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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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Ardeo + Bardeo

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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.

Ambar Balkan Cuisine

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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.

The Majestic

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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.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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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.

The dish: In a regionally appropriate alteration, the crab cake Reuben is made with lump Maryland crab, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut on rye bread.

Sticky Fingers Bakery

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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.

Ted's Bulletin

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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.

The dish: The Proof tuna melt is made with tuna conserve, egg, shallot, provolone, and bibb lettuce on a buttery brioche bun.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

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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.

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.

Room 11

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The dish: Room 11 serves a classic grilled cheese sandwich with spicy marinara sauce and a salad.

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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The dish: The Source also offers a crab BLT, with a Maryland crab cake, bacon, and curry remoulade.

Ardeo + Bardeo

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.

Ambar Balkan Cuisine

The dish: Stroganoff gets an upgrade with a grilled beef tenderloin version. Ambar also uses cremini mushrooms, cornichons, and creamy veal jus.

The Majestic

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.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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.

Azur

The dish: In a regionally appropriate alteration, the crab cake Reuben is made with lump Maryland crab, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut on rye bread.

Sticky Fingers Bakery

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.

Ted's Bulletin

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.

Proof

The dish: The Proof tuna melt is made with tuna conserve, egg, shallot, provolone, and bibb lettuce on a buttery brioche bun.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

The dish: The classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combo goes upscale, with a cheddar and Gruyere version on buttered Texas toast.

Cork

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.

Room 11

The dish: Room 11 serves a classic grilled cheese sandwich with spicy marinara sauce and a salad.

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

The dish: The Source also offers a crab BLT, with a Maryland crab cake, bacon, and curry remoulade.

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