Young and Hungry

An Early Look at Capital City Diner

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Matt Ashburn gets a head start on sippin' mud at Capital City Diner.

It's taken a long, long, long, long time to reach its grand opening, but Capital City Diner is close. How close? It's a question that co-owner Matt Ashburn has answered so many times, he's hesitant to give a specific date anymore. Let's just say there's a good chance Trinidad may get some good greasy diner grub in two weeks or so.

Y&H snapped a few pictures this weekend of the '40s-era diner, which was moved last May from its original perch in upstate New York. Over the past months, Ashburn and his business partner, Patrick Carl, have spent tens of thousands of dollars to clean up, renovate, and ready the diner for its second life in D.C. Take a look at this gorgeously restored diner (and many of its antique accessories):

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A still-functional register, circa 1950s, that Ashburn salvaged and brought to the diner.

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The stools, floor, and tile (though not counters) are all original.

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Capital City Diner is one of Paterson's Silk City models, which Ashburn believes was the company's economy line.

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The road sign for the Avoca Diner, which was Capital City Diner's name before it was hauled last year from Avoca, N.Y.


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Ashburn and Carl had to install a hood ventilation system in the old diner.

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It's hard to see here, but in the upper left, there is a serial number that reads: 4950. Ashburn believes his diner was likely the 50th rolled out by Paterson in 1949. He also thinks the diner may have actually been built in 1947. 

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The functional meat slicer that Ashburn intends to clean up and use at the diner.

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This old fridge used to belong to Patrick Carl's mother, who had to manage a large family and apparently needed easy access to beer. At least that's the way Ashburn likes to tease his partner. Capital City Diner will not serve alcohol.

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A classic Hamilton Beach spindle milk shake maker.

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Ashburn and Carl even found a supplier for the classical, Greek-design paper coffee cups.

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The paper placemats will feature historic images of the Avoca Diner once the owners get their hands on them.

  • Paul Ward

    Nice preview! I wonder if they'll be applying for a liquor license (wine/beer)?

  • Anthony

    Try the Double T in Annapolis for a true diner experience they have good inexpensive food and a liquor license

  • Tim Carman

    Thanks, Paul.

    Matt Ashburn indicated that Cap City won't apply for a liquor license anytime soon. He thought that, maybe, a couple of years down the road Cap City might apply for a beer/wine license, but he's clearly in no hurry.


  • Matt Ashburn

    Paul, No liquor license in the works. Not only would it come with a lot of hurdles to get neighborhood buy-in (see, but there's not much space to store liquor at the moment. We don't intend to apply for a liquor license, but may reevaluate things after a good while like Tim noted above.

    We're calling for our health inspection tomorrow, and can obtain our business license after that.

    Keep your fingers crossed!

    Capital City Diner

    P.S.: I'll be sure to shave and get a haircut before future photos :-)

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  • steve edwards

    Good morning from snowy Henry County. Good luck with
    opening the diner, Will you be cooking? Menu sounds
    really good. Love, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Steve Edwards