Judging Restaurants – The Diner


We’ve briefly spoken about the Diner, located at 2453 18th Street, when speaking about the best breakfast in DC. But I’m curious to know more about The Diner in general. Do you recommend going there for lunch or dinner? Or should this be a strictly breakfast spot?

58 Comment

  • look at all those idiots waiting for 45 minutes to get their hung over brunch when there are easily 5 other places with better food and no wait within a 4 minute walk.

  • “Do you recommend going there for lunch or dinner?”

    I recommend going there for never. Unless, I suppose, you’re drunk.

    Even given the low standards of diner food, it seems to come up short on a regular basis. Especially the fried potatoes.

  • I have to agree with the first poster. The Diner is fine if you have to eat before 10 a.m., but after 10 a.m. there are plenty of other, better places open in Adams Morgan.

  • Bourbon, New Orleans, La Fourchette, Mezze, Don Jamies, Asylum, Madams Organ. All these places would have to somehow burn to the ground all at the same time for me to consider getting in queue at the Diner with a bunch of asshats who drove in from VA to get brunch at a “hip urban” dinner.

  • At least in Woodley park where Open City is the only option for a decent breakfast-brunch it makes sense to see everyone waiting outside. but yeah. no excuse with the alternatives in adams morgan.

  • I used to live in AM and I also work from home so I either lunch ate at home or went out in AM for lunch. There really aren’t that many resturants opened during the day in AM so I would recommend eating there for lunch. Also there aren’t that many people around and always a seat at the bar, plus its a reasonable prices meal. There are much better are much better places in AM to eat dinner out at. I am not a huge breakfast person so I rarely ever go out for it but I would never go on the diner on the weekends because of the long waits.

  • I must be having a dyslexic day that should be.. ‘either ate lunch’ not ‘either lunch ate’,

  • Over rated, only good for people watching

  • Food is fine, but so are most of the other places on the street.

  • I like this place in similar way I embrace Haydee’s in Mt.P- it is a comfort spot. The food isn’t the best, but it’s always good- especially the breakfast- and it’s the only place I’ve been too where I can order a boozy chocolate malt with as little shame as possible (still kinda shameful though….)

  • I only think about the Diner when I’m craving meatloaf. Not that I actually ever go there to assuage that craving, but I think about it. I don’t think I’ve been to the Diner in 3 years. Maybe more. And, I’m okay with that.

  • “a bunch of asshats who drove in from VA to get brunch at a “hip urban” dinner.”

    I feel like I see this kind of comment a lot here. Can someone explain to me what the problem is with people who live in the suburbs and come in to DC sometimes to eat / go to bars, etc?

  • Suburbanites who come merely for the “nightlife” tend to be on the douchey side of things and much like yourself uber self aware of their own plight.

  • Since I moved away from Adams Morgan I celebrate my new life by never eating in ridiculously overcrowded, noisy restaurants with mediocre where you have to wait in line to get a table. Maybe I’m just old, but this no longer seems like any fun to me…

  • Places in DC are small and sparce. When folks drive in from out of town, my 10 minute walk to get food turns into a half hour bus trip across town to find somewhere else so I don’t have to wait in line.

    Thats my issue with it.

  • mediocre food, that is. I wish you could edit your own comments…

  • Okay, so maybe the problem is that we don’t have enough restaurants in DC? Or in DC suburbs? I mean, I’ve never seen this attitude in other cities.

  • Why anyone would want to drive in to DC to be around a bunch of snobby jerks is beyond me. Do some of you even know how you sound?

  • Nobody gives New Yorkers a hard time for talking smack about people from Jersey, so I think us DC people should be allowed to treat Virginia people accordingly. VA is like DC’s NJ, and MD is like DC’s CT.

  • re: Folks from the suburbs:

    While it’s nice that they choose to spend their dollars at District businesses, they are often inconsiderate of the community they’re entering. Typically arriving by car, many are guilty of littering, speeding, DWI, and other infractions that impact the quality of life of locals.

    Not saying we’d be better off without them, but there’s a bit of resentment due to perceived lack of consideration for those who live here. And, of course, disdain for people with hair gel and square-toed shoes.

    Diner’s not bad, off-peak. Good mac and cheese.

  • @ CP, that’s fair enough, I guess. Although I would say those behaviors represent only a minority of suburbanites.

  • @ CP cont’d: But at least you have legitimate grievances rather than just thinking you’re cooler than them because you chose to live in the District.

  • The Diner is the last place I would think of going out to dinner. However, a few weeks ago we met another couple for dinner. We chose the diner because they had a three year old with them. The food was actually pretty good, and the servers were great with the kid. So this seems like a good kid friendly option.

