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Linda's Cafe, Diner-Style Food on Lee Highway in North Arlington - Closing, and Being Replaced by Bob and Edith's


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Linda's Cafe is out on Rt. 29, not far past the Glebe intersection and the Heidelberg Bakery, on the corner of Edison St. and Lee Hwy.

This is what I saw outside that made me pull over:

1. A neon sign that said "The Best Burgers."

2. An exterior done in red paint that was so thick it looked sticky to the touch.

3. Limited parking in the sort of minimall that could earnestly include a stamp and coin collecting shop.

Once inside, this is why I stayed:

1. The elderly black host/waiter/sometime cook who was wearing a huxtable sweater and baseball cap.

2. The latina waitress who sang softly to herself as she bussed tables.

3. The silver-haired Greek cook with the hair on his hands singed short from constant proximity to the grill.

4. The menagerie of customers you get at 10:30 on a Friday morning, which is too late for a respectable breakfast and too early for a respectable lunch. Bedraggled hipsters, mechanics, some elderly men reading the paper, a knight, the Pardoner, the wife of Bath, etc. Characters. People with stories worth eavesdropping on.

Afterwards, this is why I'll be back:

1. The burger (the Linda Burger) with grilled onions and mushrooms could likely compete in the "best" category with Five Guys, In-n-Out, etc. Not Palena or other boutique burgers, of course, but this isn't the sort of place that uses brioche for a bun. I take burgers VERY seriously. Even the waitress stopped what she was doing to watch it cook, then turned to me and said, "doesn't that look delicious?" It really did and I said so.

2. A fairly comprehensive diner breakfast, reasonably priced, that looks like it's worth a shot.

3. Regulars actually send this place postcards from vacation. There are wedding photos on the wall by the cashier, plus graduation portraits, and a glamor shot of the waitress (could she be the eponymous Linda?)

4. The sort of food that McDonalds and Subway neutered and rendered safe, the American greasy spoon menu, still exists here. My wife will shy away from this place, say it's too greasy, and then we'll go get roti slathered with ghee in an Indian restaurant. No, honey, no more excuses. I like grease. I like my burger with a side of cheese grits. I want four, maybe five, different fried potato products and I'm going to put hot sauce on all of them and the healthy way we live our lives means that this is a more enjoyable eating adventure than Mexican/Asian fusion (screw you, Zengo, you're too hip for me) will ever be.

5. The Clarendon corridor has reached a saturation point. Some day, all of that will come marching down Lee Highway (four dollar gas might get metro stops in lots of unlikely places, you know) and then where will the dives and diners go in the face of property values that can't be stopped? Eat here, enjoy it, because there's a sense of permanence in a place like this that is actually very fragile.

Detractions, of course, exist:

1. No desserts. The waitress said it was because she has a sweet tooth and wants to watch her figure. On the one hand, that's sensible. On the other hand, where's my damn apple pie?

2. If there were more than a half dozen people in Linda's at 10:30AM on a workday, I can't imagine the tiny parking lot working out very well during sensible dining hours.

There, that's twelve good reasons minus two bad for a grand total of ten give this place a try points.

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Hexerei, thank you for taking the time to do this. I'm an Arlington resident, and I've driven past Linda's countless times over the years, and I've often wondered about it but never stopped in. Recently, I thought that it might have closed its doors. Now I'll have to pay them a visit. It sounds to me like a good old-fashioned diner and they do have a little bit of parking (plus plenty of side-street parking).

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Hexerei, thank you for taking the time to do this. I'm an Arlington resident, and I've driven past Linda's countless times over the years, and I've often wondered about it but never stopped in. Recently, I thought that it might have closed its doors. Now I'll have to pay them a visit. It sounds to me like a good old-fashioned diner and they do have a little bit of parking (plus plenty of side-street parking).

Get the country-fried steak sandwich. It is greasy, messy, and ideal diner food.

I agree with everything hexerei says, this place is the opposite of fancy, but was definitely one of my favorite takeout places when I lived in the area.

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Get the country-fried steak sandwich. It is greasy, messy, and ideal diner food.
And to think that as I read this I was eating some really dreadful Union Station sushi, what I would have given for one of those sandwiches, even if the meat was carbon dated and from a horse it would have been better.
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Are you still alive??

Alive? Yes. Well, no. But then again few people ever thing that I am well.

By the way, have any of you heard that a new owner will be taking over the entire Union Station food court/circus/waste dump/superfund site? It's been reported in the Hill Rag and Voice of the Hill, but I can't find a link to either.

I had not heard that, but any improvement would be greatly welcomed.

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I LOVED Linda's when we lived in Arlington. Everybody else can keep the Metro 29 and their 45 min. weekend wait. Trails only Bob and Edith's for me, but were Linda's open at 2 am, that might have changed.

Seconded on the burger. Rolls are a little starchy, give the nod to 5G. But at Linda's you get a chair to sit in.

There's more parking around the back of the joint.

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I LOVED Linda's when we lived in Arlington. Everybody else can keep the Metro 29 and their 45 min. weekend wait. Trails only Bob and Edith's for me, but were Linda's open at 2 am, that might have changed.

Seconded on the burger. Rolls are a little starchy, give the nod to 5G. But at Linda's you get a chair to sit in.

