D.C.'s Culinary Past: Your Stories
Thank you for your fabulous responses to our request for your stories about D.C.'s nightlife in the 1950s and 60s! Below are just a few of the many memories you chose to share. We're also looking into some of your great suggestions for future shows in this series. Please keep your ideas coming...
Credit: Images courtesy George, a listener.
My mom was stationed in DC during WWII and apparently ate here (Fat Boy) once or twice.
Shortly before I shipped out to Vietnam in 1966, my father flew into DC
and took me to a restaurant I believe was named the Bavarian Inn. I was
just 18, we had had a rough period during my teen years, and this was
the first time we had sort of been adults together. The drinking age
was 18, we sat at a long table with other patrons all of whom were
interesting, friendly, and the atmosphere was just wonderful. Although I
was a soldier, and headed to war, it was this evening I was to remember
for many years as the beginning of my adult years. Do I have the name
of that restaurant correct, and do your guests know where it was?
Casey's Club in the basement of 1752 Swann St NW was an afterhours club for black entertainers in the 30's, 40's, 50s. Out of town folks could stay upstairs. Integration killed it. I lived in the basement apt. in the early 80s and was intrigued by the vintage wallpaper featuring dancing elephants with champagne glasses. My bed was over the bar area.
Aux Pied du Conchon
I miss Aux Pied du Conchon, home of the Yurchenko shooter,(Conac and Stoli) where he famously defected to the Russian compound up the street, and the only place in DC to get an escargot at 4 AM!
I, too, miss Au Pied de Cochon. Fabulous place. I also remember a wonderful Italian restaurant that was on upper Wisconsin Avenue, not far from the Safeway around Chesapeake. I think it was called Vace (I could be wrong). They made the most fabulous dish with thin sheets of past rolled around filling of pumpkin, ricotta, sage and a pinch of nutmeg and topped with a cream sauce. I've never seen anything like it elsewhere.
My mother lived here in the mid-1960s before she was married. She was working as a library researcher at the National Geographic and living "way out of town" in Rosslyn in the apartment building since renamed Riverplace, paying $200 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment with 2 other women and a view of the Washington Monument. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona now, but I have lived in the DC area for the last 9 years and never thought to ask her where she liked to go out to eat. She couldn't really recall the names of specific restaurants, but she did say, "....I was a poor, single working girl I didn't do anything fancy. Often, we ate at the Marriott Hot Shoppes." I had never heard of the the Hot Shoppes before and after a quick Google search, I learned that the the Marriott company got it's start with these shops right here in DC. Thanks for posting the question, I'm glad to know a little bit more about my Mom.
Like many G-girls, I came to work in DC straight from a rural HS in PA in the early 60's. The gvt. agency who recruited set us up in the infamous Salvation Army Home for Girls on 14th & L, right around the corner from great dance clubs and eateries. Since the food was terrible at the Home, we went off to the Hot Shoppes or an occasional splurge at the California Kitchen which was a hangout for entertainers who were in town and a lot of local characters including a guy with a parrot on his shoulder who held court in one corner and which served french fries with gravy. Then we'd go dancing to great bands at Rand's which along with Benny's and the Hayloft were centers for DC black version). This was near the Casino Royale which was a bit upscale for G-girls' budgets, but one of the legendary Hayloft tales involved a Marine who went in there and saw the girl he left behind swinging on one of the swings - is this where the term "swingers" may have begun?!
Fred and Harry's
I worked as the first woman chef at Fred and Harry’s in 4 corners Silver Spring . It was a terrific place for great seafood, times change, but for a while it was a great neighborhood family restaurant.
Heartland was at 637 Penn Ave SE, next door to Remingtons.
The bar was your listener mentioned was a long art deco beauty half in Remington´s, half in Gallaghers (later Heartland). It was Gallagher´s on the Hill/ Gallagher´s Penn Sation before that. Danny Gatton played at Gallagher´s every Thursday for a few years. Gallaghers was owned till 1986 by the same Gallaghers who ran the one on Conn. Ave. where Mary Chapin Carpenter hosted open mike for years.
Black Tahiti was on K St. near 20th, downstairs...I played in Latin dance bands there in the 70s. Blackies was a chain... house of beef, black rose, black beret, etc. Also JUNKANOO tiki place on Conn. Ave north of Dupont.
Peter Pan, as a child we always loved going there. They made you
The Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue was known as the "Hotel of
the Presidents." Presidents in the 30s and onward would walk from
the White House to the now Café Promenade for lunch and to meet with
their cronies. An hour on this magnificent hotel would be the best!
I worked there in the 80's and learned so much from those who worked
there during its earlier heydays such as Bob the Bellman and Franks
and Beverly Glaine. It is still my very favorite Hotel in the US.
How about Duke Zieberts? Larry King would go there after
his late radio show for roast beef hash. Jockey Club and Paul Youngs
were good but gone.
Ad from Zeibert's, c. 1950s. From the collection of filmmaker Jeff Krulik.
The Golden Bull in Adelphi and Fred & Harry's in Four Corners; Anna Maria's Italian Restaurant, Connecticut Avenue and Mrs. Kay's Toll House in Silver Spring
- @InvasiveNotes via Twitter
In the early 70's, I ate lunch at Jimmy's on the Hill as often as I could. The best pasta fazool ever!
- @Maedl1 via Twitter