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Aug 19, 2002 01:13 PM

VINTAGE places DC/suburban MD/N VA

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Just got back from a long weekend in central PA. Appreciated the vintage places still left in towns - architecture, stores, dining, drive-in movies, even roadside ice cream stands.

Can everyone weigh in with their favorite VINTAGE places around here? I hope to discover some new ones. Yes I know the food will not be cutting edge but it will be comforting, with the decor harkening back to yesteryear.

I already know about or have dined at Ben's Chili Bowl, Tastee Diner, Florida Ave. Grill, original Crisfields, Frank's Diner in Jessup, the original Ledo's, Eastern Market Lunch, Jimmy T's on Capitol Hill, Waffle House downtown, Harrington Hotel's cafeteria, Bob & Edith's, Frozen Dairy Bar (VA), Barbara Fritchie's Candystick in Frederick, Tastee 29 Diner, Jimmie Cone in Damascus, Thelma's Ice Cream (VA).
Any other vintage places I'm missing that you all are fond of?

Many thanks!

P.S. Bumpers, trying to build a (digital) drive-in theatre in Eldersburg, MD, is appealing the zoning board's decision (NIMBY's are fighting Bumpers). However, Bumpers has won a spot over in Taneytown (nr Thurmont) & have broken ground there. Drive-in hopefully will be open next May...

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  1. I highly recommend A V Ristorante(New York Ave, NW) for good, vintage Italian food. They have the second best pizza I've found in DC (the best being Vace, of course).


    1. I would include Whitey's (North Arlington).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Lori D

        Whitey's is GONE! (weep). The upgrade of Clarendon did away with it. Whitlow's on Wilson is still there, though, as is (I think) Omega.

        1. re: Lori D

          What I wouldn't give to have Whitey's broasted chicken just one more time.

          I wonder if anyone else broasts? That was the best chicken in the world, even if you needed blood pressure medication doubled up afterwards, and an IV of diuretics. It was so well worth it.

          Whitey's was a great joint.

        2. Greenbelt Theatre is my favorite movie venue, built in the 40s. It has a great marquee, old fashioned ticket booth with old fashioned tickets, low prices and a gigantic screen. One of the reasons it's a great place to go is the delicious popcorn that they pop on the premises--not oversalted, overbuttered or brought in in trashbags as most movieplexes do these days. If you come in from afar for a show combine it with a visit to the Greenbelt Museum--it makes for a pleasant afternoon.



          2 Replies
          1. re: shellymck

            Thanks. I've been to the P&G Greenbelt a few times, also I've performed next door with the Greenbelt Arts Center, which I recommend to anyone in that area who'd like a night out of community theatre. They've nicely restored a former bowling alley. Above it is a co-op grocery, not a Safeway or Giant.
            Roosevelt Shopping Center where these 2 theatres are has greatly maintained its deco look. And the neon marquee at P&G Greenbelt is beautiful.

            1. re: shellymck

              New website here:

              The theater is having a grand reopening this Friday after a renovation.

            2. Churchville, MD-essentially the whole town which includes Maryland's last operating drive in theatre with working (sometimes) Teletrays, drive in restaurant which has cruise-ins almost every Saturday night, "Arctic Circle" frozen custard (NOT original ElectroFreeze machines) and authentic 1950's miniature golf. Worth the drive.

              Carl's Frozen Custard in Fredericksburg which is an authentic 1950's ElectroFreeze stand with lines a block long in the summer.

              This is an extremely interesting topic and I'm probably as qualified as anyone on this board to reminisce about what once was. A preliminary question: what do you mean by vintage? There are a few businesses that go back a century or more. Some that date to the fiftie's. Some earlier. What are you really looking for? McDonald's original fries? A real hot fudge ice cream cake? A Mighty MO? Johnny Dark, not on Oldies 100, but on "CAO" or WEAM?

              I have some posts from a year ago that go into a lot of detail on D. C. area nostalgia from Stephenson's Black and White checkerboard Bakery in Anacostia to Benny's fish sandwiches at the Maine Avenue wharf. Flavormeister has also got into this in a big way with notes about Mario's in Arlington (not even a shadow of what it once was), Topp's and many others.

