It’s no secret that the summer of 2013 is D.C.’s Summer of 14th Street. There are new restaurants cropping up on what feels like a weekly basis–chefs and big-name backers alike have chosen the busy stretch for fine dining, adventurous concepts and trendy atmosphere. While we couldn’t be more excited about the corridor’s restaurant renaissance, there are times we long for a traditional, hearty meal; breakfast served all day; a boozy milkshake; the simple perfection of an American treat, a gourmet Pop Tart or homemade Twinkie, for instance. Blessedly, Ted’s Bulletin‘s second location opens its doors (three of them, precisely) on Monday, August 19, just across the street from Black Cat.
Long a staple of the Eastern Market/Capitol Hill dining scene, Ted’s is one of the city’s most reliable restaurants, serving up stick-to-your-ribs classics like country fried steak, meatloaf, their famous grilled cheese/tomato soup combo and, my own personal favorite, the Short Rib Sammy. There are handmade seasonal pastries, alcoholic shakes and old-timey movies projected onto the wall. You can imagine our excitement upon hearing that the second location not only offers the trademark Ted’s experience, but doubles it.
Enter through the front door on 14th Street–be it the door that leads directly to the bar, the one that leads you to the pastry kitchen, or the revolving door at the restaurant’s core–and you find yourself in a larger marble foyer. Past this lobby you’ll find the familiar dining room of Ted’s, but with twice the seating. Roughly 160 spots await via comfy yellow booths, vintage school chairs (etchings still visible), bar seating and even a chef’s table; a vast improvement from the original spot’s 70 seats.
If the aesthetic looks identical, it should. Just as it is in the first Ted’s, all furniture and most decor was salvaged from the Philadelphia Convention Center with a focus on a 1920s/’30s upscale diner theme. The photos that dot the walls will feature the 14th Street neighborhood as opposed to Capitol Hill, of course, and range anywhere from the ’20s to the ’40s.
But what’s the biggest improvement outside of extra seats? Ted’s now has its own bakery, complete with a Pop Tart machine and a plan for not one but two types of doughnuts. A far cry from the crammed oven at the front of the Capitol Hill location, the new Ted’s bakery sports walk-up ordering for those in a rush on the way to work, and a glass view of bakers rolling dough and drizzling frosting onto their seasonal offerings. Think of it as a vastly improved Ted’s in-window baking experience and four-times as large and convenient, which makes their Pop Tarts, muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, homemade Twinkies (Ted’s Cakes) and mini bundt cakes all the more appealing.
Barring this, nearly everything you love about Ted’s remains the same. The menu is identical, even sharing the same weekly specials of Monday night family-style spaghetti and Tuesday night burger baskets and shakes, for those keeping score. Black and white films will still silently stream across a wall and the restaurant remains just as kid-friendly as ever. The new Ted’s will keep the same hours, opening with all-day breakfast from day one, and offer online ordering and reservations through their site.
The new Ted’s is set to open by the end of August, though the team at Matchbox Food Group is keeping their fingers crossed for an opening in the next week to two weeks, and for outdoor seating potential as well. As you could have guessed, we’re crossing our fingers, too.