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Chef-Endorsed Diners: Where They Go for Grease

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After a long night in their restaurant, chefs need a break. Specifically a chili dog, burger, or biscuits and gravy break. Here's where local chefs head when they're craving diner food.

Matt Kuhn, the new executive chef of Ardeo + Bardeo, says, "Fast Gourmet on 14th Street is great for a late night sandwich and crazy crowd. It gets a little greasy late night. This place definitely inspires me when I come up with crazy brunch sandwiches or a new burger set. Say for instance, on Ardeo's new burger. We are going to do a pimento cheese (Whiz)."

John Melfi, the chef de cuisine at Blue Duck Tavern, heads to The Diner in Adams Morgan. "I like to order two eggs over easy with bacon, hash browns and toast," he says. "I also enjoy the Florida Avenue Grill for its biscuits and gravy and grits."

Nick Stefanelli of Bibiana likes Metro 29 on Lee Highway. He says that his grandfather was a "diner fanatic," and the family used to go there or to the Double T Diner in Frederick.

Marjorie Meek-Bradley, the executive chef at Ripple, goes to Ted's Bulletin. "They have a great breakfast plate with everything on it and I get a side of biscuits and gravy," she says.

Graham Bartlett, the Regional Executive Chef of Richard Sandoval Restaurants, says that one of his favorite spots to go late night with other chefs is Yechon Korean restaurant in Annandale. "For people in the restaurant business who typically work late, it's great," he says. "It's an easy spot for chefs and friends to meet up after work or when visiting chefs are in town. The food is conducive for sharing and there are plenty of spicy options to go with a beer or soju. The thing I always order is the spicy pork and tofu—it more than lives up the name."

And sometimes, those favorite diners are in other cities. Bill Butcher of Port City Brewing Company has a favorite diner in South Nags Head, NC. "Sam & Omie's Diner is an Outer Banks institution!" he says. "This old, dark wood, sandy diner is a classic. I go there every year to cool off when I'm in Nags Head, and have for over 20 years. My trip to OBX is not complete without a Sam & Omie's crab cake sandwich and a couple of cold North Carolina beers."

Dolcezza's Robb Duncan likes Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia. He loves the chili dogs with a side of chopped Vidalia onions, an order of onion rings, and an ice-cold Coke. As a kid, he would stand in the doorway and watch them cut, batter and fry the onion rings, made from the Georgia sweet Vidalia onions.

Greg McCarty of Nopa Kitchen + Bar says that Sandy's in East Harlem has been his go-to diner for years. "I haven't found a DC substitute yet so I miss it every night when I get out of work," he says. "The Cuban Chicken Sandwich is the must-have dish for me. In front of you they remove the rich and well-seasoned chicken from its rotisserie and chop it with a cleaver. They press it with mayo and hot sauce between what I'll call French bread. It's toasted just enough to be crispy on the outside while staying succulent on the inside. It's a primary inspiration behind NoPa's porchetta sandwich, which is Cuban in style."
—Amy Cavanaugh
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Fast Gourmet [Photo: Facebook]

Ted's Bulletin

505 8th Street Southeast, , DC 20003 (202) 544-8337 Visit Website

Fast Gourmet

1400 W Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 202 448 9217