A French Brasserie to Replace DC’s American City Diner

by Nena Perry-Brown

A French Brasserie to Replace DC's American City Diner: Figure 1
The American City Diner

Last month, the American City Diner in Chevy Chase DC abruptly closed after 30 years. Now, we are getting an idea of what will replace it.

Restaurateur Steve Salis, best known for owning Ted's Bulletin, Federalist Pig and Kramerbooks & Afterwords, is the new owner of the diner at 5532 Connecticut Avenue NW (map). Salis began talks with the landlord in May and had been under the impression that the owners would be operating the diner at least until early next year. 

"We, like many of you, caught wind that they were shutting down kind of on a whim," Salis shared at a ANC meeting last week. "As a result, there was something that was put into the lease whereby, if something like that were to happen, we would have to accelerate our efforts."

The future of the site is being thought of as a French brasserie and café, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner at a reasonable price point. Salis described the concept as "approachable but sophisticated", insisting that the idea is to ensure the new restaurant remains a neighborhood mainstay accessible to all.

Currently doing business as "New ACD, LLC", the new ownership team has applied for a liquor license for the location that cites an occupancy of 165 people and requests the ability to serve beer, wine and spirits.

As currently envisioned, the restaurant would remain a single-story structure, restoring and re-skinning the diner car and appending an addition to the rear, likely taking up space that had been used as parking. "We want to preserve as much as we can preserve," Salis explained, noting the history and uniqueness of the existing structure and the team's hopes to reuse the pylon sign and potentially keep the mural.

The interior will have an open kitchen, and additions could include a solarium. Ideally, the new brasserie could open as early as the third quarter of 2019.

The ANC hopes that more information will be presented at their September 10th meeting and that a vote will be taken at their September 24th meeting in advance of an October 1st deadline to protest the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board application.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a-french-brasserie-to-replace-american-city-diner/14307

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