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Inauguration Day Breakfast Options in SE

OK, my family thinks I'm crazy, but friends and I are planning to Metro into DC early on the morning of Jan 20th. My thought is to exit at Eastern Market and then walk up Pennsylvania Ave SE towards the Capitol. Have a good breakfast/brunch and then head over to the millions on the Mall.

Any thoughts on restaurants/bars which may be open by 7am? I would think that some places will be opening early in anticipation of the throngs. Anyone with advanced knowledge of Matchbox or other establishment's plans for that morning?

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  1. um if I were you, i'd pick somewhere with reservations.

    Bistro Bis? any other hotel like that.

    otherwise...good luck. One portapotty per 7k people. Sounds like a blast to me!

    1. For sure, you MUST stop at Peregrine Espresso @ 660 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is very close to the Eastern Market station. Peregrine can boast of fine single origin coffees, gorgeous silky cappuccinos, balanced espresso, and a pastery lineup described in their blog as "including muffins, scones, croissants and a tasty egg-and-cheese breakfast brioche—comes from Buzz Bakery in Alexandria. The Rustico, Cranberry-Walnut and Kalamata Olive rolls are baked on South Capitol St. in DC by Lyon Bakery. We continue to have Cherry Glen Farms Chevre, Trickling Springs Creamery Butter, Whole Blueberry Preserves and Fig Jam to pair with these rolls."

      If you've never been to Peregrine, you are in for a treat. It is the top coffee shop in DC right now. I'm a bit of a coffee aficionado and a bit silly about Peregrine.

      Normally they open at 7 a.m. during the week, I imagine they would open earlier on inauguration day.

      Peregrin Espresso
      660 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

      2 Replies
      1. re: Treva

        Call beforehand. I've heard that a lot of businesses are not opening that day because of tbd street closures, employees not being able to make it to/from work, delivery trucks not being able to deliver, etc.

        1. re: crackers

          I sent an e-mail inquiry to Peregrine. One of the owners responded that Peregrine will open during normal hours (7am - 9pm), but with additional staff to accommodate additional customers.

      2. I would say get reservations somewhere or eat wherever you can get in, that area should be a mad house. Perhaps Bistro Bis or Johnny's on the Half Shell?

        1. Not sure what Matchbox has planned. I live east of the river and hang out on the Hill, if I were you, I would get off before Cap Hill..... perhaps closer to downtown and have a nice breakfast at Founding Farmers... then walk towards the Mall. If you do end up on Cap Hill, do get a coffee drink from Peregrine... it will be the best you've ever had, outside of Italy.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mjf32

            Thanks, but I'll be coming from the east (hopefully New Carrollton unless the garages are full), so I want to get off a distance from the Mall, but still on the west side of the Anacostia. That's why I'm leaning towards places in Southeast near Penn Ave rather than Northeast, nearer Union Station (Bistro Bis, etc.).

            1. re: bordeauxfan

              Not to rain on your (inaugural) parade, but I think the best option might be to fix some snacks and bring them with you. At least as an insurance policy in case places aren't open or are too full.

              1. re: pomme de terre

                I'm 99.9% sure you will not be allowed to bring food with you anywhere along the route, especially since no bags are allowed.

                1. re: Jeserf

                  Jeserf, that last 00.09 is the devil in the details. The Secret Service website doesn't say anything about not bringing food along the parade route, and certainly bags are allowed in the non-ticketed areas of the Mall. Holding a cup of Peregrine coffee, a brioche sandwich, or other food that you can stuff inside your jacket pockets should be fine, unless it's explosive, so no Pop Rocks in that coffee!

                  "Prohibited Items: As a security precaution, the following items will be prohibited from Inaugural parade route, the White House reviewing stand or the Inaugural balls: firearms, ammunition, explosives, weapons of any kind, aerosols, supports for signs and placards, packages, coolers, thermal or glass containers, backpacks, bags exceeding size restrictions (8"x6"x4"), laser pointers, animals other than helper/guide dogs, structures, bicycles and any other items determined to be a potential safety hazard."

                  Go to http://www.secretservice.gov/presiden... for more.

                  1. re: crackers

                    We got an email at work saying bags were not allowed along the parade route. I figure "going to the inauguration" meant something like that, not standing around on the mall.

                    How anyone would enjoy standing THAT close to other people with very hot coffee and some food on the mall while seeing noting is a different story.

                    Also, the DC and Capitol police might have their own information as well.

          2. OP here again -- can someone help me out with my list of restaurants/bars in SE? Thanks for other suggestions, but I'm focusing on places South of East capitol street -- so no Bistro Bis, Union Station etc. My guess is that NE and NW will be even more mobbed with visitors in hotels and those arriving by train.

            So far I have Matchbox and Sonoma (?). Maybe Locanda? What else is near Penn Ave SE, and/or Barracks Row? My usual source's (the WP website) restaurant search function is current "under maintenance".

            7 Replies
            1. re: bordeauxfan

              le bon cafe, cosi, starbucks, dunkin donuts, market lunch

              1. re: Jeserf

                I 2nd Le Bon. Although it is teeny tiny and will most likely be very crowded so you might have to do take out.

              2. re: bordeauxfan

                For Barracks Row:

                Along Pennsylvania Avenue, on the South side, there are restaurants from the Eastern Market Metro stop all the way to the Capitol Grounds.
                Everything from Locanda, McDonald's, Mr. Henry's, Roland's Grocery, 18th Amendment, Gandel's Liquor for sandwiches, Sonoma, Hawk and Dove, Pour House, Tune Inn, Capitol Lounge, Firehook Bakery, Cosi, Starbuck's, a health food store, Thai Roma, and some places I can't even remember.
                On the North side, in the 600 block, you can find Sizzling Express and Yes! Natural Foods.