There's more parking around the back of the joint.

Thanks to hexerei, I rushed right out and over to Linda's. Got a Lindaburger and a side of onion rings. Everything freshly prepared. O-rings a bit watery, perhaps owing to being made with fresh-sliced onions, but the coating was nice and crunchy. The burger lived up to expectations -- the paper sign in the window says "Excellent Burgers."

I like these older parts of Arlington, where the streets are lined with these so-called taxpayer strips.

Linda's also has an outpost in Sterling, according to the menu, for us Loudounians.

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I would have tried the burger today but since we were planning on having burgers for dinner I went with the "Chicken Fried" Steak with mashed potatoes and my wife ordered the Gyro. While the beef was very tasty, it was deep fried and not chicken fried, but I can live with that. What I couldn't live with were the mashed potatoes fresh from the box. The meat is served with a gloppy yet tasty sausage cream gravy a little less flour and it might have been better. My wife's gyro was hit a brighter note. It was one of the better that I have had in the area (but is that really saying much?).

I love greasy spoons, so I I will be back, but next time I will skip the mashed potatoes and go with the fries, and it is more likely that I will just order the good looking breakfast dishes that I saw being served.

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1. The burger (the Linda Burger) with grilled onions and mushrooms could likely compete in the "best" category with Five Guys, In-n-Out, etc. Not Palena or other boutique burgers, of course, but this isn't the sort of place that uses brioche for a bun. I take burgers VERY seriously. Even the waitress stopped what she was doing to watch it cook, then turned to me and said, "doesn't that look delicious?" It really did and I said so.

I've been inspired to try a Linda's Burger ($4.59) ever since reading this great review.

"We think we serve the best hamburgers in America," it says on the menu. I'm not willing to go that far, but within the sloppy-diner category, this hamburger exceeds expectations. A fresh, hand-formed patty cooked a bit beyond the waitress's suggested medium, with grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms, provolone, lettuce, tomato, and an unnecessary touch of mayonnaise for which I have only myself to blame.

A side of fries ($1.59) was made from fresh-cut potatoes, and was nicely browned, but was also unceremoniously dumped directly from the fry-basket onto the plate, and was oily to an excess. Still, these could have been good fries had the oil been hotter and had they been tonged and patted.

I'll bet you didn't know Linda's Cafe is a chain - there's also one in Sterling.

A very good burger within its drippy category. Service was super friendly. The most expensive thing on the entire menu is $8.99.

And! Single-serving-sized boxes of Apple Jacks!

Cheers,

Rocks.

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within the sloppy-diner category, this hamburger exceeds expectations.

I'll bet you didn't know Linda's Cafe is a chain - there's also one in Sterling.

Cheers,

Rocks.

From my EARLIER post: "The burger lived up to expectations -- the paper sign in the window says "Excellent Burgers."

...

Linda's also has an outpost in Sterling, according to the menu, for us Loudounians."

Rocks, should I be flattered, or insulted? :lol:

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1. The elderly black host/waiter/sometime cook who was wearing a huxtable sweater and baseball cap.

This fellow told me last evening that the Sterling outpost of Linda's has closed. The phone number for Linda's in Sterling in the Dining Guide has been disconnected.

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This fellow told me last evening that the Sterling outpost of Linda's has closed. The phone number for Linda's in Sterling in the Dining Guide has been disconnected.

You're correct, it is disconnected, and I've seen nothing on the internet to break the story, so you scooped it! (I'm not saying it's a big scoop, but thanks for noticing!)

Cheers,

Rocks

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I had wanted to try Linda's Cafe for a while, and so today we went. I have this little counter diner in my hometown, and this was the Arlington version in a good way.  I got Linda's omelette, it was a decent omelette, homefries were really crispy which I love, and toast.  It wasn't a revelation, but it was good, just what I wanted.  Hubby had a turkey club and deemed it almost as good as his absolute favorite turkey club, which is pretty big for him.  I agree it did look great.  The fries with his sandwich were great.  I saw the burger at another table and I am going back to try that.  I can't wait to take my Mom to the Arlington version of Englander's.  

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5 hours ago, dcs said:

Linda’s Cafe on Lee Highway Set to Close, Could Soon Be Replaced by Bob and Edith’s, by Alex Koma,  June 4, 2018, on ARLnow.com.  Cold.  Stone cold.  Another reminder of the importance to a small business of owning the building in which you operate.

Two scoops, please.

That second paragraph is poorly written. *Who* purchased the small space? The attorneys? The attorneys for Bob & Edith's? Bob & Edith's itself?

If Bob & Edith's purchased this furtively, and then gave Linda's 30-days notice, then yes: Cold. Stone cold. 

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1 hour ago, Ericandblueboy said:

It’s strange for a viable business to have a month to month lease.  

I forget the legal terms, but there could be a termination with a sale.  Typically a tenant protects against that, but not always.

I may have eaten there once.  When in the area or as a destination for a similar meal I always ended up at Metro 29.  Did I miss out?  If not great the Metro 29 breakfasts were always filling.

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3 minutes ago, DaveO said:

The last official day of business will be on Sunday, July 29th. 

I was in the parking lot of Linda's about ninety-minutes ago. They have a huge, colorful banner draped that says (if I recall), "Thanks, Arlington!"

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