Slim’s Diner “Undergoing a management change” Only Open 8am-3pm

slims hours
Georgia and Upshur Street, NW

Slim’s saga continues. I’ve been getting tons of emails/tweets asking if they’ve permanently closed. On May 9th they tweeted:

So much for late night eats. Stay tuned.

68 Comment

  • Who is/was Lillian Colley Murrell?

  • Good, I hope they can pull it off. Went there once and had terrible service and haven’t been back since because I know the same people work there. Everyone in the neighborhood is rooting for them to succeed, hope they can just find some staff that actually give a damn.

  • northeazy

    Admittedly, I know NOTHING about running a business, so take this with a grain of salt, but this place seems popular. Or rather, many people want this to be a success. I can’t think of a restaurant that had so many people pulling for its success. With that said, at the end of the day, this isn’t a Hollywood production company or industrial construction firm. It is a restaurant. There are a lot of successful restaurants in this town. Lot’s of people with lots of experience. Can’t Slim’s just hire a good GM or even dare I say a consultant?

    • That’s what makes the whole thing so weird to me, the guy behind this place already has other successful restaurants in the neighborhood and elsewhere. As far as I can tell Paul Ruppert has proven he can make a place work so I wonder what on earth is going on here.

      • To be fair, most of his restaurants have merely “worked”. The ones that have been run-away successes (Passenger, Columbia Room, Room 11) were all the result of someone highly-motivated running the show – not Rupert. My guess is that Rupert simply isn’t willing to pay someone with the requisite talent and experience to run this place the way it should be run. As another poster mentioned, this isn’t exactly rocket science.

        • northeazy

          +1. I guess that’s what this is. He doesn’t want to pony up for experience. I thought this was a first time restaurateur, with all the current problems and how it took so long to open. I cannot believe this is the guy behind the Passenger. He clearly knows people in the industry. I guess his staff is a reflection of his attitude. Doesn’t GAF.

        • It’s possible that’s what it is but it still doesn’t make sense to me, given that he’s managed to NOT do that with his other places.

        • I think that originally, there was a desire for Slim’s to be a place that would focus on giving people in the neighborhood their first experience in service industry (people who might otherwise be working at places like McDonald’s), and being inexpensive enough to serve that community as well. A respectable goal, but maybe difficult to achieve…

  • Somehow I’m not too optimistic.

  • NH Ave Hiker

    I’ve always heard negative things about this place, but when I drove past last weekend there were still people waiting outside. I don’t get it.

    • Silent majority, baby. I’ve been only once but the experience wasn’t anything similar to what their vocal critics have described. Hope they stick around.

      • Agreed. I’ve been there twice, both times during telecommuting days when they were somewhat busy but still had seating. The service was good and the food was great. I guess you have to find a good time to show up, it helps to live nearby. Sorry to hear they’re having problems.

    • Lanphes

      This is because there are approximately 5 tables.

  • Went there 3 weeks ago in the middle of the day. We were the only people there and still had to wait 15 minutes for a server to come by. It’s clear that the current management/employees don’t GAF. You can get better service at Waffle House (I wish there was one in the District).

  • I guess I got lucky on my one visit to Slim’s. Came by around midday on a weekday, sat at the counter, got my order taken within 5 minutes, had my food within 10 minutes. And it was tasty.
    But clearly there is a problem if they are taking this step. I hope it gets worked out.

    • samanda_bynes

      this is where i’m confused. i lived like 3 blocks away, went like four or five times and each time had a pleasant experience? so i dunno.

      • It’s also important to remember that a ton of other eating options have opened in the neighborhood. There is more competition now. Granted, there is a huge market based upon the long waits at other places on Upshur and upper 14th St, but being average won’t cut it anymore. People expect a smaller Ted’s Bulletin (like the original on Cap Hill), but got a below average place.

  • Gonna stroll over and have lunch here today after a couple other aborted attempts to visit. Fingers crossed…

  • Lanphes

    This is absolutely needed. I have been three times and had terrible service each time. Big gaps in between visits, hoping for some sort of change but haven’t seen it yet. Hopefully this fixes the staffing problems. Unfortunately the new management team needs to build an entirely new front of house team.

