Aramark becomes new foodservice partner of D.C. Convention Center, which is getting upgrades

Walter E. Washington Convention Center operator announces changes

Events DC announced Aramark as the new food and beverage master concessionaire and caterer for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Events DC is the sports and entertainment authority of Washington, D.C. ,operating most sporting event venues in the city, and several entertainment sites. Aramark took over during the 2019 Auto Show, working with the Washington Area New Auto Dealers Association.

In the new partnership with the convention center, Aramark will consolidate marketing, branding and sales of food & beverage under “DC Eats.” Said the announcement, “The DC Eats brand represents a commitment to creating a distinct and authentic experience that embodies Washington, D.C.’s diversity, cultural heritage and flourishing culinary scene.”

Additionally, Events DC plans to conduct a major renovation of the Grand Lobby. Aramark will be setting up mobile food options there once the work is completed. And a new food market, representing local fare, will open at the L Street entrance to the convention center.

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Aramark, as one of the premier hospitality organizations across the nation,” said Samuel Thomas, senior vice president and general manager of Events DC and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in a statement. “With this partnership, we are excited to expand our food offerings paired with exceptional service.”

TallBoy is one of several exciting restaurant concepts around the convention center, which will now elevate its own foodservice program. Photo by Beyond Studios for TallBoy.
TallBoy is one of several exciting restaurant concepts around the convention center, which will now elevate its own foodservice program. Photo by Beyond Studios for TallBoy.

The neighborhood around the Convention Center has been evolving as D.C. has become a food destination. The Unconventional Diner opened to rave reviews in January 2018. In March of this year, TallBoy, a grilled cheese, wings and beer concept, opened in the former space of Smoked & Stacked. Events DC appears to want to elevate the foodservice program at the convention center to match the neighborhoods surrounding it.

[Related story: TallBoy in Shaw opens]

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is actually a collection of three buildings, one of which is reserved for administrative and facilities use. The Washington Business Journal reported that the convention center received approval from the National Capital Planning Commission for a rooftop terrace, with an entryway comprising stairs along the back of this third facilities building on N Street.

The Journal is also reporting the convention center will receive upgrades to the exterior, new retail kiosk space for pop-up food venues designed with red-tinted glass awnings to add color to the retail promenade facade. The convention center will also add additional exterior seating along the sidewalks and plazas there. What’s more, it will add exterior planters and mural art to its exterior walls.. The relationship with Aramark will also redesign the catering menu for the convention center’s event clients and offer them more exciting options.

Aramark will elevate and expand foodservice options at the Walter E. Convention Center. Photo by Eatery Pulse Media.
Aramark will elevate and expand foodservice options at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Photo by Eatery Pulse Media.

Aramark is already a food and beverage provider at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights, which is also managed by Events DC. Also, the Philadelphia-based foodservice contractor is the official concessionaire of the popular Capital One Arena, operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Aramark currently provides janitorial services at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Photo credit: Events DC (featured), Beyond Studios (inline 1), Eatery Pulse Media (inline 2)

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