Last year we decided to celebrate our anniversary at Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington D. C. We were delighted by its ambience, delicious food, and a great service. History comes alive here thanks to memorabilia, paintings, and a collection of decoys from the Eastern Shore hunt club. Victorian antique furniture and chandeliers add a special flare and remind you of a bygone era. There was hunting gear and animal heads on the dark wooden walls of the restaurant.
Figurines of ducks and Canadian geese were displayed in showcases behind glass. In fact, one of the ducks on display was so close that I could see her greenish feathers and black sparkly eyes staring at my plate. She looked like she was alive and ready to snatch a delicious trout from my plate in the blink of an eye. A large, real size goose was hovering under the 10 feet high ceiling, which was accentuated by wooden crossbeams. They said that the animal heads on the walls were from animals shot by Teddy Roosevelt. The restaurant also has wooden bears from Alexander Hamilton’s private bar.
Fine art decorates the walls. “Three Bathers” by Howard Chandler Christy was especially impressive. There were also paintings of patriotic scenes near the White House, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress by Kamil Kubic. There were waterfowl hunting scenes depicted by Claiborne D Gregory, a Virginia artist. Downstairs there is a great collection of paintings depicting game birds by the Australian artist Robin Hill, who settled in Georgetown. There is so much to please your eyes while waiting for your meal.
Old Ebbitt is located just across the road from the Treasury Department and the White House. No wonder it is a popular place for congressmen, senators, and other political figures. However we did not see anybody we could recognize.
The restaurant is famous for its fresh oysters. We ordered them and they were extremely delicious as well as trout from Idaho, crusted in Parmesan cheese, and garnished with young potatoes.
Old Ebbitt was established in 1856 by an innkeeper William Ebbitt as a boarding house. Nobody knows its initial exact location today, but it was somewhere close to Chinatown. Many famous patrons visited this place. President McKinley lived there when he served as a congressman. Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Andrew Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt and Harding used to hang out there and drank at Ebbitt’s stand-around bar.
Later Old Ebbitt boarding house became the oldest saloon in Washington D. C. It changed locations a few times and finally was sold at an auction for $ 11,200 to two businessmen, Stuart Davidson and John Layman, in 1970. They already owned Clyde’s Restaurant in Georgetown and initially wanted to buy antique beer steins from Old Ebbitt. However, their business grew and proved to be a great success.
Now Old Ebbitt Grill is a very popular place where a historical atmosphere, fine art, delicious cuisine and classy ambience create an unforgettable experience.
Old Ebbitt Grill is located on 675 15th Street, N.W. It’s recommended to make a reservation in advance through the Open Table website.