    Oh, and the food could be better.

  • Pro tip: Ari’s Diner in Ivy City is great.

    • +1

      Gem and great addition to the District, food is great and the gentleman who runs the kitchen is wonderful. We sat at the counter and he was raving about how much he loves working there.

      On Mother’s Day Ari’s gave complimentary mimosas to all the mothers who ate there. Nice touch!

    • NH Ave Hiker

      NE is full of little gems

    • I’m sure it is. However, the allure of a diner is that it is easy, cheap(ish) and good. Ari’s is over 4 miles from Slim’s, and requires a 20 minute drive or a 45 minute trip on mass transit. (If you’re going to spend that kind of time traveling, go up to Parkway Deli.)
      Slim’s has an opportunity to be a go-to place for the neighborhood, but only if they make the service better – more pleasant and faster (especially with only a few tables in the place).

      • go to place for who? The folks who are able and willing to wait in lines to get served pancakes on the weekend after an ‘epic night out’? Its just breakfast food. You can make all of this stuff in your house cheaper and better in most cases

        • By that logic why have diners at all? People enjoy having breakfast out in their communities too – lots of different people stop by Slim’s.

        • I hate waiting in long lines for things but I’m clearly in the minority in this city. People here loooooooove to wait in lines, for hours sometimes.

        • Well, of course. But, there are these establishments called “restaurants” around town. People go to them and often eat things they can make better at home for any number of reasons. I’m surprised you haven’t run across one of them before.
          Sarcasm aside, there clearly is a demand for a place like Slim’s, whether you agree with it or not. It would be a shame if they squandered this opportunity.

          • I guess I am just saying, folks are just hyping up a freaking diner which serves very very basic food and complain about lines and quality….also it sounds like this place is ‘tiny’ which creates a false hype machine with ‘lines’. I am not buying what they are selling and will never visit this place, so yeah you can thank me for the slightly shorter line if this place gets turned around.

        • yeah! down with restaurants!

      • Yes, all of these things can be true.

    • that is not a “[p]ro tip” rather the opposite. Ari’s has HORRIBLE service. Sat down at counter. Water 8 minutes later. Menu, 5 minutes after that. Order taken 8 minutes later. NO FOOD until finally the chef took over – apologized and got my food 10 minutes later. IT WAS JUST BISCUITS and GRAVY.

  • Hey! Has anyone tried Ruta Del Vino yet? It’s a block down from Slim’s. I was thinking of giving it a try this week.

    • I think a lot of people have, it’s always pretty full when I go by. Also try Taqueria Del Barrio on the same block (other side) of Upshur. It’s good.

    • NH Ave Hiker

      It was always packed when I used to walk past it. I always wonder why they didn’t update the rest of the building though – slap a coat of paint on it or something.

    • I was at the new Taqueria del Barrio on Upshur yesterday for happy hour (Margs and Empanadas are awesome btw), and stopped by Ruta Del Vino After to check it out but it doesn’t appear to be open yet. The menu and permits were taped on the outside window, but the lights were off and no one was inside. Still looked partially unfinished.

      • judging by previous comments, I guess it is open, but it was shut it up tight as a drum when I walked by at maybe 7:00 pm

        • I think you’re confused. Ruto Del Vino is open, has been open for months. And it’s very, very good.

          Taquerria del Barrio is closed on Mondays (and was definitely closed when we at Petworth Citizen yesterday for dinner @ 6pm).

          Did you maybe transpose the names?

      • I thought Taqueria Del Barrio is closed on Mondays. Are you sure you were there yesterday?
        Ruta Del Vino has been open for quite a while now. I think they’re closed on Sundays so if that’s when you were there it would explain why the lights were off.

    • saf

      It’s delicious. The service is good, although they can get overwhelmed because it does get busy. The wine list is excellent.

    • We’ve been to Ruta a number of times, and it was really good. Good enough for us to bring the parents when they visit. Service can be a leeetle uneven, but overall it’s friendly and fine.

      As for Slim’s, I like the fact they they were trying to give local folks experience waiting tables, but they really need to train new servers properly. I imagine that a properly trained server with experience at Slim’s could transition to a higher-paying server job later on.

