One of my Washington rituals over the last decade has been to eat lunch at Ebbitt Express, if time permits, every time I arrive in the city. Located adjacent to Old Ebbitt Grill and a block from the White House, the small takeaway eatery offers genuinely good American food—or at least did.
Yesterday I was in Washington to pick up a visa at the Azerbaijan Embassy and had a few hours to spare before my flight out of National Airport. Naturally, I stopped at Ebbitt Grill for a meal. I was shocked to see this—
Must all good things come to an end? I talked to some of the ladies in there (it was quiet at 10:30am) and they were informed only last Friday that the restaurant would be shutting its doors a week later due to “intense competition” in the city. “They wasn’t makin’ no money and now they gone and let us go” said one extremely kind-hearted lady who has made salads for me for years.
I thanked each staff member on my way out. They didn’t recognize me—they must see hundreds of faces each day and I haven’t lived in Washington for five years—but I recognized each of them and it just felt so sad to see another one of my favorite Washington eateries close down (I remain devastated that my favorite fine dining restaurant, The Willard Room, is no longer open for business).
My last meal at Ebbit Express consisted of something new and something old. I tried a breakfast burrito stuffed with eggs, cheese, bacon, and pico de gallo for a change—usually I am in during lunch hour—but added a side salad to it, something I order every single time. It is not that their lettuce is better than the competition—it is their homemade basil vinaigrette dressing that is to die for.
I’ll still be able to get the dressing and enjoy many fine meals at Old Ebbitt Grill and the other Clyde Family restaurants, but I’ll sure miss Ebbitt Express.