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Actors, politicians, athletes, musicians…they all eventually make their way to the Old Ebbitt Grill. So what’s the attraction? It’s not just the food, says GM Kyle Gaffney. It’s the busy-ness of the place.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the place is always hopping. “There’s an energy where people’s awareness is not so acute,” says Gaffney.

Which means that the rich and famous can often eat here without drawing a lot of attention. The list of stars who have dined here is deep: athletes like Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling; musicians like Stevie WonderPrince, and The Grateful Dead (yes, the Grateful Dead dines at the Ebbitt); and actors like Sean Penn, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, and Harrison Ford.

When he testified before Congress last year on steroids, Roger Clemens came in and ordered the pot roast sandwich made with Wagyu beef. He then came in the next seven days in a row, Gaffney says. Sometimes twice a day. There were even calls from the hotel for pot roast sandwiches to go.

Before I could even suggest it, Gaffney reads my mind:

“It was comfort food.”