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America, a Generic Tourist Trap in Union Station Owned by ARK Restaurants - Closed


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I started my day in Restaurant Hell yesterday by dining at Union Station's America. I was seeing a friend off, and we decided to have lunch before her train to New York left. We chose America because it was what appeared to be a nice place, and it was near the gate to the Acela.

I guess I should do a better job of checking out restaurants.

I ordered the Cuban sandwich. It arrived having been microwaved. The bottom half of the roll was soggy, thin and falling apart. The center of the meat was cold. I ate two bites. My friend, who is used to eating in New York, wasn't impressed. Now I have to buy her lunch. In Manhattan. At a place of her choosing.

You'd think that by now I'd learn.

Wayne Rash

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My friend, who is used to eating in New York, wasn't impressed. Now I have to buy her lunch. In Manhattan. At a place of her choosing.

You have seven Manhattan restaurants from which to choose, all owned by the same Nasdaq-traded restaurant group that owns America ... click.

This same New York-based corporation also owns Center Café and Thunder Grill (both in Union Station), and Sequoia.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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ate there with the kids about 6 months ago. A few things were OK, some were not - sorry, can't remember specifics. I do remember though that the menu is a tour of the US and has specialties from nearly every state. While on the one hand this means something for everyone, on the other hand it makes you wonder if the kitchen has any particular skill or focus. Even diners have some basic ingredients served 100 different ways. This place is literally 'all over the map'.

I can't think of any reason to recommend it.

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Somehow, I've managed to eat at the one in Manhatten, Union Station, and NYNY in Vegas (and maybe even the one in Tysons). While they may try to do things from all over the U.S., I can't say they do any of them particularly well.... even pancakes in Vegas were disappointing. For chain restaurants at the price point, I'd rather be at Friday's or Cheesecake Factory.

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You have seven Manhattan restaurants from which to choose, all owned by the same Nasdaq-traded restaurant group that owns America ... click.

This same New York-based corporation also owns Center Café and Thunder Grill (both in Union Station), and Sequoia.

Cheers,

Rocks.

I have the strong feeling that "Lunch at a place of her choosing," is going to resemble Le Bernadin a lot more than it resembles America. She took me to Gary Danko in San Francisco. Now you can understand why America was soooo embarassing. I don't know what I'll have to do to overcome this, but you can bet it'll be expensive.

Wayne Rash

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I have the strong feeling that "Lunch at a place of her choosing," is going to resemble Le Bernadin a lot more than it resembles America. She took me to Gary Danko in San Francisco. Now you can understand why America was soooo embarassing. I don't know what I'll have to do to overcome this, but you can bet it'll be expensive.

If you're in the situation again and need a place near the train, go to Bistro Bis, which is just a few minutes walk away in the Hotel George. Johnny's Half Shell is slightly closer, but my preference is for Bis. Either would be worlds better than America :D
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If you're in the situation again and need a place near the train, go to Bistro Bis, which is just a few minutes walk away in the Hotel George. Johnny's Half Shell is slightly closer, but my preference is for Bis. Either would be worlds better than America :D

I love Bistro Bis. I first went there right after it opened with a friend who owns a restaurant in San Francisco, and I've been going back from time to time since.

Unfortunately, going there while at Union Station requires that I actually remember that it's a couple of blocks from Union Station. At my age, memory can be a problem, although I forget exactly why.

One thing that I will remember, however, is that almost anything in Union Station is better than America (the restaurant). Maybe even Sbarro. Or maybe not. I've never actually eaten there.

Wayne Rash

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All I remember is that I ordered a scotch there, and it came with bugs (fruit flies?) in it. That's enough. At least that doesn't happen at the Station Grill.

At least they don't drink a lot.

I think I'll avoid this place entirely - including the scotch. So now the question is whether there's any place at all in Union Station worth visiting for a meal, or if it's just better to grab a sandwich in the Acela cafe car?

WR

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At least they don't drink a lot.

I think I'll avoid this place entirely - including the scotch. So now the question is whether there's any place at all in Union Station worth visiting for a meal, or if it's just better to grab a sandwich in the Acela cafe car?

WR

Wayne, you can get a decent -- albeit very heavy -- meal at B. Smith's. Try the Swamp Thing, then sleep on the train.

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Union Station has turned into chain central. The west hall on the main level now has a Chipotle, Potbelly's, Roti, Yo! Sushi, and Chop't. There's also a Pret a Manger on that level. Quite a few of the mom 'n pops on the lower level have been replaced with chains, although a few of the former are still around. Burger King and Einstein Bagels are incoming. They also have stands near the outdoor Metro entrance. America is long gone, although Pizzeria Uno, Center Cafe, and East St. Cafe are there.

Not that this is any loss, but do you know when America closed?

Incidentally, ARK Restaurants recently refused a $71 million takeover offer from Landry's (Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. et al).

Ugh, I am so tired of spending my life classifying and organizing mediocrity (if not sub-mediocrity). I know how Tom Shales feels.

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Not that this is any loss, but do you know when America closed?

Incidentally, ARK Restaurants recently refused a $71 million takeover offer from Landry's (Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. et al).

Ugh, I am so tired of spending my life classifying and organizing mediocrity (if not sub-mediocrity). I know how Tom Shales feels.

America closed quite some time ago -- more than a a year ago. Maybe a year and a half?

ETA: Prince of Petworth says it closed at the end of October 2011.

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Not that this is any loss, but do you know when America closed?

Incidentally, ARK Restaurants recently refused a $71 million takeover offer from Landry's (Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. et al).

Ugh, I am so tired of spending my life classifying and organizing mediocrity (if not sub-mediocrity). I know how Tom Shales feels.

Landry's sent a follow up letter questioning Ark's move and claiming that the board is self serving working to preserve the interests of management (highly paid of course)..http://markets.on.nytimes.com/research/stocks/news/press_release.asp?docTag=201303072127PR_NEWS_USPRX____DA73616&feedID=600&press_symbol=47986

Interestingly the comments within the Prince of Petworth article spoke well of one of Ark's other restaurants in Union Station.

On a wholly separate item, for years and years, Sequoia on the Georgetown waterfront was the best place to bartend on the east coast (during the warm weather) Regular bartenders would come up from Key West and often make $1k/night during good weather at that flourishing restaurant meat market

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I don't think it was so much that the bartenders came up here as DC bartenders luck enough to get that gig could winter in Florida. Its not the only place in town to allow bartenders to hibernate for a few months a year.

Landry's sent a follow up letter questioning Ark's move and claiming that the board is self serving working to preserve the interests of management (highly paid of course)..http://markets.on.nytimes.com/research/stocks/news/press_release.asp?docTag=201303072127PR_NEWS_USPRX____DA73616&feedID=600&press_symbol=47986

Interestingly the comments within the Prince of Petworth article spoke well of one of Ark's other restaurants in Union Station.

On a wholly separate item, for years and years, Sequoia on the Georgetown waterfront was the best place to bartend on the east coast (during the warm weather) Regular bartenders would come up from Key West and often make $1k/night during good weather at that flourishing restaurant meat market

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you know, I use to enjoy the Cincinnati-style chili served up at the Tyson's America circa 1997...guilty pleasure kinda thing.

Shame the Skyline in the food court never really caught on. When was that... early 90s? 80s?

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Popville reports that Shake Shack is moving into the old America space.

Seems reasonable. Certainly better than America.

With all the foot traffic and a nice Capital-esque architecture, I would think Clyde's would want to put a concept here, although Clyde's of Chevy Chase has already done the transportation theme, replete with train running overhead.

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