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Dec 31, 2006 12:39 AM

Question for all DC people...

If you guys went on a DC work trip for 3 days and wanted cool, historic places and cool "hole in the walls" that had an interestin story....What eating places have the coolest stories and what should we order???

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  1. Yenching Palace Chinese Restaurant in Cleveland Park (3524 Connecticut Avenue, NW) was the site of several secret meetings between the Soviet Union and the US during the Cuban Missile Crisis...

    1 Reply
    1. re: dartmouth05

      Yenching Palace is closing soon. According to a story I read on the WTOP website last week, it is slated to become a Walgreen's Pharmacy.

    2. Nathan's in the center of Georgetown, where more policy has been made than will ever be known.

      1 Reply
      1. re: New Division

        thanks for the replies...what is good at nathans and Yenching?

      2. Is it Nathans- hot dogs?...maybe a dumb question?

        7 Replies
        1. re: captainzero5

          No, Nathan's is a local restaurant that calls itself a salooon b/c it's a bar and also a sit down restaurant that serves american fare.

          You might also want to consider the Palm restaurant, which is a chain steakhouse, but has caricatures on the walls of the local power players in this area. Last time I was there, I saw Stephanopolous chowing down. Supposedly serves the best porterhouse in town, and although it's not my favorite cut, I must admit it was pretty good.

          Another place where the powerbrokers go is the Capitol Grille on Penn. Ave, which is a stone's throw from Capitol Hill.

          1. re: Chownut

            But these are only "to be seen" places, and have no poltical history, which is, I believe, what the OiP was seeking.

            1. re: New Division

              Maybe not as much Capital Grille, but surely the Palm has some history. People don't get their caracatures on the wall for not being part of DC's history. I mean, what kind of history does Vienna Inn have besides some vets/civil servants who stop by off and on to chew the fat?

              Also, two more places to consider in DC/DC area are the Cactus Cantina where the Bushes go for their Tex Mex.


              ...and the Peking Gourmet near Bailey's Crossroads where many political powers go also. The Bushes, both senior and dubya, love to frequent this place. There are tons of pics on the walls.


              If you care about the Bush Twins, their favorite hangout was Smith Point in Adams Morgan.


              1. re: Chownut

                Just a quick correction to this post, if you are looking for Smith Point, it is in Georgetown and not in Adams Morgan.

          2. re: captainzero5

            Hardly the hot dog place, my child, since Nathan's sits on the SW corner of M and Wisconsin, NW, literally the center of Georgetown, and has been there - in all its dynastic glory - for many years, maybe even longer than the hot dog guys with the umbrellas. That said, the food is pretty good, but quite secondary to the ambience and whatever happens to be going on that day.

            Another spot that you might enjoy - but which requires a car and a bit of a drive into Virginia is a trip to the Vienna Inn in Vienna, VA. The old guys who sit at the bar are veterans of government and military jobs and they can tell you stories, if you are their kind and if they are so moved and if you're buying the beers at 8 in the morning or afterwards, you'll get an education in what the Cold War was about, what's going on in the Middle East today, and what's going to happen next.


            1. re: New Division

              Vienna Inn would be the place to get chili dogs.

              1. re: Chownut

                Not my favorite item on the menu, I must admit, since the original owners, the Abrahams, were friends of mine and confided that they used turkey dogs. Ugh. But, maybe the new owners have seen the light.

                Frankly, no one goes to the Vienna Inn - never did - for the food. It's not the same, though, without Mollie and Mike Abraham there, we oldtimers agree. Ask the guys at the bar about Mollie and Mike, if you didn't know them personally. What a remarkable couple they were.

          3. Billy Martin's Tavern in Georgetown was a hangout for politicos of previous generations. I believe they have booths said to have been Nixon's favorite (when he was in congress) and some others like that. Most importantly, you can sit in the very booth where JFK proposed to Jackie, which might especially appeal if there are any ladies in your group. Of course, maybe you weren't even born by 1963.

            Should you go, the food is good, elemental and slightly upscale bar food. They have a hot brown, the only place in the DC area I know of that offers that particular hot sandwich, and it is worth trying provided you're not too worried about calories. Good burgers too.

            It's on Wisconsin about 4 blocks north of M.

            1. How about Au Pied du Cochon on Georgetown on Wisconsin Avenue? It, like Yenching Palace, apparently has quite a bit of history -- stories of spies exchanging secrets, etc. The food is not particularly memorable, but it's modeled on French bistro dining. Actually, the best thing about it is that it's open 24 hours.

              I'm scratching my head for other historic places, but I think probably a lot of the originals have closed, e.g., the restaurant spaces at the Watergate have been through umpteen changes.

              Otherwise, the Florida Avenue Grill is a famed DC spot, with pretty good soul food. Some on this board turn their noses up at it, but the meals I've had there have been wonderful, and the service was very warm.

              2 Replies
              1. re: FoodieGrrl

                If you're looking for Au Pied du Cochon, you haven't been to G'town in awhile. It was replaced by Five Guys in '04.

                1. re: Mister Big

                  LOL! You're right -- I avoid G'town like the plague since I've never been able to navigate the ripped up roads and the traffic (both vehicular and foot). Well, that's not entirely true -- I did venture to the edge to have brunch at the Four Seasons -- and let me tell you, the orange juice alone made it all worth it.