Open daily 9:30 p.m. No reservations. No credit cards.
Prices: Main dishes $5 to $8.50
You never can tell what nationality youre going to encounter from year to year at the Stop Inn, subtitled the Wisconsin Avenue Sub Station. These days it's Persian, though the menu above the counter of this nine-table storefront still lists subs and hamburgers. But now the songs on the jukebox are all in Persian, and the handwritten menu over the counter lists Chelo Kebabv Soltani, Chelo Kebab Barg, Koobideh and Doogh. The first three are beef kebabs in various forms; doogh is yogurt with mint. Actually, the kebabs could be translated as lamb, but as the counter man put it, the Stop Inn uses beef because "lamb must be marinated or else it stinks." Stop Inn is pretty basic. The meat has been dry and stringy, so the ground koobideh is likely to be the best choice. Beyond that, alternatives are big flat breads for wrapping the meat into a sandwich like India's dosas or the Caribbean's rotis. Or you can get rice. A great pile of rice spooned from a large pot covered with yellow cloth right on top of your meat -- that wonderful soft and butter Persian rice, covered with ground sumac to impart its wonderful tart and tingly savor. A little meat of nonimpeccable character, a lot of spicy and filling rice, a television set, a cigarette machine and a pinball machine. A flaming and spitting grill in the rear, a scraggly potted plant inn the front and several palm fans on the wall, which could have been the legacy of the previous ethnic restaurant. And a check for well under $10. Stop Inn would be familiar to students anywhere.