Hot Shoppes is coming back to D.C.


J. Willard Marriott standing in front of a Hot Shoppes restaurant in the late 1940s. (Courtesy of Marriott International)

Hotelier J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr. disclosed in an interview with Washingtonian published today that a Hot Shoppes would open in the new Marriott Marquis hotel now under construction next to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

It would be the first Hot Shoppes since the 1999 closing of the last outlet in what was once a dozens-strong chain of cafeteria-style restaurants. Hot Shoppes was the foundation of the Marriott family hospitality empire, which grew from a single storefront restaurant opened at 14th Street and Park Road NW by J. Willard Marriott in 1927.

Bill Marriott, Willard’s son and executive chairman of Marriott International Corp., said the menu will feature the classic “Mighty Mo” — a triple-decker hamburger that some say was ripped off by inspired the McDonald’s franchisee who invented the Big Mac.

[UPDATE, 3:50 P.M., 12/21: Having heard from many Teen Twist and Orange Freeze enthusiasts, the post had been corrected to reflect that not all Hot Shoppes outlets were cafeteria-style, only some. Also, head over to Rosenwald, Md., where Mike Rosenwald shares the official Marriott-endorsed recipe for Mighty Mo sauce.]


Marriott says his company’s flagship D.C. hotel will include a Hot Shoppes. (NORM BETTS/BLOOMBERG NEWS)

Marriott offered a few details in his interview with Carol Joynt:

Will it be faithful to the old menu?

Chicken croquettes might not adapt to today, but you can’t mess around with the Mighty Mo.

I loved the steak-and-cheese and the orange freeze.

The orange freeze is easy: orange sherbet and vanilla syrup.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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