              You mentioned Ledo's. How about Pizza Oven in East Pines or Rockville which has the same pizza as 1957. Pizza Pantry on Walter Reed Drive in Arlington is the same as when they opened in '55. Another person mentioned AV. Forty years ago AV was a distant second (or third) to Luigi's on 19th Street which is still there. Anna Maria's is still around on Connecticut. Of course the Uptown where "This Is Cinerama" played in '58 is now considered D. C.'s best theatre. Then it was a medium sized neighborhood theatre not spoken of in the same breath with the Capital, the 5,000 seat theatre on F Street or the Palace at 12th and F.

              And while we're talking about F Street Reeves Bakery is still around although YWCA chocolate chip cookies are gone. O'Donnell's exists today in Kentland but it has NOTHING in common with the O'Donnell's on Pennsylvania Avenue in the '40's and '50's. (Crisfield then was a cheap cousin of O'Donnell's, arguably D. C.'s best seafood restaurant for years.)

              To go to the next level I actually remember when Phillips WAS a crab house in Ocean City and held 100 or so people. I even remember taking the ferry across the Bay as well as slot machines throughout Charles County. But the Rod 'n Reel is still in Chesapeake Beach although it doesn't look anything like the Rod 'n Reel of 50 years ago. Robertson's Crab House is still in Pope's Creek but it has little in common with Robertson's of then either. Some places like Solomon's Island have a seafood restaurant on a their pier. Well, Solomon's had a seafood restaurant on their pier 50 years ago. My parents told me there was a seafood restaurant there 70 years ago! But in 70 years none of them have been very good...

              And how could you possible have NOT been to Krispy Kreme on Richmond Highway. THE Krispy Kreme that opened there in the early '50's that my parents used to drive to from Silver Spring which was a LONG way before the Beltway opened. We would actually go to McDonald's #1 (still there but remodeled) and then to Krispy Kreme for dessert. Wendy's #1 (in the D. C. area) is about three miles up the road.

              Great topic. When I have more time I have to go into more detail. But you really seem to care about that which was. I know a lot about it and will post on here as I can.

              4 Replies
                1. re: flavrmeistr

                  Joe was heard from pretty often in 2002.

                  1. re: alopez

                    What year is this, anyway? I've lost my mind.

                  2. re: flavrmeistr

                    Indeed, i am glad you're back. Hopefully the New Regime has rescinded your Defenstration?

                    I would especially love to hear what you have to say about the western suburbs/exurbs -- western PWC, Leesburg, Out Fifty. That is my new stomping ground and it a little sparse here. In fact I'm going to start a thread about it right now!

                2. This is a great topic considering the recent demise of the last Hot Shoppes, Scholl's Colonial Cafeteria, and Sherills on the Hill. Vintage food-wise, the pizza's still good at Ristorante AV and they've been around for a while. Luigis is tasty (particularly their breads) but it's a little more upscale. And they're still serving G Man Sandwiches at Mangialiardo's on Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast.

                  Rip's in Bowie is still serving, and I think they've been around since at least the 1950s if not earlier. They used to be the only greasy spoon on that stretch of highway between Waldorf and Baltimore.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: WG

                    Mario's on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, since 1957.

                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                      The Coach Stop in Middleburg has been there since 1958. We're going to check it out soon.

                      1. re: Bob W

                        I go there pretty often. The food is pretty much sysco-truck fare but some items are exceptionally well-executed and the menu has a much broader range than the usual syco-truck place. You can get a salmon filet there or prime rib, and although they are not really good exapmples of either dish the prices are pretty reasonable. The service can be good or not, depending on which waitress you get. The burgers are really good. The side salad is always good, a pretty pedestrian assortment of vegetables but at their best and NOT FREEZINGASS COLD which is so often a problem with that dish. My wife really likes their bleu cheese dressing too. The milkshakes are good. The breakfasts are okay. They have country ham. The biscuits suck, but I am pretty picky about biscuits. On weekends, call for a reservation or check in with them and wander around Middleburg for as long as forty-five minutes until a table is ready. The owner is something of a community leader in town -- I think he is involved in politics there. Lots of locals.

                        Overall a solid player and very enjoyable if you're in town anyway. Maybe not a destination but the drive is so pretty you hardly need a destination. Afterward stock up at the Home Farm Market. The Ayreshire Farm meat and poultry is superb.