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The Campaign to Save One of DC’s Last Diners

by Nena Perry-Brown

The Campaign to Save One of DC's Last Diners: Figure 1
American City Diner

A DC couple is raising funds to save one of the city’s last diners.

The American City Diner has been a staple along an upper stretch of Connecticut Avenue (map) since 1988, and its owner, former city boxing commissioner Jeffrey Gildenhorn, passed away this summer.

Business at the diner has declined in recent years and the landlord is now seeking a new leaseholder for the site following Gildenhorn’s passing. Omar and Monica Haleem, who live across the street, have launched a crowdfunding campaign in hopes of preserving the diner’s place in the neighborhood.

“From brief discussions with the landlord, they’d like to keep it the American City Diner,” Omar Haleem explained to UrbanTurf. “So, the only intention here is to keep it alive in the neighborhood and see how we can improve it and avoid having the doors close.” Haleem has experience in the restaurant industry, having managed a high-volume pizza restaurant for a decade.

If raised, the $100,000 would enable the couple to assume the lease and put money, time and effort toward revamping the diner and restoring it as a viable business.

While there aren’t any incentives yet for people that contribute to the campaign, the Haleems describe the fundraising campaign as a “rough draft” and a “reaction” to the circumstances. Outside of the campaign, they have also drummed up support from several people in the restaurant industry and others willing to put funds toward the effort.

“If, at the very least, I’m just someone raising funds to get the diner the money to help it stay alive for the employees who have been there for 15 years or more, then I’m happy to do that,” Omar says.

This isn’t the first unique endeavor to preserve a bit of DC diner history in recent years — five years ago, EDENS relocated a defunct diner to the burgeoning Union Market neighborhood.

See other articles related to: crowdfunding, chevy chase dc, american city diner

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_campaign_to_save_american_city_diner/13082

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