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Breakfast near the Willard

Monica Bhide

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Hi folks -- I need some breakfast place recommendations in DC for an early breakfast. My friend is going to be staying at the Willard but can take a cab. Her perference is something local.... Help!

How early? How swank? I'm assuming she wants something very early and doesn't care if it's particularly swank because, why isn't she just getting room service?

There are few places open before 7 AM. One of them is within walking distance of the Willard, but it is a bit grody: The Lincoln Diner, across the street from Ford's Theater in the 500 block of 10th. One of those formica counters with the "U's" in them so the server can stand in the curve of the U and serve six at once. She might also try the even closer Harriets at the Hotel Harrington, which I have never enjoyed but which opens at 6:30 and seems a little less divey. I do try to hit Harry's, in the same hotel,whenever I need to get ginned up for something subtitled at the E Street Cinema and assume that both establishment shave the same tattered but still safe-to-bring-the-kids vibe. Probably Harriets doesn't also offer imense martinis at a reasonable price, but that's less of a concern at breakfast.

The Diner in Adams-Morgan is open all night, but I hate it for reasons that remain unclear even to myself.

And my favorite open-at-6AM spot had become Ben's Chili Bowl, even though I dislike their chili. They do credible grits there and last time I broke my fast at Ben's the slighlty older couple at the end of the bar -- who appeared to have met only recently -- decided to hear some tunes and pumped up a little old-school soul and gospel on the juke, which added a delightful if slightly surreal feel to the whole pre-dawn florescence and clatter. Presumably this is where Obama would go if he was at the clubs all night.

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Thanks. I am actually looking for something a bit later in the morning to take her to. She just wants something with a local flavor...

Ben's surely reeks of local flavor. Also the Florida Avenue Grill, which I haven't tried because it opens later than I like.

Or you could Power Breakfast at Johnny's Half Shell. Nothing says DC like lobbyists and COngressmen.

More here.

(My wife just bought your new book but we haven't had a chance to cook from it yet)

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Here's a listing of breakfast spots in the DC Downtown BID...Not sure what "local flavor" means, but my first thought was Loeb's Deli, which was written up recently in the WaPo or even Old Ebbitt, both local institutions. I haven't heard of half these spots, until I saw this list, but I certainly didn't know Art and Soul was open for breakfast!
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YOu might check and see if the outdoor cafe at the Willard's Caef du PArc is open for breakfast, and what the menu is. Quite a nice spot.

Less nice, but also outdoors where you can watch the Dupont Circle neighborhood deal with morning and get an excellent milk shake, is Trios at 17th and Q.

(I'm trying to think of other outdoor breakfast spots that aren't Starbucks but am drawing a blank)

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