To all of the budding entrepreneurs and restaurateurs scattered around Foggy Bottom, I have a request: Give GW a diner.
I know it seems surprising. I mean, why would anyone call for another restaurant near campus when GW is plagued by so many other pressing issues? Well, a GW diner would actually be a creative – and profitable – way to address some of those issues.
Think of it this way. How many times have you woken up on a weekend morning and wished you had a place to eat that was a) open, b) served a variety of high-quality breakfast foods, c) didn’t cost more than a week’s worth of grocery money and d) made you feel like you were a part of a unique community?
If you think that on-campus dining options fulfill these criteria, clearly you have never spent a Saturday morning on campus. J Street is closed on weekends, and during the week, it serves the typical bagels, breakfast sandwiches and yogurts for convenient morning meals. But for years, students have rightfully complained about the quality of the food and the high prices. Freshmen and sophomores may be required to spend a certain amount of dining dollars at J Street, but they are forced to find other sources of food come 4 p.m. Friday. And while the dining hall on the Vern may be more accommodating on weekends – it is the home of Sunday Brunch – the quality remains questionable, and does not cater to Foggy Bottom residents.
Similarly, other eateries scattered around campus don’t succeed in the aforementioned fields. Gelbucks – or the Starbucks in Gelman – is great for late-night studying or a coffee between classes, but not for legitimate meals. The G-Dub Deli has some of the best bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches around, but it isn’t a sit-down restaurant, and it is closed on Sundays. Founding Farmers may offer brunch, but like other off-campus eateries, one meal there can cost a pretty penny.
Simply put, GW needs a diner. By nature, diners are open early mornings and long into the night, and GW’s diner would be an ideal destination, whether students want pancakes at 3 a.m. on a Friday or 10 a.m. on a Saturday. The diner wouldn’t have to be open 24/7. It should just be accommodating for when students, business professionals and maybe even White House staffers need a place to eat. What other diners in the nation can advertise that they are a popular destination for students, tourists and presidential advisers?
Similarly, diners typically have large menus that consist of classic, popular foods. We don’t need a contestant from “Top Chef D.C.” to open a new eatery – we just want a restaurant that serves a variety of good food at low prices. Students would be more than willing to spend GWorld money at a restaurant that doesn’t cost a great deal of money.
A diner is an innovative way to bring a sense of community to campus. Think about all of the diners in popular culture where people gather on a regular, almost daily basis, to get a cup of coffee and talk with friends. Students don’t have enough eateries that bring them together or make them feel at home. A diner, decorated in buff and blue, could be the place to gather after basketball games, to celebrate an A on a midterm or to simply enjoy a good meal with classmates. If a diner can be a regular hangout for Jerry Seinfeld or Rory Gilmore, it can definitely be a regular meeting place for Colonials.
And before you say D.C. just isn’t a diner city, look at The Diner in Adams Morgan. This is a popular destination for D.C. residents and students who manage to get off campus, but unless students venture to bars or shops in that area, they probably won’t get the opportunity to eat there.
Instead, a diner on or near campus would be the best option. It would be an extremely successful, ideal destination for students looking for a restaurant with good hours, great food, low prices and an even better atmosphere.
-The writer, a junior majoring in journalism, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.
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