. The variety of cheap eats is wide ranging from fresh seafood at the historic Municipal Fish Market, to pretzel dogs, vegan shawarma, poke, and fresh subs and salads.  Here’s a rundown for where you can find entrees under $20 at the DC Wharf.  

Falafel Inc. 

The epitome of cheap eats and doing good, Falafel Inc. makes falafel, fries, and bowls to order fresh. Everything at Falafel Inc. is vegan and the company has a partnership with the UN World Food Programme to help feed refugees in need.

Our favorites: 

  • Falafel sandwich – $3.00
  • Plant based Shawarma sandwich – $4.00
  • Zaytar Fries – $3.00
  • Hummus and Chips – $6.00



Twisted at the Wharf Pretzel

A fresh baked pretzel is often a great match for strolling the waterfront. This local pretzel shop offers sweet and savory options for a quick meal or snack. Twisted is a charitable organization that provides job training to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Our favorites:

  • Original sea salt pretzel – $6.00
  • Cinnamon sugar pretzel – $6.50
  • Pizza with pepperoni pretzel roll (made to order) $7.50 
  • Hot dogs and half smokes – $7.50


E-Tea is a fun and extra-terrestrial inspired option to cure your boba fix, hanger, or sweet tooth. Everything at E-Tea is run by local DC restaurateur Leopold Liao who also owns Renren ramen.  Everything is made fresh in-house. Follow E-Tea on Instagram and Facebook for daily tea and pastry offerings. 

Our favorites: 

  • Strawberry green tea – $5.75
  • Brown sugar milk tea – $5.75
  • Ahi tuna kimchi onigiri – $11.95
  • Vegan tofu bowl – $13.95
  • Espresso Creme Brûlée cup – $6.95

Union Pie

One of the best pizza pie’s in DC can be found at the Union Pie kiosk across from the Anthem. The Union Pie pizza is a traditional NJ thin crust “bar pie” and the perfect treat for the whole family while cruising the District Wharf. 

Our favorites:

  • Cheese & tomato whole pie – $12
  • Hot & Sweet whole pie – $14
  • White whole pie – $14


Grazie Grazie 

Grazie Grazie anchors the fast-casual food scene at District Square providing an exceptionally fresh and tasty menu for subs, salads, and sides. This restaurant is the vision of local DC restaurateur Casey Patton.

Our favorites:

  • Risotto balls – Lightly fried. Served with marinara. – $6.00 
  • Philly special Grass-fed shaved ribeye, cherry pepper aioli, bacon, cooper sharp, and LTO.    – $15.00
  • Forager – Local mushrooms, lemon cashew spread, cherry peppers, roasted garlic tahini, toasted cashews, crispy onions, fresh basil. $14.00
  • Loria – Shredded kale, avocado, roasted tomato hummus, cucumber, grape tomato, red onions, pepperincini, toasted cashew, and fresh oregano. Dressed with roasted garlic tahini dressing. $13.00

Colada Shop

A taste of Cuba in SWDC. Colada Shop is locally owned and provides friendly service with an all day menu.  

Our favorites:

  • Jamón (ham) Croquetas – béchamel-based cuban fritters with ham – $3.50
  • Guava & Cheese Pastelito – guava and cheese-filled caribbean-style pastry – $3.75
  • Huevos a la Cubana* – two eggs baked in sofrito, tomato, & queso fresco – $14.95
  • Mojo Pork Breakfast Sandwich – mojo pork, fresh egg & swiss cheese served on brioche bread – $8.75







A local company, which originated at the District Wharf, Toastique provides fresh toast options including avocado, burrata, and acai in addition to bowls and smoothies.  

Our favorites:

  • Avocado Smash Toast – Avocado with watermelon radish, marinated tomatoes, chili oil, micro-greens on multigrain toast – $14.00
  • Smoked Salmon Toast – Smoked pastrami salmon, herbed cream cheese spread, arugula, cucumber, pickled onion, capers, toasty seasoning, micro-greens, lemon wedge on sourdough toast – $15.00
  • Acai Bowl – Blend of acai, strawberry, blueberry, banana, cold-pressed apple juice topped with strawberry, blueberry, banana, granola, cacao nibs, honey – $12.00






Another local DC company by the same owners of Toastique, Chopsmith provides delicious salads, sandwiches and even breakfast. 

Our favorites: 

  • Grilled Kale Caesar – grilled kale, sliced romaine hearts, hard boiled egg, red onion, parmigiano-reggiano, house made croutons, anchovies,  caesar dressing – $12.50
  • The Chopsmith – grilled flank steak, gourmet greens, roasted potatoes, sliced tomato, cucumber, green bell pepper, carrots, watermelon radish, caramelized onions, house made croutons, parmesan peppercorn dressing – $17.00
  • California Turkey Club – grilled multigrain bread, house roasted turkey breast, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cilantro, lemon herb aioli – $13.00



Fat Fish

This local DC company, under the same ownership as Toastique and Chopsmith, makes some of the best poke bowls as you will find in the DMV.  In addition to bowls, Fat Fish offers Temaki (hand sushi rolls), sides, and soft serve.  

Our favorites:

  • Bang Bang Shrimp – sweet shrimp with crispy tempura, seaweed slaw, avocado, pickled onions, cucumber, scallions, sesame seeds, spicy mayo & sweet chili, garlic sesame dressing, sweet soy, crispy jalapeños $16.50
  • Sweet Sea Salmon – poke salmon, scallions, seaweed slaw, cucumber, avocado, pickled ginger, mixed greens, seasoned sticky rice, spicy mayo, sweet soy, shredded nori, sesame seeds – $16.50
  • Spicy Tuna Temaki – spicy tuna, avocado, jalapeño, scallion, furikake, spicy mayo – $7.50

District Doughnut

DC based, District Doughnut, makes the most delicious doughnuts in the DMV! Located next to FatFish at Market Square, dozen doughnuts are $24, half dozen $15, and individual doughnuts are $4. 

Our favorites: 

  • Brown Butter
  • Vanilla Creme Brûlée 
  • Funfetti


DC’s favorite fresh-Mex opened at the Wharf in 2020 and has been serving up tacos, bowls, and burritos ever since. Surfside is a good option for families and friends and post-show munchies. 

Our favorites: 

  • Birria Tacos – Braised beef brisket, jack cheese, sweet onions & cilantro, corn tortillas and Yucatan au jus. $16.95
  • Nevis – Grilled shrimp, yellow rice, pineapple mango salsa, guacamole, cilantro, lime crema, corn tortillas. $13.95
  • Bonaire – Grilled chicken, pico de gallo, lime crema, jack cheese, yellow rice. $12.95


SW Soda Pop Shop

Remember the excitement you had as a kid when you went to the neighborhood ice cream stand?  Southwest Soda Pop Shop is that place. A family owned ice cream stand, it is a throwback with super friendly staff and yummy treats including cones, shakes, and chillers.  Located on Maine Ave. near the Fish Market, Soda Pop has what you need on a hot day.

Our favorites:

  • Southwest Chiller
  • Root Beer Float
  • Black Raspberry



Jessie Taylor Seafood 

This family owned business has been purveying fresh seafood for the historic Municipal Fish Market for 90 years. Fresh fish, Maryland blue crab, shrimp, lobster, and shellfish are neatly presented on iced barges. You can pick up fresh seafood to take home and prepare yourself, or  they will cook it for you on-site. Prices change daily based on market prices but most everything is less than $20 per pound. 

Our favorites:

  • Oysters
  • Lobster Shrimp
  • Salmon



© 2024 Wharf Life DC | Washington, DC

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?