Whether you’re nursing a hangover, hanging out with the fam, enjoying a meal alone, want breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast, diner food always hits the spot and never goes out of style.
That’s why we’re so excited about these two new chrome-lined contenders, which serve up classic comfort food (and breakfast all day!) in settings that evoke the neon-lit eateries of yore.
The location: A high traffic corner in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle neighborhood.
The restaurateur: Mark Bucher, creator of Medium Rare and BGR.
The inspiration: “There’s a huge void in Bethesda,” says Bucher. “I’d ask my kids where we wanted to go for dinner and we could never agree.”
The space: Bucher asked designers to create a vibe that was “Brady Bunch” meets “Pulp Fiction” meets Frank Lloyd Wright. Think of a super swank ‘70’s basement crossed with a classic diner replete with a giant mural of pop culture references – from Madonna and Slinkys to “Karate Kid” and Pac-Man – and a takeout window selling doughnuts.
The food: Over the top diner fare with a penchant for Instagram-worthy gimmicks, like house-made Pop-Tarts served in a toaster, a tomahawk cut veal parm, cotton candy arriving on a mannequin’s head, and prime rib served from a cart decked out with a bike horn and flag.
The drinks: Stephen Starr veteran David Strauss conjures up an equally quixotic menu of Slurpdees (alcoholic Slurpees) – including a jalapeño margarita, orange crush, and Hemingway daiquiri – a Bloody Mary with a bacon cheeseburger slider as a garnish, and adult milkshakes, plus classic cocktails.
The location: The Art Deco styled Hecht Warehouse in Ivy City.
The restaurateur: Ari Gejdenson, president of the Mindful Restaurant Group, which owns Ghibellina, Harold Black, Sotto, and others.
The inspiration: “The first restaurant I ever opened was Ari’s Diner – a classic American diner in the middle of Florence, Italy,” says Gejdenson. “There’s a beautiful comfort to diners that’s unique, so I’ve always wanted to do another one.”
The space: Black and white patterned tiles, chrome lined mirrors, a “Jetsons”-esque pattern on the counter and tables, an open kitchen with a view of the griddle, and basil green, Chevy inspired booths with white trim.
The food: All the expected A.M. favorites – blueberry pancakes, steak and eggs, brioche French toast, Belgian waffles, two eggs your way with sausage, hash browns and toast – along with a standout burger, sandwiches and salads, plus pasta specials in evening.
The drinks: Boozy and kid-friendly milkshakes, floats, and a few wines, beers (including PBR for the hipsters), and cocktails.