Friday, March 25, 2011

In the 'Burbs

Technically, Chevy Chase isn't in the suburbs; it's actually just on the DC side of the line bordering Chevy Chase, Maryland. It's a cute little town with a few shops, an old movie house, a barber shop, a handful of swanky restaurants, and a video rental store that looks like it's still doing okay for itself. People speak to each other on the street. They do that in my neighborhood too, but, here, they actually know each other. Someone stopped me to say hello because they didn't recognize me, but they did recognize the dog I was walking. There seems to be a church for every creed. There's a green grocer. All the kids play lacrosse. It's that kind of town.

And then there's this place--American City Diner, which plays off the nostalgia for small town living, even when the small town is nestled within a big city. You do have to wonder how nostalgic and old-fashioned a place can be when they tell you to follow them on Facebook, but that's another story. They have typical greasy spoon, all-American diner food--burgers, shakes, meatloaf and mash, that kind of thing. The food's not really that great, but what can you expect from a $9.95 dinner special? But it is one of the few places in DC that's opened 24 hours, but only on the weekend. And they have a movie screening each night. April's films include every thing from The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca to When Harry Met Sally, giving you the perfect opportunity to use that "I'll have what she's having" line.

There's another room that's more kid-friendly. It's set up like a cable car diner, and a miniature train circles the upper wall with chugs and whistles. It sounds whimsical, but it gets noisy, what between the train and the kids and the obligatory grumpy diner staff yelling across the room. It also seems a little depressing...It's not the kind of place Chevy Chase locals go for a family meal out. Instead, it has more of a divorced dads trying to have fun with their kids on their one weekend a month kind of feel.

So, if you visit, go for a movie night. Have a fairly decent burger and shake, and finish off with a coffee and "pea-can" pie, because you know you'll be craving it by the middle of the movie.


  1. I am very glad to see this picture! I went there last April just before going to the airport and flying back home (4hrs later). It is basically the last thing I saw from DC.

  2. I'm glad you like the pic! But what did you think of the food? I thought this place was tucked away so that only the locals knew about it.

  3. I was with a friend who used to lived in Bethesda so she knew about it ;-). All alone I don't think I would have found it alas.

    I liked especially the milk shakes mint& chocolate (don't remember the correct name though) and only tried pancakes. So I didn't eat any real meal.