If your little one has a birthday coming up but the thought of having another pizza party makes you cringe, keep reading. You don’t have to rack your brain or slave away in the kitchen to dazzle your kid’s friends with unique and fun party food. Why? Because you live in D.C., hailed as one of the top 10 best food cities in the country! Peruse our list of places to score party food that’s not pizza, and you’ll see that an unforgettable birthday experience is just around the corner.

good-stuff-eateryPhoto: Good Stuff Eatery via Facebook

Artisan Burgers
Whether your little one sticks to a basic beef burger or something a bit more adventurous, you cannot go wrong with a party featuring burgers, fries and milkshakes. The Good Stuff Eatery takes these yummy staples to a whole new level. Natural farm-raised beef, dairy fresh cheeses, and tons of delicious toppings means your guest of honor can build a unique birthday burger all her own. Try the Prez Obama Burger with applewood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo sauce; or the ‘Shroom Burger with muenster and cheddar-stuffed Portobello mushroom tops; or the Blazin’ Barn burger with pickled daikon & carrots, mint, cilantro, and Thai basil mayo. There’s also plenty of handcut fries to go around, and some decadently scrumptious desserts. Who needs a birthday cake when you can celebrate with toasted marshmallow, red velvet and salty caramel hand spun shakes? Locations at Capitol Hill, Georgetown and Crystal City.

Good Stuff Eatery
202-543-8222
Online: goodstuffeatery.com

panas-empanadasPhoto: Panas Gourmet via Facebook

Empanadas
Inspire the kiddos with a party catered by Panas Gourmet Empanadas featuring crescent-shaped turnovers stuffed with seasoned combinations of meats, veggies, spices, fruits and sweets. With recipes inspired by Latin Fusion cuisine, empanadas from Panas are made from fresh, all natural dough and are baked rather than fried, which gives them a lighter, healthier feel. Flavors such as chipotle steak, chicken pesto, fiesta cheese, and smoked eggplant are just a few of the yummy options. Dipping sauces vary from mild to spicy.

Panas Gourmet Empanadas
2029 P St., NW (Dupont Circle)
202-223-2964
4731-A Elm St. (Bethesda, Md)
301-657-7371
Online: panasgourmet.com

nandos-peri-chickenPhoto: Nando’s Peri-Peri via Facebook

Portuguese-Style Chicken Wings
Fire up your little foodie’s birthday with flame-grilled chicken from Nando’s where famous, Portuguese style dishes can bring a spicy twist to any birthday party. Nando’s chicken is marinated for 24 hours and then basted and cooked in a seasoned Peri Peri sauce. You can cater your party with a platter of drumsticks or wings and watch the kids dig in. Choose from a variety of dipping sauces including mango-lime, lemon-herb, and from mild to medium to super spicy. There are several locations throughout the metro area. You can also order online.

Nando’s Peri Peri
Online: nandosperiperi.com

teasim-bento-boxPhoto: Priya F. via Yelp

Bento Boxes
Having a tea party? Add some Asian flare with delicious Bento boxes from Teaism. These Japanese meal boxes are artfully designed and perfectly matched for flavor and fun. Choose from the Chicken Bento with grilled chicken and Japanese-style sauce, cucumber-ginger salad, sweet potatoes and brown rice, the Vegetarian Bento with marinated tempey, broccolini and spaghetti squash, coconut kabocha and smokey-salted pears, or the Handroll Bento with tea-cured salmon, nori, cabbage, miso mayonnaise and brown rice. You can also choose from dozens of flavors of specialty teas. Locations at Dupont Circle, Lafayette Park, and Old Town Alexandria.

Teaism
Online: teaism.com

mitsitam-cafePhoto: Justin C. via Yelp

Global Cuisine
Take your party guests on a taste extravaganza at Mitsitam Café, a popular downtown cafeteria-style dining option that features exceptional cuisines from Mesoamerica, the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, and the Great Plains. Each regional food station depicts the life ways and related cooking techniques, ingredients and flavors found in both traditional and contemporary native dishes. Arrange for a private chef’s tasting where a staff member will give your group a tour of the food stations and the menu. Make your child’s party the ultimate educational experience with a tour of the museum followed by a special meal at the café. You can also place large orders to go.

Mitsitam Cafe
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
4th St. at Independence Ave., SW
202-633-6644
Online: mitsitamcafe.com

What’s on the menu for your kids next birthday party? Tell us in the Comments section below. 

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—Jamy Bond