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Florida Avenue Grill
Florida Avenue Grill
R. Lopez

These D.C. Diners Are (Really, Truly) Actual Diners

Save the boozy milkshakes and small plates for another day.

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Florida Avenue Grill
| R. Lopez

The term "diner" gets thrown around a lot in D.C. It's a problem because real diners adhere to somewhat strict standards. First, the food has to be greasy, and the options should be nearly unlimited — usually about eight menu pages or more.

Then, there's the inexpensive price point. Diners are there for the working man, the retiree, the off-duty cop, and the 20-something who can barely afford rent. States like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have figured this out. Their diners are located on busy highways or in city centers and run on a 24-hour cycle.

Here's what a diner certainly is not: diners should not be "flexitarian" (sorry: Silver Diner). They don't serve boozy milkshakes and fancy Pop-Tarts (sorry: Ted's Bulletin). Usually, they also avoid food trends at all costs, as well as things like "small plates" (sorry: The Diner).

Now, back to the basics. A diner is a gathering place for the most important meal of the day —” breakfast — and it's quick, convenient, cheap, and filling. So, in honor of Eater breakfast week, here are the D.C. diners that are truly diners.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. American City Diner

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5532 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20015
(202) 244-1949
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In upper Northwest, the American City Diner offers blue plate specials and themed movie nights.

2. Barnside Diner

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6306 Little River Tpke
Alexandria, VA 22312
(703) 256-3318
Look for the red roof off the Little River Turnpike. Barnside Diner serves diner staples and operates 24/7.

3. Bob & Edith's Diner

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2310 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 920-6103
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After decades of service, Virginians are still staunchly loyal to Bob & Edith’s. Order the 2-2-2 special— homemade biscuits, steak, and eggs.

4. City Diner

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5616 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041
(703) 671-4108
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City Diner offers breakfast around-the-clock. The portions are huge, and the menu skews Mediterranean for lunch and dinner.

5. College Park Diner

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9206 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD 20740
(301) 441-8888
Another 24/7 spot is College Park Diner. It's a favorite for college students at nearby University of Maryland.

6. Deli City

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2200 Bladensburg Rd NE
Washington, D.C. 20018
(202) 526-1800
Don't be fooled by the name. Deli City is actually a diner-esque restaurant with some of the best scrapple in D.C. Also, be sure to pay your respects to Ms. Delores, a life-long employee who helps manage the restaurant.

7. Florida Avenue Grill

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1100 Florida Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 265-1586
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The Florida Avenue Grill calls itself the "oldest soul food restaurant in the world." It’s also a greasy spoon where it's worth saddling up to the bar. It’s the kind of place where it's customary to order a half-smoke as a side.

8. Jimmy T's Place

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501 E Capitol St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
(202) 546-3646
A favorite for Capitol Hill residents, Jimmy T’s is a cash-only, tightly packed diner that's known primarily for it’s reliable service and low prices.

9. Lincoln's Waffle Shop

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504 10th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 638-4009
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The downtown area is mostly devoid of diners, which is why Lincoln’s Waffle Shop is so essential. It’s located across from Ford’s Theater and is known for dishes like home fries and waffles, of course.

10. Metro 29 Diner

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4711 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA 22207
(703) 528-2464
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This Arlington diner has a distinctly New York vibe, but it definitely passes on pretentiousness. Instead you get breakfast all day, plus late-night hours.

11. Nick's Diner

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11199 Veirs Mill Rd
Silver Spring, MD 20902
(301) 933-5459
Nick’s Diner is family-owned and operated since it started serving breakfast more than 34 years ago. It has a historic status in Wheaton, and it’s a cash-only spot, open seven-days-a-week for breakfast and lunch.

12. Osman & Joe's Steak 'n Egg Kitchen

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4700 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20016
(202) 686-1201
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This place doesn't have the look and feel of a classic diner, but it's a Tenleytown institution with cheap, late night dining.

