C.F. Folks

This no-frills lunch counter is an institution.

The Food: Deli sandwiches–such as a crab cake on a kaiser roll and a pastrami Reuben–plus chicken, tuna, and Caesar salads are always on the menu, but a separate roster of specials changes daily. Expect Louisiana influences on Monday; Tex-Mex on Tuesday; Italian or Indian on Wednesday; American on Thursday; and Middle Eastern on Friday. Next to the register, you’ll find chips and shrink-wrapped brownies.

The Scene: The large green awning outside is the fanciest accent to this tiny lunch counter, just south of Dupont Circle. Not much has changed since Art Carlson and Peggy Fredricksen (the C and F in the name) bought the former coffee shop in the mid ‘70s–and that’s part of the charm. Off-duty chefs, lawyers, politicos, and other downtown workers jockey for one of the few seats—a formica counter with green stools seats 10 and four tables seat eight more (when the weather’s nice, there are more tables on the sidewalk). Behind the counter, a bowed orange shelf holds cookbooks — inspiration for the daily specials, and political pencil sketches by Jose Perez (once local) line the walls.  

What’s Nearby:  Plenty of Golden Triangle offices keep CF Folks busy. For the non-working crowd, Dupont Circle is two blocks north and the bookstores and boutiques that come with the neighborhood are all around. Across the street is Carlson and Fredricksen’s other venture, The Well Dressed Burrito.

Insider Tips:
As no-fuss as CF Folks is, they do update the lunch specials on their web site each day. Since seating is at a premium, many customers get their lunches carryout.
Order at the cash register, then find a seat.