So you’re a vegetarian/vegan and going to SPX …
In years past, you’d just go to Vegetable Garden. It was all vegetarian (vegan, actually, I believe) and while it wasn’t the world’s greatest restaurant, it was fun and it was tradition.
Tragically, Vegetable Garden has closed! What are we going to do????
If you’re just vegetarian (no meat or fish, but dairy and eggs), you won’t have any problems. I wouldn’t go to the nearby McDonalds, but you’re smart enough to not do that. But if you need some more guidance (especially if you’re vegan), here are a few places within walking distance (~1 mile) that will help you out.
Ize’s Deli and Bagelry serves, well, bagels, but they’re good. It’s in the same strip that Vegetable Garden was. They don’t have a non-diary cream cheese, but the hummus bagel (they even call it “Vegan” on the menu!) is quite good. This is often my lunch go-to.
Mediterranean House of Kabob is also in the same strip and has a few veggie options. Both the falafel sandwich and veggie platter look vegan as-is and I imagine you can get them to leave the cheese off the sandwiches.
A little farther out is The Original Ambrosia Restaurant and has a mix of mostly Middle Eastern foods. Siena’s Restaurant is a kosher pizza place with fake meat toppings. While they don’t have a non-diary cheese, they do have a cheeseless pizza right on the menu. (I haven’t eaten at either of these places so I can’t tell you if the food is good or bad.)
Seven Seas is probably the closest you’ll get to replicating your Vegetable Garden memories with Asian food within walking distance (there is also Yuan Fu, which is all vegetarian, but you’d either need to drive or take a cab).
As far as chain restaurants go, there is a Chipotle (but don’t do it! Also, the pinto beans aren’t vegan). There’s a Chop’t, too, if you want to pay a lot for a salad (they do offer a helpful PDF chart).
There is a Harris Teeter grocery store nearby, but I’m not particularly impressed with the store’s pre-prepared foods. Still, a grocery store is a grocery store. Awesomely, MOM’s Organic Market moved within walking distance within the past year. They say there’s a lunch counter that’s open daily, so that might be a good option. And of course, there’s a Whole Foods that’s about a half mile away.
(The area isn’t the most pedestrian-friendly, although there are sidewalks. Just be careful, everyone!)
If you’re willing/have the time to hop on the Metro, VegDC should be your first stop. There are many awesome veggie-friendly restaurants in the DC area (we actually have the largest number of vegetarians per capita in the country according to some survey).
But I’m serious when I say if you’re a vegetarian, just find me and I’ll see what I can do to help you out. I am really good at this game. At the very least, I may have a Clif Bar or two to offer you.