Young and Hungry

Old Ebbitt Grill Is Not a Fan of Policies

The Old Ebbitt Grill doesn't care much for hard-and-fast policies, which may seem strange for a restaurant located across the way from the White House and owned by the Clyde's Restaurant Group.

When celebrities visit the city's oldest restaurant, for instance, the staff is not required by management to act all cool. Servers, bussers, bartenders, whoever can ask for autographs or pictures, says General Manager Kyle Gaffney, if the situation seems right.

It's part of Old Ebbitt's policy to have as few policies as possible. Some of the policies aren't even so rigid. If for example, an employee wants to flaunt the semi-formal pin policy — which requires no personal pins on those signature Old Ebbitt suspenders — well, no one's going to lose their job over it. Which is good for the bartender from Texas, who sports a Bevo pin on his braces.

But there's one policy that's absolutely inflexible, says Gaffney. No partisan politics at Old Ebbitt.

The White House might try to claim Old Ebbitt as its own, but the restaurant will never reciprocate. Even though some places enjoy their rep as a Dem or GOP hangout, the Grill, Gaffney says, just can't afford to alienate 50 percent of the potential diners out there.