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Diner's (places for breakfast) in Old Town or near Old Town

I've lived in Alexandria for about two years now and haven't been able to find a decent place for breakfast. I'm not looking for anything fancy, just a great place for breakfast. Could be a diner or little cafe. The closest I came to it was the diner next to the hotel (can't remember the name) by the WW bridge. They tore the diner down so that the hotel could expand though.

I've tried places in Del Ray, along Route 1 (aka Jefferson Davis Hwy) and in Crystal City but to no avail. My typical breakfast is chicken fried steak and eggs or omelets when they are very good (my favorite is The Sugar Shack in San Clemente, CA) and occasionally waffles when in the mood.

Thanks!

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  1. I think you want the Royal Restaurant at 734 N St. Asaph. Elsie's Magic Skillet on Route 1 used to do a pretty decent chicken fried steak, but they're under new management so it might not be that great now. I've had pretty good luck with the IHOP chicken fried steak. There's also the Deluxe Diner in Crystal City (not the one on Route 1 but the one on 23rd Street).

    1. Yes, I've tried Royal Restaurant. To be frank, I don't understand the rave reviews it gets... It's a buffet which I personally don't think of as being very good quality - more quantity - on par with Whitlow's in Arlington... On top of which, the line on the weekends is ridiculous.

      Tried Elsie's but was not impressed with them either. Everything tasted very greasy (and not in a good way - more of a unclean, dirty way).

      Deluxe Diner was okay but again, nothing stellar. We also tried the sports bar next door. They have a buffet (again, nothing great) but they also have a gentleman that makes an okay omelet. Not bad but nothing to write home about.

      1. The problem is you're not going to get really good diner-style breakfast fare in the area you're in. Believe me, I've tried. You can get crummy-but-good (Waffle Shop) but it's going to be pretty greasy. Or you can get decent food (Bob & Ediths both locations) but you're going to have horrendous lines at most hours. Or you're going to have to hike out of the neighborhood for decent real diner fare (Tastee Diner) but again, lines on the weekends. There's the "fake" diners like Silver Diner in Springfield and Wilson Blvd, but their heartsmart meals outnumber the authentic diner fare. There's also the Tastee 29, but mediocre food and ridiculous lines and a hike to boot. You may as well drive the Waffle House in Dumfries.

        I always order off the menu at Royal. Not a big brunch fan myelf.

        3 Replies
        1. re: monkeyrotica

          Thanks!

          That is what I was afraid of. I wonder why it is that there aren't any good breakfast places around the Old Town Extended area south... Posting to Chowhound was my last ditch effort. Maybe I'll try ordering off the menu at Royal.

          Thanks again.

          1. re: schoenick

            I think the issue is demographics. Old Town's mix of blue and white collar residents gradually evolved to favor more upscale tastes. There used to be quite a few decent greasy spoons in the area (there was a Waffle Shop at the northeast corner of King and Washington where the chinese place is now). But like the cafeterias and automats downtown, they gave way to the chains and tapas places. Although it's not a sitdown place, Blue and White Carryout is probably one of the last of the oldschool cheap breakfast and lunch counters in Old Town.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Wow! Thank you so much!!! I have been wondering about that place ever since we moved here but it never seems to be open when I drive by. Thanks to the article, I see that it closes at 3:30. I think it must not be open on weekends but I'll give it a whirl.

              Thanks again!

        2. I always enjoy the breakfasts at Mancini's, corner of Mt. Vernon and Del Ray, worth a try if you haven't already.

          I wish Del Merei Grille did brunch - I bet they would do a bang-up job.

          1 Reply
          1. re: westofrome

            I will give Mancini's a try this weekend! Thanks for the recommendation.

          2. One word: Jacks. It's around the corner from Bilbo Baggins in Old Town. No linen on the tables, no waitresses. Just a counter a few tables and a very friendly counter woman. I recommend the blueberry and peach pancakes. You won't be sorry.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dcny1012

              Is Jacks still there? Haven't been in years, but I went in once and asked the guy, "Make me your biggest sandwich. Don't care what it is." He put this huge corned beef and pastrami monstrosity together and it was actually quite good. He seemed surprised that I ate it all in one sitting.

              Will have to try the breakfast sometime.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                Jack gave you that enormous sandwich, saying that no-one had ever finished one in one sitting. You took it as a challenge. He looked very surprised when you finished, but covered it by leaning in and asking, "ready for seconds?"

              2. re: dcny1012

                Yes - I've tried Jack's. I went there with my husband about three months ago. They had mostly sandwiches (although you are right about the pancakes - my husband ordered them) and no country fried steak.... Jack's is somewhere I would go for breakfast on the run but not for a weekend leisurely breakfast... Mostly because it is so tiny. We waited for about thirty minutes (and watch out because there is no one at the door, so it can be sort of a free for all when there are more than the front benchs can hold) and then had to order through two deep at the counter.