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While the D.C. area does have a few diners here and there, Washingtonians still love to bemoan the dying breed, especially after the closure of Capital City Diner in 2012. The good news is that the diner appears to be making a comeback. Here are four very different types of diners that are on their way:
Blue Diner 1248-1250 H St. NE. Opening: Spring 2016
Father and son owners Larry and Justin Harbin aim to create a “modernized version of a traditional diner” with influences from around the world. (The menu is still a work in progress, but Justin says to expect some California Baja flare.) The 160-seat restaurant will have booths and counter seating, but the look will be a bit brighter and more modern than the ’50s-era diner. Blue Diner will include blue in its color scheme and feature live blues performances on certain nights. Depending on demand, the owners would like to keep the place open 24 hours.
Community 7770 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda Opening: Spring 2016
Medium Rare owner Mark Bucher aims to bring back the diners he grew up with by serving American comfort food and breakfast all day. Chef Todd Harrington, the former executive chef of Central in Las Vegas, will serve straight-forward omelets, pancakes, waffles, and egg sandwiches for breakfast. Burgers, matzo ball soup, and open-faced turkey and roast beef sandwiches will be available for lunch. “Old school complete dinners” will include soup or salad with an entree like roast chicken or New York strip steak. The 100-seat restaurant with 90-seat patio—less than a block from Tastee Diner—won’t be open 24 hours a day, but it will have a full bar.
Fare Well 406 H St. NE Opening: Fall 2015
Bacon and sausage may be traditional diner staples, but you won’t find either at Doron Petersan’s vegan diner, bar, and bakery. The owner of Sticky Fingers will offer plenty of baked goods, a grab-and-go lunch counter, and American comfort food staples with “classic diner-style service and seating.” Expect house-baked breads like focaccia and challah as well as sticky buns, cupcakes, and pies. At a pop-up last month, Fare Well also previewed dishes like walnut lentil seitan loaf and roasted pepper and tofu frittata strata. The bar will feature beer and wine on tap, and W Hotel bartender Joe Ambrose will create cocktails.
Slim’s Diner 4201 Georgia Ave. NW Opening: November/December 2015
Crane & Turtle and Petworth Citizen owner Paul Ruppert is expanding his footprint in Petworth with this traditional diner featuring all-day breakfast. Slim’s gets its name from a carpenter who for years has worked on Ruppert’s restaurants. As Ruppert told Petworth News, “He has never met a stranger. We admire his friendly attitude and hard work ethic and believe that his name captures the friendly, accessible vibe that we want to offer at the new diner.” The business has also been trying to get the community involved by soliciting their input on important topics such as hash browns versus home fries.
Rendering courtesy Community