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Photos by Armando Gallardo, Words by Brandon Wetherbee

The team behind Shaw’s* newest restaurant has experience at Central Michel Richard and Mintwood Place. That’s some quality pedigree.

We tried some of Unconventional Diner’s food last spring at New Kitchens on the Block. Here’s what we said:

The standout of the 2016 edition was Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s Smoked and Stacked. This year’s best was Unconventional Diner by David Deshaies and RASA by Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman (Related, RASA just opened. Check out our First Look).

Unconventional Diner will open sometime this summer. It’ll be near Smoked and Stacked. The diner will also be part of the Convention Center. Central Michel Richard chef and partner David Deshaies’ upcoming restaurant will be a little more casual than Central. They served vegan meatloaf and lemon meringue pie at NKOTB. The pie could not be improved. Small, beautiful, fresh and citrus-y, the dessert broke through all of the heavy tastes presented throughout Mess Hall.

We expected a delay in the opening. Most every restaurant faces delays. So we’re not surprised the restaurant opened in the middle of December rather than the summer. We also expected the food to be good. The small bites we tried were very good. What we did not expect is the size. Unconventional Diner is massive.

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Unconventional Diner is not a diner. It it a fine dining restaurant with a twist on American classics. It is also a large bar. It will also be a space to grab a pastry and coffee. It is big.

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The former sports bar looks nothing like its old self. It’s clean and bright with high ceilings, Warhol prints, Instagram photography and Keith Haring inspired drawings.

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The breakfast area features Andy Warhol designed wallpaper

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Chef David Deshaies’s experience at Citronelle and Central should intrigue diners enough to visit Unconventional Diner. It’s large enough that you should be able to get a seat on a Saturday night.

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Unconventional Diner, 1207 9th St NW, is currently open from 5 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday. They’re currently accepting reservations. The breakfast area will be open soon.

*Based on Google Maps Unconventional Diner is as far south, just north of M, as it could be while remaining in Shaw.

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