Fifty years and counting: Washington’s culinary survivors

July 26, 2013

The Washington area is haunted by the ghosts of beloved, bygone eateries: Blackie's House of Beef, Duke Zeibert's, Scholl's Cafeteria, Yenching Palace. Even the names evoke another era (along with the aroma of prime rib, marinara, fried clams and chow mein). In addition to the survivors profiled in today's Weekend section, other local establishments have managed to stay in business past the half-century mark, or are creeping close to it.

Five restaurants that time (almost) forgot | D.C.'s best trusty old watering holes

Some have stayed alive by renovating, relocating or otherwise reinventing themselves; others, by doing nothing at all. Unfortunately, some change is inevitable. O'Donnell's Sea Grill, which has been serving its famous rum buns since 1922, is closing its doors on Saturday, July 27.

These are some of the dinosaurs of the D.C. restaurant scene, and readers have already written to ask how we could have possibly omitted 29 Diner in Fairfax (1947), Loeb's NY Deli downtown (1959) and Annie's Paramount Steakhouse (1948) near Dupont. If you want to mention (or wax poetic about) others, e-mail us at

1789 (est. 1960)
Ben’s Chili Bowl (est. 1958)
Bob and Edith’s Diner (est. 1969)
Cedar Knoll Restaurant (est. 1940)
Clyde’s (est. 1963)
Crisfield Seafood Restaurant (est. 1945)
Famous Luigi’s Pizza (est. 1943)
Florida Avenue Grill (est. 1944)
Gadsby’s Tavern (est. 1770)
L’Auberge Chez Francois (est. 1954)
Ledo Restaurant (est. 1955)
Mrs. K’s Tollhouse Restaurant (est. 1930)
Old Angler’s Inn (est. 1957)
Old Ebbitt Grill (est. 1856)
Parkway Deli (est. 1963)
Tabard Inn (est. 1922)
Tastee Diner (est. 1935)
Whitlow’s on Wilson (est. 1946)

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Michael O’Sullivan has worked since 1993 at The Washington Post, where he covers art, film and other forms of popular — and unpopular — culture.
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Maura Judkis · July 26, 2013