      • “I imagine that a properly trained server with experience at Slim’s could transition to a higher-paying server job later on.”
        Sure, in theory. But would you really hire someone now who has Slim’s on their resume? They built quite the reputation for themselves at this point.

        • Yah, it on the flip side if a new manager turned the place around and made it a success story, that’d be a great story to tell in an interview. Just paint the damn building and freshen up the junky looking black awning. Try a new color scheme.

          • Uh, I don’t think that’s the problem. Are you in the painting business by any chance? I don’t know where the obsession with painting is coming from!

          • LOL FridayGirl!

      • I don’t know how much merit there is to the rumor that he was dedicated to employing “local folks” to “give them experience”.

        There are several servers who work/worked there who have previously been employed at other more established restaurants within the surrounding neighborhoods. There are reasons that they no longer work at those other establishments, most of which is why the service is terrible at Slim’s.

        • I happen to know a former server there. He had no experience waiting tables, got almost zero training, and left after a pretty brief stint because even he could see the place was being run like a sh*tshow.

  • I feel like so many people tried and tried and tried to tell Rupert that the service and customer experience was awful. Why did he wait so long to do anything? This restaurant had (perhaps) more buzz than any other opening on Upshur, yet the service quickly turned people away. I was hoping for something closer to Ted’s Bulletin, but all we got was a poorly managed great spoon with mediocre food. The renovation and space seemed on the cheap too. I hope they can turn it around. Don’t know if I can ever get my wife to go back, but I’d be willing to give it a second chance. If they had slightly more refined (upscale diner?) options for dinner, I think they’d see an increase in the night crowd. Upshur restaurants can’t contain all the demand for dinner options as it is.
    As a brand manager, I’d suggest a new paint job on the building and diner facade to signify the change/improvement. People need a tangible item they can view to signify improvement. Simply saying you’ll “improve” won’t work. It may be difficult to repair their brand image as it is.

    • I’m hopeful that they’ll get it together. The same thing happened at The Coupe when it opened. Nobody came out of there with a good experience right after it opened and it took a while to iron out the service. From what I’ve heard though, it’s fine these days.

    • ‘upscale diner’ – hang on while I grab a trash bin

      • I rarely agree with Anonynon, but I second his disapproval of “upscale diner.”
        The problem with Slim’s isn’t that it’s not sufficidently “upscale.” It’s that the service is slow, not always competent, and (though not in my own experience) sometimes sullen, and the place kept getting hit with Department of Health violations. Oh, and the seating arrangement doesn’t help — I understand the desire to have booths in a diner, but they could seat more people if they replaced the chunk of booths in the middle (and maybe one or both of the of the booth sections in the windows) with a bunch of two-person tables.

  • I’m chuckling to myself remembering the Popville “three-way race to open” meme among Swampoodle, Slim’s, and Homestead. Swampoodle bit the dust in less than 6 months, and Slim’s has had a load of serious issues. I guess Homestead won by default.

    The tragedy of Swampoodle and Slim’s is that there really was/is a desperate customer base with money to spend. At the end of the day, however, you have to deliver on the product, especially in the restaurant biz.

  • I live up the street and have never been by Slim’s on the weekend when it isn’t full of patrons. I’ve tried to go in a couple times to give it a shot but have been told wait was 30-45 minutes (although I did find it odd they don’t accept takeout orders). Are they losing money or just changing up the concept?

  • I don’t know that the service issue with Slim’s (which I have never experienced) is unique to that place or just endemic to many neighborhood restaurants and bars. Contrary to what some might assume, being a server isn’t easy. And the better ones can probably move up pretty quickly to better venues where there is more money to be earned. So the smaller, lower scale more neighborhoody places are left with less experienced (maybe completely inexperienced) people. I don’t really expect great service in these kinds of places. If I get it, it’s a pleasant surprise.

  • what exactly is Ruppert’s role in the operation/management of these places? is he just the landlord who picks a concept that was pitched to him as being excited/viable/profitable/lasting? or is he actively involved in operations, staffing, hiring firing, food safety, menu, procurement, etc.

  • So glad I didn’t invest in that place when Ruppert was seeking funding.