Mono Diner is a few weeks away from its big debut, hoping to bring the glitz and glamour around legendary actresses like Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe to a major artery in Georgetown.
The new diner (1424 Wisconsin Avenue NW) is projected to serve all-day breakfast and stay open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays — and operate 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. on other days — to sustain late-night drinkers and Georgetown University students looking for a new study spot.
To encapsulate the booming Hollywood era of the 1940s, bar stool seats resemble large champagne corks, movie set-style spotlights take aim at stars’ black-and-white framed portraits, and velvet curtains reminiscent of a red carpet will line the doors. Menu items carry themed names like Ingénue, Spotlight, and Golden Globe.
Written etchings on its white walls will spell out stories of featured icons like Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Elizabeth Taylor.
“All these people have their own mystique — we want the diner to be a remembrance for that age in Hollywood,” says general manager Eric Spruill-Jenkins, adding “there is like nothing like that anymore in terms of movie stars — the hottest thing today is gone tomorrow.”
Spruill-Jenkins, formerly a corporate trainer with the now-shuttered Uncle Maddio’s Pizza in Frederick, Maryland, met the building’s owner Mohammad Esfahani through a work contact. Mono Diner’s retro look and menu is inspired by some of the refined restaurants and diners Esfahani’s family runs in Montreal. Spruill-Jenkins traveled with Esfahani to see those establishments in action and took note of dishes’ consistency and stylish French presentations.
Mono Diner’s menu details are slim for now, but Spruill-Jenkins says in-house desserts will have a starring role. There’s a banana split “cake” in the works, as well as a flight of four or five desserts served in shot glasses. All-day breakfast service will be joined by lunch and dinner items as the day progresses. There’s no alcohol out of the gate, he says, but that may change.
Spruill-Jenkins, who grew up in D.C., hopes to cash in on the neighborhood’s recent renaissance.
“Georgetown was very different when I was a kid,” he says, recalling the days of Halloween block parties and packed streets. “It’s kind of reemerging now.”
Nearby newcomers include Reverie, Dyllans Raw Bar Grill, High Street Cafe, and America Eats Tavern.
He’s also teaming up with Esfahani to roll out a large-scale expansion of homegrown fast-casual brand All About Burger, hoping to open its latest location inside the new Ballston Quarter food hall next to Chik-Fil-A at the end of the month. Another will debut in Chinatown in February or March, along with two more Virginia locations coming to Woodbridge and along Lee Highway.
Scroll on for a look inside Mono Diner, which is waiting on a few approvals before arriving later this month or early February.