Dining & Dashing in DC: The Debut of the Dash App

Washington, D.C., can now officially dine & dash. No, I’m not talking about the scam in which presumably ungrateful teenagers eat a meal and then bail out before paying, screwing over the poor, unsuspecting server who’s likely going to be stuck with the tab. I’m talking about the Dash app, available both on Apple & Android, which lets you pay for your restaurant check or bar tab directly through your smartphone.

The app, already available in New York and Chicago, launched in D.C. in mid-March and is currently available at over a dozen different places.

The full list includes: Irish Channel, Jake’s American Grille & Boiler Room, Johnny’s Half Shell, Kelly’s Irish Times, Looney’s Pub, Nellie’s Sports Bar, Nick’s Riverside Grill, RedRocks – H Street, Smith Commons, Southern Hospitality, The Auld Shebeen, The Exchange, The Fainting Goat, and The Queen Vic, with Agua 301 and Capital City Brewing both listed as coming soon.

With Dash, you don’t have to wait for your check or worry about how you’re splitting up a tab. You can instantly pay for it, divvy it up amongst friends, auto-calculate your tips and pay with the card you have on file. There’s no fee to download or use the app, so you’re not paying anything for the convenience, either.

Using the app is easy. Check in at the restaurant on your phone, and tell your waiter or bartender that you’re using the app, and they’ll be able to connect your tab to Dash. Then, as soon as you order anything, you’ll see it pop up in real-time on the phone.

When you’re done, you can instantly pay, or invite a friend with the app to split the bill, with all of the math and hassle taken care of for you. No waiting for the check, no leaving your card behind at the bar, and no more lengthy, mindless conversations over who needs to pay how much and why. Anybody who’s ever spent 15 minutes debating if a burger, two wings and a beer was really the same as a burger, one wing and a cocktail, knows it’s worth it for that last point alone.

If this sounds like Uber for your bar tab, you’re certainly on the right track. You can even link up with Uber through Dash, requesting a ride to the restaurant or venue you want to go to.

I recently put the app to the test during brunch at Southern Hospitality in Adam’s Morgan…

After sitting down and telling our waitress we planned on using Dash to pay for the meal, we were met with a somewhat alarmed face – “Uh oh, that’s that thing we’re supposed to do now.” She hurried off to go figure out how to make that happen.

After a bit of a delay, she was able to get us onto their system. However, we got connected to somebody else’s check at first, as there must have been another customer using the app at the same time. She hurried off once again and this time got us correctly set up for our check to appear on Dash.

From then on it was incredibly simple — everything we ordered was instantly displayed, and you can keep track of how much you’re spending before deciding on anything else. Once we were ready to leave, we simply set our tip, paid the check, and left. You’ll get an email notification telling you how much you spent and where, with the full item-by-item breakdown of the bill. You’ll also be able to pull it up as a past tab within the app.

As for the brunch itself, Southern Hospitality offers bottomless mimosas for $15, along with other choices, such as a regular Bloody Mary ($9), Bacon Bloody Mary with bacon-infused vodka ($10) and Orange Crush ($9).

The signature item from the southern-fare menu is the chicken and waffles, with a massive boneless fried chicken breast served over four waffle wedges. The waffles, a bit dry and unimpressive, might not stand up on their own, but the chicken was juicy and well cooked, and eaten together along with an (un)healthy pour of syrup, it was a solid combination. In true southern fashion, the portions are certainly plentiful.

Several different eggs benedict varieties are available on the menu, including salmon benedict, fried chicken benedict, and eggs Chesapeake, with crab cakes. Elsewhere, you’ll also find plenty of lunch choices, such as salads, burgers and sliders, and some starters for the table to share, such as nicely prepared fried green tomatoes, or mac and cheese.

The brunch crowd was lively but not overbearing, with chilled out spots available at the bar on either level. The mimosa refills came just as quick as you’d like them to.

My overall impression of Dash is that it’s really convenient — as long as the venue’s staff knows how to use it. I assume that will be less of a problem as more people become accustomed to working with it. I’ll also look forward to Dash being available at more restaurants and bars in and around the District.

Visit PayWithDash.com to learn more about the app.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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