An Early Look at DC-3

The team behind Matchbox, the sliders-and-pizza restaurants, continues its high-end junk-food theme with a Capitol Hill "hot doggeria."

In addition to 17 regular menu features, DC-3 also offers custom-order items, like this footlong dog with chili, raw onion, and shredded cheddar. Photograph by Chris Leaman.

>> See more photos of DC-3's hot dogs and interior

“Everybody has a hot dog story,” says Perry Smith, part owner of DC-3, a “hot doggeria” that opens today on Capitol Hill from the team behind Matchbox. And if everyone has a dog tale—yours might be a Chicago wiener eaten at Wrigley field—then DC-3’s menu is like a first-edition anthology. For every regional dog—the roster has nods to the East and West coasts and everywhere in between—the buns and fillings come straight from the source: For example, the Bay Bridge is topped with Maryland-crab dip and Old Bay, while the Maine Red Snappy sports a New England-made Kayem Red-Hot.

Patrons can also custom-order their meals from a list of five buns, ten dogs, and four cooking styles. There are toppings both traditional (cheese, chili, bacon) and more eclectic (avocado, chips, fried pickles, called “frips”).

The name of the place was inspired by the DC-3 aircraft that revolutionized airline travel. Menus replicate vintage airline tickets, and tables and benches have legs modeled after air-traffic-control towers. There’s also a propeller from a DC-3 plane hanging on one wall, thanks to another owner, Mark Neal, an aircraft enthusiast. Says Neal: “The theme is intended to evoke a past era when airline travel was an enjoyable luxury and flying was still an adventure.”

Here’s to staying on the ground and still getting a taste of the entire country.

DC-3. 423 Eight Street, Southeast; 202-546-1935; Open daily 11 to 10. 

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.