D.C. may not have the kind of diner culture that one finds in New Jersey or on Long Island. But look deeper, and the city and its surrounding areas still have plenty of greasy spoon standouts, some of which have stood the test of time for years. Here's a roundup of 25 important ones to note, whether for their historical status, late night hours, no-frills food or interesting quirks. Have another favorite greasy spoon? Share it in the comments.Read More
Here Are 25 of the D.C. Area's Iconic Greasy Spoons
1. Metro 29 Diner
Metro 29, located in Arlington, is one of D.C.'s few New York-style diners. It opened in 1995 and has an on-site bakery.
What to order: Corned beef hash, pancakes, Spanish omelet.
2. The Diner
The Diner is open 24/7 and is from the same family of restaurants as Tryst, The Coupe and Open City. It's particularly packed during weekend brunch.
What to order: eggs bendict, sausage stuffed pancakes, meatloaf, Croque and Dagger
3. Florida Avenue Grill
The Florida Ave. grill markets itself as the "oldest soul food restaurant in the world." It's been around since 1944, and owner Lacey C. Wilson, Jr. is a D.C. fixture.
What to order: Grits, virginia ham, scrapple.
4. Silver Diner
Silver Diner has grown from a Rockville stand-alone restaurant to a chain of successful diners reaching as far as New Jersey. Several years ago, the owners switched the menu to have more of a healthy and farm-focused bent, and the results have increased sales dramatically (while improving the food in the process).
What to order: Farm fresh eggs and salads, fruit shakes, anything with bison.
5. Bob & Edith's Diner
Bob and Edith's has been around since the late 60s, and has been a destination for late night, heart-attack-on-a-plate food since.
What to order: 2-2-2 special, homemade biscuits, steak and eggs.
6. Ben's Chili Bowl
It doesn't get more iconic — or greasy — than Ben's Chili Bowl. The historic destination has been a fixture on U street since 1958, and has seen D.C. evolve and change over the decades.
What to order: Half smoke with chili
7. La Caraquena
More of a dive than a diner (and yes, it has been featured on Guy Fieri's show), La Caraquena is an unassuming restaurant located within a motel in Falls Church. It only has a few seats, but it's a destination for its Latin American food.
What to order: Arepas such as J.P.'s favorite, sopa de frijoles.
8. Osman & Joe's Steak 'n Egg Kitchen
The unassuming Steak 'n' Egg kitchen serves up homestyle fare late at night.
What to order: Steak and eggs with mushrooms, milkshakes, scrapple
9. Tastee Diner
There are three locations of Tastee Diner throughout Maryland, and they all serve breakfast 24/7 in a classic diner car atmosphere.
What to order: Pie, daily specials like chicken and dumplings.
10. Mark's Kitchen
Mark's Kitchen has been a fixture of Takoma Park since 1990. It's been known for its vegetarian and vegan options since the beginning.
What to order: Vegetarian fare, Korean dishes, blueberry pancakes
This restaurant, adjacent to a hotel along Route 50, feels like something out of another time and place. It used to be a Three Chef's Pancake House.
What to order: Generic breakfast fare, pancakes
12. Jimmy T's Place
Jimmy T's is about as divey as it gets - a no-frills, tiny neighborhood favorite that's actually cheap.
What to order: good coffee, breakfast combos, eggs with a half smoke.
13. Oohh’s & Aahh’s
This U Street staple is known for its soul food dishes.
What to order: mac and cheese, fried chicken.
14. Amphora Restaurant
Amphora is been a Vienna option for late night fare and Greek-inspired dishes since the 1970s. It also has an on-site bakery.
What to order: pastries, peanut butter pancakes.
15. Duplex Diner
This diner, a particular favorite of the gay community, just got a design makeover.
What to order: Tater tots, meatloaf.
16. Nick's Diner
Open for breakfast and lunch only, this Greek-style is run by an entire family, and diners can catch up with owner Nick near the grill.
What to order: Greek omelet, gyros, ham off-the-bone sandwiches, home fries
17. Ollie's Trolley
The D.C. location of Ollie's Trolley is a remnant of what used to be a robust national chain. The restaurant is a particular favorite among tourists.
What to order: Cheeseburgers, fries.
18. Lincoln's Waffle Shop
Lincoln's Waffle Shop has been a breakfast option across from Ford's Theater for more than 20 years.
What to order: Waffles, club sandwich.
19. American City Diner
With blue plate specials, movie nights and a long history, American City Diner has a special place in the hearts of D.C. and Maryland residents.
What to order: Milkshakes, pizza
20. Barnside Diner
Alexandria, VA 22312-1601
This divey destination is open 24 hours and known for its quick service.
What to order: Corned beef hash
21. C.F. Folks
C.F. Folks just received a James Beard award for its iconic status in the D.C. lunch scene. The restaurant is beloved for its daily specials.
What to order: Deli sandwiches, specials, fried chicken
22. Plato's Diner
University of Maryland students are no strangers to the charms of Plato's, a Greek diner in College Park. It's been around since 1994.
What to order: Gyros, Greek food.
23. Pete's Diner
Washington, DC 20543
Pete's serves up traditional breakfast food for low prices, as well as some Asian specials.
What to order: vegetarian combo, milkshakes.
24. The Market Lunch
No stop in D.C. is complete without a trip to Market Lunch, located within Eastern Market. There's usually a line, but people wolf down their food quickly at the few tables.
What to order: crab cakes, blueberry buckwheat pancakes.
25. Fast Gourmet
Sandwiches out of a converted gas station? It doesn't get more greasy spoon than that. Fast Gourmet is also open late night.
What to order: The Chivito, the Cuban
26. Honorable Mention: Chick & Ruth's
Sure it's a bit of a drive from D.C. But the iconic Chick & Ruth's draws lines out the door no matter what time of day.
What to order: Deli sandwiches, milkshakes, crab cakes, "colossal challenges".