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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 01/13/2009

Inauguration Day Meals: 'To Go' Edition

By Julia Beizer

There's something very End Times about the Inauguration Day transportation announcements. Bridges will be closed to car traffic. Metro, a company that's in the public transportation business, is basically saying, "Hey, Public, why don't you just walk?" Bus service is increasing on Inauguration Day and bike valets are available downtown, but chances are good that people who plan on joining the festivities will spend a lot of time on their feet.

For all those needing sustenance while hoofing it to the Mall, many nearby restaurants and carryout joints stand at the ready. There are plenty of to-go options near the National Mall and certainly a few enterprising hot dog vendors, but the following restaurants are offering something a little special for the event.

Heading over from Georgetown? Sweetgreen will sell an Obama salad from the 17th through the 21st. What makes a salad an "Obama" salad? Being the hard-hitting journalist that I am, I posed this very question to Sweetgreen co-owner Nicolas Jammet. He and his colleagues researched foods the president-elect has gone on record saying he likes: The result is a mix of baby spinach, grilled chicken, broccoli, carrots, toasted almonds, basil and vinaigrette. I sampled the dish last week. Okay, so it's not so different than a regular salad, but it's tasty and the broccoli adds a delicious crunch. Jammet acknowledges that the menu item is a bit of a gimmick. "We're young, and young people were so involved with this election. We just wanted to be a part of it," he says. Other Sweetgreen specials from the 17th through the 21st: Buy an Obama salad and get a free frozen yogurt. Buy a yogurt topped with blueberries and strawberries and get $1 off. Buy any signature salad and get a free Honest Tea (another alleged fave of the prez elect).

ACKC is also jumping on the Obama bandwagon with an Obama candy bar ($8.50) and hot chocolate drink ($4.50). Both will feature mint, because as co-owner Eric Nelson put it, the owners think Obama is "cool and refreshing." The shop will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Right in the shadow of the Capitol, Johnny's Half Shell will be offering a to-go bag -- dubbed the "Stimulus Package" -- for parade watchers. The $12.50 meal includes a vegetarian soup, roll, bottled water and choice of coffee or hot chocolate. Buy four lunches and the price drops to $11 each (a $44 total in honor of the 44th president). Johnny's will be closed for private events until dinner service on the 20th, so parade goers can pick up the lunch out of sister restaurant Taqueria Nacionale from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Co-owner John Fulchino says he will open up space on the Johnny's patio for those patrons who want a sit-down place to eat their soup.

As I mentioned in this post, Good Stuff Eatery will also offer a to-go option. Expect a special lunch box filled with a cheeseburger, French fries and a drink, selling for $12 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. From 10 a.m. to noon, the Low Stars band performs outside the restaurant.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oyamel offers cups of hot chocolate to go for $5. As I wrote in November, starting at 9 a.m., Ceiba's also offering hot chocolate, along with a churro. The package costs $10.

The Legal Sea Foods on 7th Street will offer a to-go cup of clam chowder for $4.50, beginning at 11 a.m. On Jan. 20 at all Legal Sea Food locations, the chowder is 44 cents when purchased with an entree (either dine-in or carryout).

The Organic To Go locations near the White House (1311 F St. NW, 1200 19th S. NW 1700 K St. NW, 927 15th St. NW) will extend hours on Tuesday, staying open from 6 a.m. to midnight 6 p.m. Sandwiches, salads, soups and pizzas are available. Pasta dishes are $1 off all day and grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and wraps are 50 percent off after 2 p.m.

Open City will be open 24 hours a day beginning on Friday. Parade-goers who plan on marching downtown via Woodley Park can stop by the restaurant's coffee station, which will offer hot drinks and a selection of grab-and-go sandwiches and pastries, beginning at 6 a.m. on Jan. 20.

Alexandria's Buzz Bakery isn't exactly close to the festivities, but even still, the bakery offers $6.50 to-go boxes of Chicago-style popcorn, an "inaugural" iced sugar cookie and a brownie, tart or sweet potato cupcake.

It's worth keeping other Penn Quarter fast-casual spots in mind on Tuesday. Nando's Peri-Peri opens at 11:30 a.m. California Tortilla (728 7th St. NW, 202-638-2233) opens at 9 a.m. and Chop't (730 7th St. NW, 202-347-3225) opens at 10 a.m.

Jan. 15 Update: On the Fly will open eight of its to-go carts on the National Mall starting at 6 a.m. Five carts will be located outside the American History Museum and three carts will be located near the Smithsonian Castle. Different carts offer different foods, but look out for vegetarian chili, Buzz Bakery pastries, Julia's Empanadas and BarackWurst hot dogs, of course.

And, as mentioned at the very end of Tom Sietsema's chat yesterday, Rocklands Barbeque will also be there -- Barack Obama hot sauce in tow. Their carts will be located at 10th Street, just south of Pennsylvania Avenue, and 12th Street, one and a half blocks south of Pennsylvania Avenue.

-- Julia

By Julia Beizer  | January 13, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
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I saw Obama Bottled Spring Water for sale at a 7-11 on U Street and the 7-11 at 7th and Florida. They also are selling it online here: I guess this would fit well with the Inauguration Day Meals: "To Go" Edition. I think the bottles were retailing for around a $1.65.

Posted by: supernewshawk | January 14, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

$12.50 for a cup of veggie soup, roll and a coffee; $6.50 for popcorn and a cupcake; $5 for a cup of hot choc' ... . Thanks for the warning at least. People with good sense should boycott the gougers beginning now and into the future.

Posted by: IMAROVER | January 14, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: iamalice | January 15, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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