Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p. m. Monday through Friday. Closed weekends and holidays.
Atmosphere: A fast-paced carry-out or eat-in deli with a big menu for the downtown lunch bunch.
Prices: Pizza slices under a dollar; sandwiches under $2; hot specials up to $2.50.
Reservations: Not here.
Special Facilities: Accessible for patrons in wheelchairs; booster chairs, game room with pinball machines.
Credit Cards: None accepted.
The K Street Eatery is one place to lose yourself in a crowd and have a good time doing it.
And a crowd is what the Eatery gets each weekday at high noon when hordes of hungry workers and tourists queue up for the Eatery's big variety of lunchtime fare, all served in rapid-fire order to eat in or take out.
The Eatery calls itself a deli, and does indeed serve pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, the mainstay of deli fare. But it branches out into things like pizza, fried chicken, chili dogs and pork barbecue as well.
It was the perfect place to take our 13-year-old, who was suffering severe cabin fever after a bout with the chicken pox. A mob scene was just what she needed.
After our initial confusion, we discovered some order to the Eatery's method of feeding everybody fast. There are separate lines for pizza and Italian-type sandwiches, for chicken and burgers and for standard hot and cold sandwiches. You have to pay attention -- we wound up in pizza when we meant to be in chicken.
Somehow we managed to procure lunch and retired to one of the blond tables under a tree-sized ficus plant. My husband had the fried chicken platter, $1.99, served with a cole slaw so sweet it could melt your fillings, and wedges of unpeeled, fried potatoes. The "Eatery Fries" were a nice attempt to get away from french fries, but this batch was soggy and tasteless.
The chicken breast was dandy, crisp and juicy. If you don't want the whole platter, you can get pieces of chicken separately. For example, for 89 cents you can get two wings or two legs.
I had the "hot combo" for $1.99, a substantial pile of lean pastrami, roast beef and corned beef on rye bread.
This was accompanied by an innocuous cottage cheese salad, 89 cents.
Our daughter had a roast beef sandwich on white bread with a dab of mayonnaise for $1.99. Not an exciting meal for more developed tastes, but it was just the way she liked it, although she was surprised that the roast beef was hot.
Throughout our meal, the pizza line had been about 25-people deep (on "good" days, the line goes out the door and up the block). To find out if the Eatery pizza was worth the wait, our daughter took up a post at the end of the line.
Since five or six people are served every minute, she was back soon with a slice of pepperoni pizza dripping with cheese. She chose the Sicilian type with a thick, bread-like crust, 95 cents. It was indeed worth waiting for. You can also get slices of thin-crust pizza or calzone, a deep-dish pizza made with ham and eggs and cheese.
The pizza line is the place to pick up Italian cold-cut submarines, $1.89, or meatball or sausage subs, $1.69. The rolls are made on the premises.
The hot specials of the day were pork chop or short rib platters for $2.29. Hamburgers are available and so are the usual turkey, egg salad and chicken salad sandwiches, all between one and two dollars.
Salad platters are offered, but somehow their appearance in those little plastic boxes diminishes their appeal.
And we'd pass up the desserts, such as carrot cake and cheese cake, which are not made by the Eatery. We favored the frozen yogurt, made by Columbo and carried in only a few Washington restaurants. We had a creamy banana yogurt, generously swirled into a large cup, 65 cents.
Despite the scores of people served by the Eatery while we were there, we were in and out in 45 minutes. We spent $12.85, including soft drinks and coffee.
The prices, variety of food and fast service make the Eatery a good lunch stop for families spending the day in town. And parents who want a short break from the kids can supply them with quarters and ship them to the game room for a few rounds of pinball.