                All are GUARANTEED to be mobbed. They are busy on regular, ordinary days for lunch when Congress is in session.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  Thank you -- I really appreciate all the detail! Yes I would think they'd be mobbed. We'll see.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    McDonald's? I think that's Mattress Discounters now and they're just as speedy with burgers as the old McD's was.

                    re an earlier poster, Peregrine is in the 666 Penn building, but it's entered from the 7th street side. across from the former Hine Junior High next to the florist.

                    unless someone's taking advantage of special hours, pickings can be a mite slim.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      You left out Pete's Diner. Open at 5:00 a.m. for breakfast.

                      No booze there, though.

                    2. re: bordeauxfan

                      I've not checked that these will be open on inauguration day, but here is a list of restaurants around the Eastern Market metro station on Capitol Hill that I can personally recommend: Banana Cafe, Belga Cafe, Asian Fusion, Starfish, The Old Siam, Montemartre, Las Placitas, Tunnicliffs, Samphan, Jimmy T's. These are all either on 8th or Pennsylvania streets a block or two from the metro.

                      And it looks like Le Pain Quotidian just opened on Penn this morning.

                    3. The hot dog vendors should be out in full force. Maybe you'll get lucky and find a good half-smoke and some Baked Lays.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: MartinDC

                        I thought I heard they're cutting back on the lunch vendors allowed - just hearsay? any corroboration?

                        1. re: hill food

                          The regular street vendors were demonstrating last week over the rules that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) was trying to put in place for Inauguration Day. Not sure exactly what all the issues were.
                          Obviously, vendors would like to be near the Parade Route but the crowds will be too heavy and the Secret Service will have fits over that.
                          The regular vendors would like some preference - they don't want to be stuck 8 blocks from the crowds while people who NEVER work in DC get prime places.

                          If I were going downtown, my pockets would be bulging with snacks and sandwiches, like I was going into the wilderness.
                          I would assume that I will be completely on my own.

                          I have a strong hunch that they have over-estimated the crowds but there is no way to count on that.
                          Prepare for it and be pleasantly surprised if the crowds are reasonable.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            "If I were going downtown, my pockets would be bulging with snacks and sandwiches, like I was going into the wilderness.
                            I would assume that I will be completely on my own."

                            yep. total agreement.

                            and while some of the regular vendors completely suck (I'm talking to you over by Independence at Ag) they have paid dues.

                            1. re: MakingSense

                              I don't know that crowds are being overestimated... I have family in Wilmington NC who say there are bus trips being arranged, and hotels in Richmond and Charlottesville are scarce for those times, of course DC then can only be crowded if they can make it into the city, I kind of doubt they will be able to make it up here through all the traffic. I too would pack as if going into the wilderness, if I didn't have a reservation somewhere.

                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                Thanks for the advice, all. Totally agree regarding lunch reservations post-Inauguration. But again, I'm hoping to score some half-decent grub pre-Inauguration. Given that I'll be trying to snag one of the few Metro parking spaces between 5 and 6am, I'm hoping for breakfast (preferably with mimosas and bloody marys) somewhere along Penn Ave between Eastern Market and the Capitol. Thus the specificity of the title. :-)

                                1. re: ktmoomau

                                  on the estimating the crowd issue -- our local bed and breakfast (in Adams-Morgan) apparently was all booked back in September (or something) for Inauguration weekend, but now has had cancellations and actually has rooms available. I suspect a fair number of people got all excited to come but are now having second thoughts. But I'd say I'm with you all that you can't be overprepared.

                                  Bordeauxfan -- you will report back, right?!

                                  1. re: mselectra

                                    Oui oui! And if I find out anything in advance from restaurants (by calling them directly), I'll post that info here.

                                    1. re: bordeauxfan

                                      breakfast with drinks in that stretch of Penn? my money would be on Tune Inn.

                          2. Le Pain Quotidien is looking to be in the final stages of buildout right next to Peregrine Espresso at 7th and Pennsylvania. Can't say for sure if they will be open by Inauguration but they had hoped to be open by Christmas, so maybe.

                            Also, the Market Lunch counter inside Eastern Market is open by 7am and serves some nice greasy breakfast sandwiches. Get "the brick".

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: resting

                              Le Pain Quotidien hopes to open by Friday, according to one of their managers. Obviously, things will be a bit rocky handling such crowds during their first week. Their normal hours have them opening at 7am on weekdays, so I would assume that will be the case next Tuesday.

                              1. re: resting

                                they looked like they were wrapping up some of the cosmetic finish work today using a chop saw on the metal legs of something on the terrace. but I always expect delays in construction of any sort.

                                did B+C have hardwood floors? I can't recall. the room does now in any case.

                              2. re: resting

                                surprisingly the Market will be open both Monday (that's right) and Tuesday.

                              3. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/goin...

                                Just wanted to be sure you'd seen this, lists places that will be open early for breakfast, as well as for lunch.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: mselectra

                                  Thank you! Yes I did see this yesterday, and have passed it along to my fellow Inauguration-goers. My initial thoughts are the Tune Inn and/or the Penn Ave Sports Tavern.

                                  1. re: bordeauxfan

                                    I noticed that Le Bon Cafe is not on the list, although people above are recommending it. Good to know that Pete's will be open so early. But those two you're thinking about seem like good ideas (I've never been to Penn Ave, but Tune Inn just seems so appropriately DC for the big day).