The diner scene in the D.C. area has long been lackluster, but could that be changing? A number of diners—including a couple with 24-hour aspirations—are opening. Olivia’s Diner opened on 19th Street NW this summer. On the way: Slim’s Diner in Petworth, Blue Diner on H Street NE, and Community in Bethesda.
“You have to save it. It’s disappearing,” says Medium Rare owner Mark Bucher, who’s behind Community. “I grew up with it, and I live in Bethesda, and Bethesda needs it.”
Bucher’s “urban diner,” which will be located on the ground floor of a new condo building at 7770 Norfolk Ave., will serve American comfort food and breakfast all day. There will be no twists on this or updated takes on that. It’s “straight down the center of the bowling lane,” Bucher says. Think omelets, pancakes, waffles, and egg sandwiches for breakfast. Lunch will include burgers, matzo ball soup, big salads, and open-faced turkey and roast beef sandwiches. In the evenings, Community will serve “old school complete dinners” with soup or salad and an entree like roast chicken or New York strip steak. Todd Harrington, the former executive chef of Central in Las Vegas and corporate chef for Yardbird in Las Vegas and Miami, will oversee the kitchen.
The 100-seat restaurant with 90-seat patio won’t have your stereotypical ’50s diner look. Bucher says it will be less like Silver Diner and more like The Continental, Stephen Starr‘s modern Philadelphia restaurant. There will also be a full bar—but no 24 hour service.
Renderings courtesy Mark Bucher