when i moved back to dc last fall after a~3 year hiatus, i was so excited to explore new neighborhoods, bars and restaurants that had popped up while i was gone. but our neighborhood (and dc in general) is so rich with history and places that made dc “dc”, many of which i embarrassingly had never been to. one of those places is florida avenue grill near u street.
70 (!) years ago, lacy c. wilson and his wife created this little haven as a “a home away from home, where people of different races, social standings, and even religions could sit side by side and have a meal.” this place has gone through the assassination of martin luther king, jr. and the subsequent riots across america and the u street corridor, gentrification, 3 different owners, as well as a rapidly changing surrounding neighborhood.
i walk by this place every morning with maribel and especially on weekends, there are troves of people waiting to get in. it’s located essentially on it’s own, not located near any other restaurant or bars. you would almost miss it if you weren’t looking for it. after we ate there a few weeks ago, i wanted to kick myself for not having gone sooner because it was so freakin good. there’s a reason this place has lasted 70+ years.
when you walk inside florida avenue grill, you immediately feel transformed to a different time (the first thing i noticed was the old lemonade/fruit juice machines that i haven’t seen in years). the service was friendly and after having overheard several conversations, the patrons of this place are primarily regulars. we sampled as much of the food as we could — fried catfish, cheesy grits, sugar soaked warm apples, french toast, eggs and a biscuit to top it off.
if you live in dc, do your duty and your research and get have a meal here.