  • They should close 18th street on the weekends and outlaw out of state cars in Adams Morgan on the weekend nights all together. listening to Drunk aholes trying to remember where they parked their car so they can drunk drive back to the burbs putting peoples lives at risk really lowers my quality of life as an adams morgan resident. I dont mind the noise from the bars or the bar scene but just the circumstance I just described really bugs me. If they were all forced to take mass transit from the burbs to the bars then the neighborhood streets would have less noise at 230 in the morning. less puke on the streets too. and drunk driving stats would improve. not sure how to inforce though

  • Late night after club spot! Although the salmon sandwich is pretty damn good.

  • Eh – the Diners not all that spectacular, but it is cheap.

    I’d just like to say, though, that I loved the use of the word “asshat.” Phenomenal.

  • one time I drove out to VA and had brunch at Whitlows to beat the suburbans at their own game. But I wont be making that mistake again.

  • No one is all that picky about at 2:30 a.m. The breakfast is ok, but not worth the wait. I’ve stopped eating there for lunch or dinner because the stench of that place stays on you for the rest of the day.

  • whats up with the brunch at REEF? I used to really like it. Duck Sandwhich and what not. but then I went by a couple times and they were closed. are they doing brunch again or what. havent checked in awhile.

  • I happen to enjoy the Diner’s daily specials. I wouldn’t do brunch there; however, I’ve spent many a night enjoying a delicious chipotle BBQ chicken sandwich or the Plymouth Rock grilled cheese. It’s a diner, yes; however, it is staffed by fabulous people and the food is always a treat!

  • What’s special about The Diner is that it’s one of the few restaurants in DC that’s open 24 hours and that’s relatively cheap. If I didn’t live nearby, I probably wouldn’t bother that much. But it’s great for late night meals. Also, before it gets crowded on weekend mornings, it’s my favorite place to get eggs or an omelet, especially their Greek omelet. And I love their home fries. Also, I’ve generally found that the service while sitting on a bar stool is much faster than table service,and if there’s a long line for a table you can usually snag one or two stools along the bar.

  • i concur, Andrew..

    counter service is the best…. cheap/decent eats for those of us in the neighborhood.

  • I think you got it mixed up.. MD is the New Jersey.. VA the CT.

  • as someone from CT, please please please do not equate me to VA!

    anyway i enjoy the diner. yeah i’m over waiting in a long line for some eggs, but to go there on a random day is very enjoyable. it’s a warm, neighborhood place during those times of the week when adams morgan isn’t being blown up by the clowns from the burbs. try the ribs! yumtastic.

  • What idiot would drive from Virginia to go to the diner? They have a hell of a lot more diners in Arlington than we have in DC. Sure, there are asshats there, but they live in Adams Morgan for the most part. I’ve never noticed any particular preponderance of virginia tags parked near the diner on a given weekend.

    I don’t get all the Diner hate. They serve diner food. It’s fine. They are open 24 hours. I have never had anything awful there, nor have I had anything spectacular. It is exactly what it should be: decent fare, reasonably priced, and available at 4 AM.

    You know why there are lines? It’s popular. Get over it. The attitude of “it’s popular == it sucks” is so goddamn pathetic and absurd. Why don’t you go put on your “Your Favorite Band Sucks” tee shirt and have a pupusa at some hole in the wall where you’re the only english speaking person? That will make you cool.

  • Pupusas in dimly lit 14th street hovels trump lukewarm poached eggs. Lets be real.

  • At least there is some satisfaction knowing that the B&T Douches that drive into NYC are forking over a cool $7 for the experience. BUILD A TOLL on all bridges from VA into DC and it will be much easier to stomach VA Douches that infest my neighborhood every weekend…

  • I really, really don’t get all the hating. The Diner is cheap, convenient and relatively tasty. It’s not gourmet, it’s basic omelettes, chicken sandwiches and the like. It may be popular, but that doesn’t inherently mean it’s awful — sometimes people line up to eat somewhere because it’s good. I agree that it’s not a classic greasy spoon diner, and I agree that DC could use more of those, but that’s no reason to hate on what we do have. I eat breakfast at the Diner somewhat regularly, and no, I don’t live in Virginia — I live around the corner on Adams Mill. In fact, most of my immediate neighbors eat at the Diner — that’s where we meet each other for breakfast. People need to chill out a little.

  • We go during the week, when it’s not crowded. My daughter likes it. I like the ceiling height and the old diner counters. My daughter did ask, since the servers wear street clothes, “How do you tell who’s working here or not?” Which is kind of a good question sometimes.

  • Nichole – if you’re craving meatloaf – Tonic Rocks.

  • You people are out of your minds. “Why eat at the diner when La Fourchette is right down the road?” Excuse me Rockefeller, my gold silk zeppelin appears to be in the garage still so ive been having to rub noses with the common folk. Seriously, for diner food the meals are great and so are the prices! Of course you cant get in on weekends. Why? BECAUSE YOU CANT GET IN ANYWHERE ON THE WEEKENDS.

