Dear PoP – Has Market Inn Closed?

Market Inn, originally uploaded by sally henny penny.

In the Washington Times, Market Inn in SW is closing down tonight, that landlord apparently has other plans.”  

I had Nichole check it out and it turns out, sadly to be true:

It’s true. According to the Times’ article:
Owner Carl Mandis hadn’t planned on closing the family business that was started by his mother and father, Hilda and John Mandis, in November 1959. But the property owners’ new lease demand, which includes higher payments and a shorter renewal period, made it impractical to continue business, Mr. Kipp said.

The property owners plan to raze the building to make way for office space, he said.

In addition, the legendary nude paintings and other furnishings and memorabilia are being auctioned off. If you have any interest, the link is here.

This makes me sad. I recall having a couple of work meetings over lunch here a few years ago which were reminiscent of Charlie Wilson’s Washington. (Though perhaps not as much as the working lunches we occasionally had at Archibald’s.) They also had a great brunch here. Market Inn will be missed.

Any fans of Market Inn out there?


22 Comment

  • It was magical to be there when an older fellow was playing the piano, taking a few requests, and sometimes he would sing! …I lived in the rough SW quadrant adjacent to the bad waterfront restaurants that catered to buses of tourists, so Market Inn was my cool way to entertain visitors, especially if they had come by boat. What atmosphere.

  • just what that neigborhood needs…more office buildings

  • Papa Monkey used to take me here back in the 1970s; he worked right up the street. The food ran from decent (the crab soup and crab cakes) to cafeteria bland, but you didn’t really go there for the food. Great old timey atmosphere, dark wood, good stiff drinks. But it really seemed out of place, wedged there between the SE Freeway and a dead-end road. And yeah, no way in hell it would survive on the confiscatory rents they’re asking.

  • LOVED Market Inn and went with friends to every Sunday brunch religiously! The owners could not get a renewed lease that was feasible. I heard a rumor that the manager may take some of the recipes and start a spin off restaurant. She-crab soup – yummmy!
    They are having an online auction to get rid of the paintings, memorabilia, etc. they have collected over the past 50 years. Check out

  • raze it all. whats left at this point anyway?

  • Vonstallin

    Ro Says:
    January 5th, 2009 at 2:14 pm
    just what that neigborhood needs…more office buildings

    lol thats what i say about more condos in my hood….

    I went for the first time in the early 90’s, then my boss took me about 1998 sometime b4 i left for a new job.

    I use to love that place. i goto the gym (golds) around the corner and pass it when i go home….looks odd now with all the tall office buildings around it. To bad they didnt buy the property (or had the chance to).

  • What’s left indeed?

    The Roma, Blackie’s House of Beef, anyone old enough to remember San Souci?

    The Metropolitan Club. No one I knew ever went there.

    Pier 7 is still old school in Southwest.

    What I remember was going to the Peter Pan restaurant in Urbana, MD and learning that Spiro Agnew had just been there for brunch- WHILE HE WAS VICE PRESIDENT- and being too young to understand how strange that was.

    That’s how old I am.

  • Isn’t this the place that is infamous as being a drop-off spot for big $ bribes to elected officials?

  • Not only are old joints like AV and Orleans House folding, you have newer restaurants like Luigino failing as well.

    Ah cain’t wait until that there auction. I kin get me some them nekkid lady pitchers, ah recon, an gussy up mah rumpus room.

  • I miss DC being a second rate city. It had character back then and history. I am only 30 and am hard pressed to find something to enjoy from my childhood. it will only be a matter or time before the raven leaves. steak and egg. sigh. I will miss you DC.

  • I was just talking about this place with someone last week. Sort of sad – I never got to go.

    Replacing it with an office building? Huh. I don’t remember that being an overly large parcel of land (but I could be wrong) so it doesn’t seem like it will be a large office.

  • Honestly, I heard this place sucked. My guess is that if he had asked months ago about it, without saying it closed, most people would say “mediocre” or “sucks.” I think a lot of this sounds like post-mortem nostalgia.

  • Is DC no longer a second-rate city?

  • The food was not amazing, but I thought the food provided value, which is to say if you got the $20 crab cake platter with soup and salad and whatever else they threw in, that wasn’t a bad deal, but it wasn’t like you got a $30 crab cake for $20. The place was funky.

    I mean, I asked the guy about famous people who ate there and the first person out of his mouth was HUGH O’BRIAN! the star of Search! Wyatt Earp from 1950s TV!

    Yeah, I know!

  • As someone in one of the brand new office buildings already there and forced to have office good-bye parties etc there because of a lack of other options, I can attest that yes, the food truly sucked. Some liked the she-crab soup, but the crab cakes themselves were brown, filling-stuffed hockey pucks.

    It did, however, have character and was a landmark. And was the closest place to my building to get a drink…

  • Peter Pan..that restaurant I well remember with all the gorgeous statuary, Sholl’s Cafeteria where they treated patrons like kings and queens of all walks of life there, Olney Inn where Franklin Delano Roosevelt often was there when one of the waiters glimpsed the President and exclaimed “Good laws, it’s the President of the United States” and fried chicken went everywhere, Doc Berlin’s Olney Drugs where they made thick milkshakes and I remember Sans Souci on 17th Street but never ate there.
    Fortunately the Willard Hotel remains, where personalities stayed like President Lincoln and Mark Twain, the venerable round Robin Bar where journalists would hang out with their cigars.
    Also gone is Duke Zieberts, a venerable institution whose owner once offered to serve Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia with borscht.

  • If there’s anything this economy needs, it’s another Scholl’s Colonial Cafeteria. Soup, salad, coffee, entree and dessert for less than ten bucks.

    For a twenty, a guy could kill himself in there.

  • The Peter Pan had live peacocks.

    I mean, you can still go to the Cozy in Thurmont, MD, but I’ve a freaking vegetarian, so why would I want to?

    Glad someone mentioned Duke Zieberts. Duke was as much a local institution in the 1970s as businessman Bill Regardie. I LOVED to read Regardies in the doctor’s office, it was like the Washingtonian, but about serious things:

    There’s the German place on Wisconsin Ave in Glover Park, but I never ate there.

    I think all the Bethesda restaurants are gone. I think all the Arlington restaurants are gone.

    Pistones, Fra Domenico and the Amphora Restaurant are still here. Amphora rules. Pistones is so-so. I haven’t been to Fra Domenico since I learned to drive.

    I guess it’s cool they reopened Stoneys, but who really cares?

    Is the Palm still open? There were all those weird Power Lunch and Expense Account restaurants that everyone used to talk about, but they all got bought by McCormick and Schmicks, etc.

    Someone told me the old Flagship Restaurant, later bought by Phillips, was amazing.

  • The Tastee Diner in Bethesda is in operation in response to another post saying all the Bethesda restaurants are gone, the diner is part of a chain of diners in Silver Spring, and Laurel, one in Fairfax City is open as usual but is not part of that chain, was another in downtown Rockville, that was torn down years ago to urban renewal in that city.

  • I work two blocks from the Market Inn site. I was taken to lunch there on my first day on the job in 1989. The food was bad enough (and expensive enough, even though I was not paying that day) that I never returned. So I shed no tears at its demise. Having said that, there is a crying need in the neighborhood — particularly with all those new, nearly-new, or under construction office buildings — for a decent place to eat lunch. It is dismaying that the best neighborhood lunch place is a Potbelly outlet — which, as a result, has truly epic-length lines. Perhaps Sholl’s Cafeteria (a favorite of mine when I worked downtown in the ’70s and ’80s) can make a revival!

  • i miss reeves bakery too …

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