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Tour Bus Restaurants


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The other day, I saw a huge group of school kids hanging around outside Old Country Buffet in Fairfax (in Fair City Mall). I've also noticed a couple other places on Little River Turnpike inside the beltway that seem like they're designed exclusively for tour buses (way back from the street, huge parking lots, signs offering pizza, etc.) - how many of you have actually eaten at MaGill's?

With the demise of Market Inn, I guess this leaves the Southwest Waterfront (which has, I believe, the largest restaurants in DC - Pier 7 alone must be able to handle 1,000 people). China Garden in Rosslyn (the one upstairs) seems like a good bet.

You wonder how these places stay in business; I guess that's how.

So I'm curious, where else in the area have you seen the dreaded tour buses prowl, unloading their cattle? I suspect there's an entire trade journal devoted to this, but I haven't bothered to search for it.

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In the Ronald Reagan Building, the food court is essentially impenetrable from April to September because of all the high-school tour groups clutching food vouchers. On the bright side, aside from the coffee at the Italian place, the food choices are so abysmal I generally don't have any desire to penetrate it anyway.

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Peter Pan Buffet at Fairfax Circle always has busses of Asian tourists out front. In fact, 7 years ago, my Chinese roommate took me there. I thought it sucked, so I'm curious how it draws the ethnic crowds at a large scale....and apparently small scale since my roommate knew about it.

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I live a block from the China Garden which is one which is big enough to serve several bus loads of tourists, most of them Asian. It is across the street from where Tom Sarris's Orleans House used to be and I would walk past there as buses dropped off slews of senior citizens from what I like to imagine was Nebraska getting to eat in a sophisticated Washington DC place. "It has to be good, Mary. They have a salad bar."

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China Garden does a large Chinese wedding banquet trade, and, as its location is close to neither an abundance of wedding ceremony locations nor an abundance of easy parking, some of those buses may have been chartered by wedding organizers.

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There's a Korean restaurant in the Barcroft shopping center on Columbia Pike that always seems to have 2-3 tour buses parked beside it.

That's Han Sung Oak and they have a large back room they run (mostly Korean) tourists through. Fortunately, it doesn't impact the front part of the restaurant which happens to be a reasonably good Korean restaurant.

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China Garden does a large Chinese wedding banquet trade, and, as its location is close to neither an abundance of wedding ceremony locations nor an abundance of easy parking, some of those buses may have been chartered by wedding organizers.

Nope. I was there when two of the buses unloaded once, and it was definitely not Chinese wedding banquet. It was the wave-the-red-flag/umbrella/pole-and-follow-me tours.

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That's Han Sung Oak and they have a large back room they run (mostly Korean) tourists through. Fortunately, it doesn't impact the front part of the restaurant which happens to be a reasonably good Korean restaurant.

Yeah - first time I went there, there were 2-3 buses outside, but almost no one in the front of the restaurant.

Sometimes I just think they're parked there...

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Yeah - first time I went there, there were 2-3 buses outside, but almost no one in the front of the restaurant.

Sometimes I just think they're parked there...

They have an agreement with Dong Bu (a NYC bus company) for feeding Korean tourists to the DC area. They must do 2 and 3 day tours for the "retired" because most of the riders are "of a certain age" (which I'm rapidly approaching :D).

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My bet would go to the Pentagon City Mall food court as hosting the most tour bus passengers on any given day.

Agree. It seems the food court is jammed with kids all the time, not just summer. The poor souls with toothpicks can't get the free samples out fast enough. The busses are always lined up out front, the street vendors furiously selling FBI t-shirts, DEA hats and my favorite: the Witness Protection Program neon tank top. I just can't imagine that the kids that buy those are going to go home to Topeka or Toledo and rock those shirts at school, strolling the halls like they're the shit. But what do I know? I'm from here.

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My bet would go to the Pentagon City Mall food court as hosting the most tour bus passengers on any given day.

Agreed! Someone should conduct a time lapse photography project of the masses, often dressed in matching t-shirts, swarming the food court each day. Especially during summer months.

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Back in the day (late 80s/early 90s), I could testify that sitting at the nexus of the then Sheraton and the Omni Shoreham hotels, Murphy's of DC would be the recepient of tour buses full of German tourists all armed with 6 words of English: "One steak, one beer, separate checks". As a former waiter there, I still wake up in the middle of the night screaming, sweating and swearing at them.

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My bet would go to the Pentagon City Mall food court as hosting the most tour bus passengers on any given day.

Which is really disgusting given this particular situation: http://www.arlnow.com/2010/08/16/ballston-pentagon-city-mall-food-courts-cited-for-pests/

I know it's been nearly two years, but given where the food court *is* at Pentagon City, I'd imagine it's impossible for them to keep the rats out. Putting it in the basement was a really, really poor design decision.

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