Judging Restaurants


Most agree that Kramer books is a great bookstore but I’ve only heard a few opinions on the food. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed grabbing brunch there. Of course, I always get the bagel and lox which isn’t really hard to prepare. So for those in the know – how’s the food at Kramer Books?

28 Comment

  • I generally like the food and I’ve mostly been there for lunch. (And it’s occurring to me that it’s been long enough that I forget what I ate last time I was there).

    The seating is a little tight and it was annoying that they had some kind of token (as opposed to key) system going on with the bathroom.

  • awful. nothing like a microwaved piece of old pie

  • It’s pretty sad when the breakfast sandwiches from Subway down the block are better than this place. But the book selection is great.

  • The food is respectable, but Kramer’s is just too annoying and totally not worth it. It can take forever to get a table, the tables themselves are crammed on top of each other, and service is slow. But I could forgive all that…if it wasn’t for the stupid bathroom tokens. Man, I hate those tokens.

  • A bit over priced.

  • It’s OK, I think it’s a nice, casual, sit down lunch option for the week (I work a few blocks away). I did once get pretty sick off of their lobster ravioli, though. I like their bar area, too.


  • expensive and horrible.

  • Home to the worst espresso I’ve ever had in DC. (I’ll defer to others on the topic of the food…)

  • Food is middling and overpriced to boot. The worst thing, though, is the terrible, horrible, no good very bad service. Not so much individual servers, but institutionally. There’s such attitude at the host station that it’s a wonder anyone ever makes it to a table. I’ve gotten screwed around in big groups and small. Ugh. Nevermind that dissonance, cognitive and otherwise, created by their insistence on playing different music in the cafe and the bookstore. It makes me cross-eyed whenever I’m in there.

  • have to disagree on whomever thinks they have great book selection. only if you’re looking for bestsellers. they don’t have the selection of a great small indie store. but, hardly anyone does in DC anymore. we miss ya, olsson’s!

  • Brunch is expensive, but it includes coffee and a mimosa..even with that, the food is not that good, and the service is so-so.

    If you want a good gay brunch, try the sunday buffet at freddy’s beach bar in crystal city…

  • I used to love it for late night, after movie, food and desserts, but I traditionally got a nacho platter or something and ran into people who knew me from my writing, so it was nothing more than a place where a twentysomething would go to glance at titles before sitting down for a 10pm dinner. Not there for the food or service…

  • Two incidents of significant food poisoning for me before I stopped going. Horrid and obnoxious service. Not bad during odd times when no one else is there and you just want something like a burger and fries or coffee. But overall emblematic of all that is wrong with DC eateries.

  • The wait staff acts like they are doing you a favor… Worse than the DMV crew on Monday morning…

  • Wow, lotta vitriol. I’m glad i’m here.

    It costs more than what I want to pay, but I like the pie and hangar steak.

    But given that DC closes down @ 9:00 pm, you don’t really have a whole lot of options.

  • What’s up with all the DC hate? Why even live here if you’re going to bash the eateries, service, people, etc? It’s a great place to live…

  • Worst service award of DC goes to Kramerbooks. Although, let it be known that the management does not make it easy for the waitstaff to do their work. There are one million rules and hoops that the customer must be coaxed into jumping through (no custom orders, no a la carte, no fun) that keep the waitstaff from fulfilling their customer’s order. The poorly taken care of staff (which has an incredibly high turn-over), however, has a bad attitude and the food is way over-priced.

  • Step into Afterwords and you’ll swear you’ve gone to hell. Microwaved slop served by idiots with all the customer service of a Gestapo interrogation. And it was just as bad when I went there in the 1980s. A testament to people’s ability to have more money than brains. I’d just as soon eat a fistful of dog $h!t before I set foot in there again.

  • It’s one of the few places that is somewhat easy to get a normal meal after 930pm in this city. I’d love to know of more to add to my list.
    Also, the tokens are the worst. WORST!

  • So i worked there in college, and I’ll say, avoid the sandwiches, they’re crap. Everything else is hit and miss. Brunch is overpriced, but the excellent secret is that the first mimosa is included, and refills are $1.50, which isn’t bad.

    The whole bad service thing is a top down deal — being nice is not something that’s important to management, and they’re amazingly, I don’t know, intransigent? inflexible? They make it a difficult. And after 2am on weekends, most of the customers are drunk assholes anyway. They either don’t tip or empty their wallets onto the tables, though, so it balances out to be worth it.

    And the tokens: It’s classless and weird. BUT- you have no idea how many times someone smeared poo all over the walls before they got that system.
    Also, drunk people like to go in there and vomit, have sex, etc. The poo was what tipped them over to the tokens, though, if I remember correctly. Just nasty.

    And as for the bookstore/bar/restaurant disconnect: They’re owned by different dudes. Those 2 dudes no longer like each other, and in fact, are now crotchety old men who hate each other. So there’s no coordination. About anything. Except the restaurant staff allows the bookstore staff to steal food, and the bookstore staff allows the restaurant staff to steal books. (But you didn’t hear that from me.) (And it’s been years, so who knows what’s still true…)

  • A girl from HS moved into an apartment with a finished roofdeck right above Kramerbooks after college with a bunch of her sorority sisters. While I’ve never set foot in Kramerbooks itself, I went to a buch of 23-25 year old parties right above it.

    Fabulous three story townhouse/apartment/condo with a dumbwaiter and a great view on the roof. The best part was the master bathroom. Huge jacuzzi with mirrored walls and ceiling. The previous owner: George Stephanopolous.


  • sg: it’s not DC hate. it’s criticism of one place in DC. i love this city as much as the next person, so don’t you dare accuse me of hating it. but i will reserve my right to be as critical of an overrated place as i want to be. this doesn’t have to be a mutual appreciation society around here, you know.

    all that said, i still shop there, i still support it as a local business. i’m just saying that if someone does a better job pulling off the concept, i’ll gladly support them.

  • Commenters ‘E’ and ‘E2’ hit the nail on the head about the ‘secret’ of crappy customer service in this town. It comes from the top down. I know of several businesses that have really great potential, but are owned by folks who are insane, drug addicted or just plain crappy micro-managers [or some combination of the three]. I know this afflicts a handful of bookstores here, as well as many bars, bike shops, etc. When you couple this sh*tty ownership with customers that think it’s ok to treat service industry/retail staff like trash, you get what we have here.

  • sg: I agree with IMGoph. Really, there are plenty of wonderful places and things in D.C. and I *love* living here. The question was asked of Kramerbooks, however, and the place sucks monkey chunks. Vitriol where vitriol is due… Just don’t get me started about having to watch a poorly produced documentary on Sudanese orphans while trying to grab a burger at Busboys & Poets… argh.

  • I wouldn’t LET Afterwords suck my chunks.

    By all means, let not criticize any local business. If anything, we need to have MORE mediocre businesses downtown.

  • It was a great place before it became trendy and the “straight” people found it.

  • saf

    Abby – you must be speaking of before the 80s then, because I have hated it that long.

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