100 Very Best Restaurants: #39 – Unconventional Diner

Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Unconventional Diner

1207 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

When David DeShaies traveled for culinary events with his mentor, the late French chef Michel Richard, the two always wound down the night at a diner. That’s what inspired this restaurant of DeShaies’s own in Shaw. Still, it’s a diner in name—and breakfast-through-dinner hours–only. Many dishes have cheffy upgrades: Chicken pot pie is transformed into creamy poppers, meatloaf is draped in umami-rich morel gravy, and mac and cheese is laced with espelette peppers. Others—such as the double cheeseburger, bagel and lox, and A+ chicken Parmesan—are straightforward but no less tasty. Moderate.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.

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.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.