Beefsteak Vegetables, Unleashed

Quick service chain serves capital residents healthy fare.

Passionate culinary innovator Jose Andres has created a small chain of quick service, healthy, mostly fresh and affordable restaurants that are attracting a diverse range of customers throughout the greater Washington, DC, area and the country.

Andres is among the chefs credited with bringing the idea of smaller plate dinners to the United States. He has taught at Harvard University and, more recently, at George Washington University, where he instructs students on how food shapes civilization.

The menu at his Beefsteak Vegetables, Unleashed restaurants is not vegetarian, but gives star treatment to plant-based foods.

“We like to call our menu vegetable-focused,” says Bennett Haynes, Beefsteak’s chief of produce. “It’s all about celebrating the flavor of vegetables and putting vegetables at the center of the plate.”

This focus on nutritious vegetable-based dishes is appealing to a diverse demographic at two Beefsteaks in Washington, DC, and a third in Bethesda, MD. Beefsteak also has partnered with the Compass Group to open a location at the Cleveland Clinic and recently launched a Beefsteak food truck at Florida International University in Miami.

Serving a broad demographic, Beefsteak’s restaurant near George Washington University draws many students and medical professionals looking for quick, yet healthy meals that fit their schedules. Its Dupont Circle location serves the neighborhood’s cosmopolitan professionals, while its Bethesda location at Westfield Montgomery Mall appeals to the area’s many families.

The bowls are prepared to order. Customers walk through the line as their bowl is assembled. Chef Andres’ method of preparing the vegetables is focused on maximizing the meal’s nutritional content.

Grains and sauces are in the center of the bowl, while blanched vegetables and fresh toppings are added.

Although vegetables are key, all is not kale, squash and spinach. “Our brand is appealing to a lot of vegetarians, but we do have proteins like chicken sausage from a local butcher and plant-based protein for our ‘Faux Joe’ burger,” says Haynes.

Whenever possible, the chain sources local produce and features a handful of seasonal dishes, including a spring menu focusing on asparagus and sugar snap peas when they come into peak season. The seasonal menu attempts to connect urban and suburban customers with nearby vegetable growers.

Throughout the May through November local season, Maryland’s Eastern Shore farms supply kale, other leafy greens, broccoli, zucchini squash, tomatoes and sweet corn. “I like to think about local as within 250 miles,” says Haynes. “There’s also a lot of great food within 500 miles.” Beefsteak also receives North Carolina sweet potatoes.

There is also an attempt to buy items other than fruits and vegetables as locally as possible.

Beefsteak Vegetables, Unleashed


800 22nd St. NW Washington, DC


Hours: Mon–Sun 10:30 a.m.- 9 p.m.


1528 Connecticut Ave

NW Washington, DC


Hours: Mon–Sun 10:30 a.m.- 9 p.m.