Location: 1207 Ninth St. NW
Readers’ pick: Bluestone Lane
Unconventional Diner offers an experience that will be anything but ordinary.
This new addition to Northwest D.C. has made a strong impression since it opened in January. Swapping out retro decor and vinyl seating for white walls and scattered pop-art, this spot gives a more upscale, eclectic style than your average diner while still retaining a comfortable dining experience.
Just a one block walk from the Mt. Vernon Square/Convention Center Metro stop, the diner’s reasonably priced dishes and generous serving sizes will make you an instant fan. In addition to its regular menu, Unconventional Diner – headed by chef David Deshaies – offers a fresh juice bar and homemade pastries every morning.
Although often packed on the weekends, the service never slows. Long wooden tables are lined with mint green and blush-colored booths, and a lengthy bar holds a variety of red stools. With the space to hold 150 seats, Unconventional Diner is ideal for large groups. Munch on gourmet appetizers modeled off of home-cooked classics, like Pot Pie Poppers ($10) or Kale Nachos ($9) topped off with cumin yogurt, red pepper jelly and red onion.
The dishes on its brunch menu mix sweet and savory. With dairy free, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, there is something for everyone. One breakfast standout is the Ana & Eve’s French Toast ($12), made with thick brioche bread and garnished with smooth apple butter ricotta. For a heartier meal, their Benedict Biscuits with Breakfast Potatoes ($16) are topped with spinach, smoked salmon or ham, a perfectly poached egg and tangy Hollandaise sauce.
Although most diners aren’t known for their cocktail selection, Unconventional Diner offers a wide drink menu and spacious bar area. In addition to craft beer and wine options, the cocktail menu lives up to the diner’s name with twists on classic drinks, like the Salinger Sour ($13), made with blood orange, egg white and saffron bitters.
Whether you’re a D.C. foodie or a newbie to the area looking for a perfect new brunch outing with friends, Unconventional Diner is our pick for Best New Restaurant this year. Don’t be the last one in the District to check it out.