Visit Unconventional Diner for Comfort Food with an Elegant Twist

Restaurateur Eric Eden is the co-owner of Unconventional Diner in Shaw. Photo by Alexander M. Padro, Courtesy Shaw Main Streets.

Located on the west side of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Unconventional Diner (1207 9th St. NW) serves gourmet renditions of comfort classics all day long. Owner Eric Eden has been in the District since 2001 and when he opened the diner five years ago, he knew it was the “perfect place” to bring his business partner chef David Deshaies’ modern comfort food.

Classic diner favorites are served here, each with a unique twist. The meatloaf, for example, is coated in a sriracha glaze and served with a morel mushroom gravy. The shrimp and grits includes plantains and pineapple.

“We set out to kind of identify some of the staples on traditional diner menus, and then sought to bring in some international influences and interesting tweaks on old school diner recipes,” Eden said.

With a multitude of vegan and vegetarian options, as well as a family friendly and date-night worthy ambiance, the fusion of refined and casual is apparent in every component of the diner. The décor includes original murals, framed artwork and Andy Warhol wallpaper. Unconventional Diner also boasts one of the largest outdoor dining ‘streateries’ in the city, open year-round.

The diner is well loved by the community and has won several RAMMY Awards, including Chef of the Year, Upscale Brunch of the Year and Pastry Chef of the Year. The brunch menu is offered every day. Eden said one of the highlights has been establishing relationships with their neighbors.

“It’s been terrific,” Eden said of the community response. “We’ve developed so many relationships with locals and the local support has really defined our business.”

Unconventional Diner is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Brunch is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner is available from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The menu is also available for carryout. Visit for details.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at