13. Pete's Diner

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212 2nd St SE
Washington, D.C. 20543
(202) 544-7335
Politicians can’t agree on much, but they do agree Pete’s is the place for breakfast. The diner is a come-as-you-are favorite for Hill staffers. It also makes a mean bulgogi.

14. Plato's Diner

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7150 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD 20740
(301) 779-7070
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Another College Park favorite is Plato’s, a Greek diner that specializes in gyros and Greek omelets.

15. Tastee Diner

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7731 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 652-3970
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Tastee Diner has two locations in Bethesda and Silver Spring. It’s open 24-hours a day, and each booth comes with its own jukebox. The hotcakes are the main attraction here.

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1. American City Diner

5532 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20015
In upper Northwest, the American City Diner offers blue plate specials and themed movie nights.
5532 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20015

2. Barnside Diner

6306 Little River Tpke, Alexandria, VA 22312
Look for the red roof off the Little River Turnpike. Barnside Diner serves diner staples and operates 24/7.
6306 Little River Tpke
Alexandria, VA 22312

3. Bob & Edith's Diner

2310 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204
After decades of service, Virginians are still staunchly loyal to Bob & Edith’s. Order the 2-2-2 special— homemade biscuits, steak, and eggs.
2310 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204

4. City Diner

5616 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041
City Diner offers breakfast around-the-clock. The portions are huge, and the menu skews Mediterranean for lunch and dinner.
5616 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041

5. College Park Diner

9206 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740
Another 24/7 spot is College Park Diner. It's a favorite for college students at nearby University of Maryland.
9206 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD 20740

6. Deli City

2200 Bladensburg Rd NE, Washington, D.C. 20018
Don't be fooled by the name. Deli City is actually a diner-esque restaurant with some of the best scrapple in D.C. Also, be sure to pay your respects to Ms. Delores, a life-long employee who helps manage the restaurant.
2200 Bladensburg Rd NE
Washington, D.C. 20018

7. Florida Avenue Grill

1100 Florida Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
The Florida Avenue Grill calls itself the "oldest soul food restaurant in the world." It’s also a greasy spoon where it's worth saddling up to the bar. It’s the kind of place where it's customary to order a half-smoke as a side.
1100 Florida Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

8. Jimmy T's Place

501 E Capitol St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
A favorite for Capitol Hill residents, Jimmy T’s is a cash-only, tightly packed diner that's known primarily for it’s reliable service and low prices.
501 E Capitol St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

9. Lincoln's Waffle Shop

504 10th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
The downtown area is mostly devoid of diners, which is why Lincoln’s Waffle Shop is so essential. It’s located across from Ford’s Theater and is known for dishes like home fries and waffles, of course.
504 10th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

10. Metro 29 Diner

4711 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207
This Arlington diner has a distinctly New York vibe, but it definitely passes on pretentiousness. Instead you get breakfast all day, plus late-night hours.
4711 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA 22207

11. Nick's Diner

11199 Veirs Mill Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20902
Nick’s Diner is family-owned and operated since it started serving breakfast more than 34 years ago. It has a historic status in Wheaton, and it’s a cash-only spot, open seven-days-a-week for breakfast and lunch.
11199 Veirs Mill Rd
Silver Spring, MD 20902

12. Osman & Joe's Steak 'n Egg Kitchen

4700 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016
This place doesn't have the look and feel of a classic diner, but it's a Tenleytown institution with cheap, late night dining.
4700 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

13. Pete's Diner

212 2nd St SE, Washington, D.C. 20543
Politicians can’t agree on much, but they do agree Pete’s is the place for breakfast. The diner is a come-as-you-are favorite for Hill staffers. It also makes a mean bulgogi.
212 2nd St SE
Washington, D.C. 20543

14. Plato's Diner

7150 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740
Another College Park favorite is Plato’s, a Greek diner that specializes in gyros and Greek omelets.
7150 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD 20740

15. Tastee Diner

7731 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
Tastee Diner has two locations in Bethesda and Silver Spring. It’s open 24-hours a day, and each booth comes with its own jukebox. The hotcakes are the main attraction here.
7731 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

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