Dirt Cheap Eats 2009: Spy Diner

By: Ann Limpert, Todd Kliman, Kate Nerenberg, Rina Rapuano

Spy Diner (Seventh and F sts., NW). Zola, the upscale American restaurant in Penn Quarter, and its more casual neighbor, Spy City Café, have a new little brother—Spy Diner. The chrome cart across the street turns out sliders for $4 to $6 a pair. The lamb meatballs, topped with a romaine-and-red-pepper slaw and goat-cheese aïoli, are the stars, and the sweet and smoky barbecue-pork sliders served with slaw on a salt-and-pepper bun shouldn’t be missed.

There’s also a decent all-American burger and a roast-beef melt with Emmenthaler-cheese sauce and caramelized onions. All $4 pairs can be mixed and matched—you’re not confined to two of a kind. Breakfast sandwiches, house-made coffeecake, bagels, and coffee are available before 11.

Open Monday through Friday 8:30 to 5:30; Saturday and Sunday 11 to 6.

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