Capital City Diner American

Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
You know what? I don’t give a damn that Capital City Diner buys the majority of its ingredients from a giant food-service company, and I’ll tell you why. Sometimes I love a place just because of its history or its significance to a neighborhood or its atmosphere. (I’m sorry, but I don’t visit Florida Avenue Grill for much of anything besides a slice of D.C.’s past.) And Cap City is worthy in all three respects. Owners Matt Ashburn and Patrick Carl plucked a World War II–era diner from Avoca, N.Y., and moved it to sit-down-starved Trinidad. The diner’s cramped booths and tiny chrome stools speak to an era when our appetites may have been large but our asses weren’t. Of course, if the place were trading only in nostalgia and retro flapjacks, it wouldn’t resonate with many outside of a certain graying demographic. Ashburn and Carl, however, have adopted a flexible approach to their venture, quickly altering their original menu to a customer base that prefers chicken and waffles to spaghetti and meatballs. The result is a classic American diner car with the heart of a soul-food cafeteria. It’s a beautiful thing to experience. And the slaw dog ain’t bad, either.

1050 Bladensburg Road NE (202) 396-DINR

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