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A Look at Diner-Esque Food at Chef-Driven Restaurants

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Chefs find inspiration for dishes everywhere—in their travels, from their childhood dinner tables, and in diner classics. Whether it's crab cake BLTs or liver and onions, here's where to find chef spins on diner staples.
—Amy Cavanaugh


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ardeo + Bardeo

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3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 244-6750
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The dishes: There are several diner upgrades at Ardeo, including the BLT, made with Benton's bacon, smoked tomato, relish, and a fried egg. The country-fried steak comes with sausage gravy and over easy eggs, while the late-night favorite cheese fries are made with cheddar fondue, bacon, and chives.

2. Ambar Balkan Cuisine

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523 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 813-3039
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The dish: Stroganoff gets an upgrade with a grilled beef tenderloin version. Ambar also uses cremini mushrooms, cornichons, and creamy veal jus.

3. The Majestic

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911 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
The dishes: Chef Shannon Overmiller serves home-style meatloaf with green beans, bacon, whipped potatoes and pan gravy. There’s also liver and onions, improved with caramelized onions, lardons, and veal glacé.

4. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009-4307
(202) 319-1612
The dish: The Pennsylvania Amish Chicken Dinner is an all dark meat fried chicken dinner served with bacon braised organic greens, salt roasted potatoes and creamy slaw.

5. Azur

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405 8th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 347-7491
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The dish: In a regionally appropriate alteration, the crab cake Reuben is made with lump Maryland crab, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut on rye bread.

6. Sticky Fingers Bakery

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1370 Park Rd NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 299-9700
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The dishes: For vegan spins on greasy spoon classics, Sticky Fingers has the TLT, made with tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Vegenaise. The biscuits and gravy are made with Gimme-Lean sausage, and there’s vegan mac and cheese on the side.

7. Ted's Bulletin

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505 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 544-8337
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The dishes: The Ted’s on Capitol Hill, plus the new location at 1818 14th Street, are, of course, a wealth of diner dishes. The nouveau greasy spoon includes dishes like the Walk of Shame Burrito, which Chef Eric Brannon says was inspired by a combination of things. “We’d seen other diner classics like hangover pizza – you know the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ type food. But of course we added to that the food we all need after those nights where the next morning you just… need something just a little bit stronger if you know what I mean.” There’s also buttermilk country fried steak, chili, and other diner fare.

8. Proof

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775 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 737-7663
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The dish: The Proof tuna melt is made with tuna conserve, egg, shallot, provolone, and bibb lettuce on a buttery brioche bun.

9. Jack Rose Dining Saloon

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2007 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 588-7388
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The dish: The classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combo goes upscale, with a cheddar and Gruyere version on buttered Texas toast.

10. Cork

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1720 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-2675
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The dish: The egg sandwich is reinvented at Cork, where called the pan-crisped brioche sandwich and made with prosciutto, fontina, and a sunny-side up egg.

11. Room 11

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3234 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 332-3234
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The dish: Room 11 serves a classic grilled cheese sandwich with spicy marinara sauce and a salad.

12. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 637-6100
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The dish: The Source also offers a crab BLT, with a Maryland crab cake, bacon, and curry remoulade.

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1. Ardeo + Bardeo

3311 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
The dishes: There are several diner upgrades at Ardeo, including the BLT, made with Benton's bacon, smoked tomato, relish, and a fried egg. The country-fried steak comes with sausage gravy and over easy eggs, while the late-night favorite cheese fries are made with cheddar fondue, bacon, and chives.
3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

2. Ambar Balkan Cuisine

523 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
The dish: Stroganoff gets an upgrade with a grilled beef tenderloin version. Ambar also uses cremini mushrooms, cornichons, and creamy veal jus.
523 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

3. The Majestic

911 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314
The dishes: Chef Shannon Overmiller serves home-style meatloaf with green beans, bacon, whipped potatoes and pan gravy. There’s also liver and onions, improved with caramelized onions, lardons, and veal glacé.
911 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

4. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

1612 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009-4307
The dish: The Pennsylvania Amish Chicken Dinner is an all dark meat fried chicken dinner served with bacon braised organic greens, salt roasted potatoes and creamy slaw.
1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009-4307

5. Azur

405 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
The dish: In a regionally appropriate alteration, the crab cake Reuben is made with lump Maryland crab, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut on rye bread.
405 8th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

6. Sticky Fingers Bakery

1370 Park Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010
The dishes: For vegan spins on greasy spoon classics, Sticky Fingers has the TLT, made with tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Vegenaise. The biscuits and gravy are made with Gimme-Lean sausage, and there’s vegan mac and cheese on the side.
1370 Park Rd NW
Washington, DC 20010

7. Ted's Bulletin

505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
The dishes: The Ted’s on Capitol Hill, plus the new location at 1818 14th Street, are, of course, a wealth of diner dishes. The nouveau greasy spoon includes dishes like the Walk of Shame Burrito, which Chef Eric Brannon says was inspired by a combination of things. “We’d seen other diner classics like hangover pizza – you know the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ type food. But of course we added to that the food we all need after those nights where the next morning you just… need something just a little bit stronger if you know what I mean.” There’s also buttermilk country fried steak, chili, and other diner fare.
505 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

8. Proof

775 G St NW, Washington, DC 20001
The dish: The Proof tuna melt is made with tuna conserve, egg, shallot, provolone, and bibb lettuce on a buttery brioche bun.
775 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001

9. Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
The dish: The classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combo goes upscale, with a cheddar and Gruyere version on buttered Texas toast.
2007 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

10. Cork

1720 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
The dish: The egg sandwich is reinvented at Cork, where called the pan-crisped brioche sandwich and made with prosciutto, fontina, and a sunny-side up egg.
1720 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

11. Room 11

3234 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
The dish: Room 11 serves a classic grilled cheese sandwich with spicy marinara sauce and a salad.
3234 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

12. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

575 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
The dish: The Source also offers a crab BLT, with a Maryland crab cake, bacon, and curry remoulade.
575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

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