DC has some great restaurants that I cannot say enough about. But what it does not have are your classics in any real sense -diners, pizza joints, bakeries (where they serve kolach and nut roll), or a market. To make my point lets talk markets for a moment. When I say market, I mean market where you can get pig’s feet, haluski (thats cabbage and noodles, an Eastern European delicacy ;)), rabbit, brain, pierogi, nuts, handmade sausage, olives, cannoli and most important – you can get a bargain. Bargaining occurs when you offer the seller of say, fresh tomatoes, a price, he declines and you end up in a screaming match and the best tasting tomatoes you ever imagined at a price that will never be beat. This makes me realize – I need to do a series on markets…. But I digress.
Back to what DC dining lacks. DC does not have a real market because its just too fancy, lacking character, and not gritty. Real markets are in Cleveland, Philly and NYC. Diners, pizza joints and real bakeries spring forth from the artisans and their families that are selling at the market.
But… DC has been fortunate enough to have the food entrepreneurs who created Ted’s Bulletin, MatchBox Pizza, and DC-3 to deliver something that kind of meets the definition of a diner but with a DC twist with Ted’s. It meets the diner definition because it serves biscuits and sausage gravy, pancakes, corned beef hash, grits, and egg creations. It is the DC twist because it also serves homemade pop tarts.
It has a cool atmosphere built with pieces they got from an old movie theater and those displays to list their menu. There is a fun buzz as patrons and staff rush about. Heavy plates, heavy wood chairs and lots of heavy metal accents make if feel comfortable and homey. They play old time movies and TV shows on the multiple TV’s – adding to the atmosphere.
The staff is attentive, cheery, speedy and willing to take any special requests to the kitchen and about 80% of the time, the special request is fulfilled.
Now for the food – its tasty for the most part. The grits are done with cheese, but not enough, so ask for extra cheese. The pancakes are fluffy, sweet with great consistency that holds up under a boat load of syrup. The hash browns are golden brown and greasy. The pork sausage – a flavor burst and it too is greasy. So, the diner basics are met.
For the DC twist – the pop tarts. WOOHOO! What a twist this is. You want find a pop tart in a real New Jersey diner. (that is where diner is defined). But after having one at Ted’s you will hope for a homemade pop tart on every menu. The outside is a flaky, sweet crust and the insides are creamy and bursting with whatever flavor you can think of.
For another twist, try a milkshake for breakfast – the chocolate, banana, peanut butter shake is heaven on earth. It is thick, creamy, with perfect proportions of the main ingredients. I must admit…. I have done it for breakfast but, its best… as an adult shake when you visit Ted’s for happy hour.