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

s
schoenick Sep 24, 2006 03:37 PM

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!

  1. monkeyrotica Sep 24, 2006 10:47 PM

    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. s
      schoenick Sep 25, 2006 02:13 PM

      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. monkeyrotica Sep 25, 2006 03:13 PM

        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
          s
          schoenick Sep 25, 2006 09:45 PM

          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
            monkeyrotica Sep 26, 2006 12:33 PM

            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
              s
              schoenick Sep 27, 2006 02:31 AM

              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. w
          westofrome Sep 25, 2006 09:54 PM

          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
            s
            schoenick Sep 27, 2006 02:24 AM

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

          2. d
            dcny1012 Sep 25, 2006 10:29 PM

            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
              monkeyrotica Sep 26, 2006 12:26 PM

              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
                n
                nylonthread Sep 26, 2006 04:27 PM

                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
                s
                schoenick Sep 27, 2006 02:23 AM

                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.

              3. n
                NoVaDog Sep 27, 2006 11:39 AM

                What's the scoop on Table Talk? I've never been, but it always seems packed, even more so with the Whole Foods nearby.

                2 Replies
                1. re: NoVaDog
                  monkeyrotica Sep 27, 2006 12:46 PM

                  I completely forgot about Table Talk! Just breakfasts and lunches, pretty standard fare (egg and bacon sandwiches, flapjacks, hashbrowns, etc). Not great, not terrible, served at a leisurly pace is about the worst I can say for it. Pretty cheap as well, last time I checked. And I think they did have chicken fried steak, but it was drowned in this odd, orange-colored sausage gravy. If worse comes to worse, you can always drown your meal at the bar.

                  If you're tired of eating healthy, organic, cruelty-free food at the Whole Foods across the street, THIS is the place to go.

                  1. re: NoVaDog
                    s
                    schoenick Sep 27, 2006 09:06 PM

                    Yes - I would agree with the other posters assessment - it's not bad but not great. Average omelets and typical breakfast fare. I think they are looking to tear that building down though so if you want to go for yourself, go soon.

                  2. davefaris Sep 27, 2006 10:39 PM

                    I don't know if it's still there or not, but there once was a little hole-in-the-wall diner in a strip mall on Glebe Road, not far from Route 1 in Crystal City... near where the bowling alley used to be, and has been replaced by a Gold's Gym. You can get pretty decent diner fare there, like chipped beef on toast, etc. for not a lot of money. Worth the short ride from Alexandria.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: davefaris
                      b
                      browneyz99 Oct 30, 2006 06:50 PM

                      you could try Luna Grill in Shirlington - not old town but not far - though I am not sure if they have chicken fried steak and the strangely dont have pancakes (but do have waffles) none the less I have always been happy with their breakfasts

                      1. re: browneyz99
                        monkeyrotica Oct 30, 2006 07:47 PM

                        I'll second Luna Grill. Worth the drive from Old Town. Can get crowded, but they do a good breakfast. I recall their meatloaf and turkey with stuffing being very good. Don't think they do chicken fried steak, but they do a good fried chicken.

                        http://www.lunagrillanddiner.com/Menu...

                    2. c
                      cmhwilkins Oct 9, 2010 10:33 AM

                      You know, I was looking for a great place to meet some friends for breakfast in or near Old Town Alexandria...to no avail. No review seems really great. A friend of mine used to live in Del Ray...here's what she had to say...Mancini's weekdays and weekends, Fire Fly's does a great weekend brunch. She offered other suggestions but not as good as the Del Ray options. HOWEVER, MY FAVORITE PLACE for breakfast is in Arlington...Metro29 Diner!!! Here's the 'link'...http://www.metro29.com/ The diner is actually going to be featured on "Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins" this month. We've been going there for several years and we live out in PG County!!!!!!! I think you'll find it has the offerings you are searching for!!!

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                      Fire Fly Restaurant
                      1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036

                      1. monkeyrotica Oct 9, 2010 05:17 PM

                        Four years later, there's still no really great breakfasts in Old Town. I end up taking King Street out to Atlantis. Standard Greek/Italian fare, good omlettes, solid souvlakis and gyros. BUT they're open every weekday at 7am, and 8 on the weekend. They do a nice belgian waffle (kinda reminds me of the old Waffle House ones), and they have several soups every day. I also like being able to order lunch items for breakfast.

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                        Atlantis Pizzaria Restaurant
                        3648 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302

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