  • Just thinking about it some more, and I kinda wonder about the origins of all this misplaced rage at suburban types who come into DC. Let’s all calm down. It’s mildly annoying when I can’t get a parking spot because they’re taken up by cars with VA and MD plates, but I’ve got no problem with these folks coming into the city. It means they’re spending money and having a good time, and making sure the District’s got plenty of tax revenues. We need more cool places like The Diner to encourage even more suburbanites to come into the city!

  • Wednesday night = 1/2 price wine night. It’s not super crowded, and you can have dinner for two and a bottle of wine for under $30. What’s not to like about that?

  • @Anon – the Reef discontinued its brunch sometime last fall. Apparently it was too much of a bother. To be fair, the quality of their food had gone down while the price had gone up, but it was still my favorite brunch spot. I miss it!

    As to all the hating on the Diner – I think people are reacting to the trendy vibe the place seems to be going for when it’s really just a diner. It’s okay, but I agree with most of the posters – I wouldn’t wait in line for it.

  • @ Anon 12:47 – I’m a former New Yorker and your right we do talk smack about people from Jersey. I’ve been here in DC for almost 8 years and I still when I hear Jersey I think to myself yeah right “the garden state”. It also infuriates me that people say they are from NY when they are actually from NJ. What is wrong with saying you are from NJ?

    Anyways, when ever I am going to visit friends in VA I tell them I have to find my passport first before I can meet up with them. I for some reason have no problem with MD – and I dont’ know exactly why that is.

  • I lived in AM when the Diner first opened and it was a welcome addition. The food was and is perfectly fine. I have ventured back rarely since I moved to CH but when I do it’s on a weekday. I avoid it on weekends because it’s way too crowded and I have little patience for long lines to get food of any kind.
    It’s funny to read the snobbery in some of these posts. You’d think there actually were stylish people in the DC metro area. The only “trendy” people I’ve ever seen at the diner are the waitstaff. And their “trendiness” derives from them dressing like they just walked in off the street.
    I don’t get all of the hating on the folks from the ‘burbs. If they didn’t come to AM, who would the local hoodlums have to rob?


    Decent diner food, not spectacular, occasional lines at late breakfast/leisurely weekend/hungover hours, better non-diner food at nearby non-diner restaurants.

  • Dang people – be easy! It’s a diner, not the lynchpin of Western Civilization! And I just learned today that you’re allowed to raise chickens in your yard in DC! (Though only trendy, stylish, hipster urban chickens that aren’t from New Jersey.) So now you can grow your own breakfast Fresh eggs are gorgeous!

  • good choice during the week, epsecially for 1/2 bottle of wine night. pass on the weekend. Not worth the wait when there are a billion brunch options in DC….

  • good choice during the week, epsecially for 1/2 price bottle of wine night. pass on the weekend. Not worth the wait when there are a billion brunch options in DC….

  • @ Victoriam, I had visions of a chicken coop out back with a few buff orpingtons so I could raise my own eggs.

    Although the segment on WAMU yesterday referred to officials from the mayors office saying there is no prohibition against raising chickens, the DC city code says no.

  • sorry, not a fan, crowded and the food is bland. nothing special except a morning crowd.

    as for suburbia — VA has the worst anti-gay laws on the books not to mention the packed 6 lane roads, lights that last for 10 minutes and rows of ugly townhouses. sorry if people find it scary. I don’t go off-island very often and if I do, I go to MD.

  • I hate to break it to you Morgan but DC isn’t an island (you know, not like NY). You people need to take a lesson in geography.

  • I’ll break from the B&T rants to raise another question — DC residents constantly bemoan the lack of ‘good cheap eats’ — it almost sounds like we envy destinations favored by Guy Fieri and Adam Richman which produce the oversized tourists that take over our city for 8 months out of the year. Aren’t we better than that? Do we really just want affordable humble greasy food piled up to our eyebrows? Leave the thinly veiled competitive binging for the ‘fly-over zone’ and give me the vastly superior range of food options we enjoy in DC.

  • Aren’t we better than that?

    No. No we’re not.

  • I live in MtP and have not gone out in Adams Morgan in almost a decade, even though i go out all the time. My memories of going out in AM are that it is filled with cheeseballs–it’s a scene I would rather die than be a part of.

    I have no particular dislike for The Diner, i went there right after it opened years ago. But because of its location (and, frankly, its name) it has the veneer of cheese for me. On the few occasions i drive by it i inevitably see a line of douchebags out front, so i just keep driving.

    AM seems like the kind of place that is fun to go out in when you’re young and one of those people i just described (and hey, there’s nothing WRONG with being like that). It’s just something i think you grow out of eventually.

    So when i see that line out front it just makes me think The Diner is the diner version of what Heaven And Hell is to clubs (if that dump is still open).

  • saf

    Esmerelda – Reef brunch returns next week.

  • Except for the milkshakes the food and coffee is unremarkable. Prefer La Fourchette or Napoleon. I do like the vibrancy and safety it brought to the block overnight and the fact that it is open 24 hours. Their fries are terrible.

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