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Posted at 3:07 PM ET, 11/25/2008

Post-Inauguration Lunch? Make Plans Soon

By Julia Beizer

Planning on getting lunch after the inauguration ceremony and parade? Don't count on it being easy.


You won't be watching the Inauguration from Charlie Palmer's rooftop. The restaurant is already booked for a private event. (Jay Premack for The Washington Post)

"It's just the busiest week ever," said Nick Selimos, the maitre d' at The Monocle since 1974. "They have started calling already. I anticipate we'll be booked for both shifts."

The Monocle is one of few in the vicinity of the festivities that is actually taking reservations for Jan. 20. At this point, D'Acqua, Elephant and Castle, Charlie Palmer Steak and Old Ebbitt Grill are already booked through lunch. Cafe du Parc and 701 are booked throughout the day. TenPenh, Art and Soul and Central are among those considering and/or nailing down details for potential private parties and buyouts. We'll keep you posted here if any of those restaurants decide to open to the public.

As of now, Johnny's Half Shell will be closed for a private party lunch on the 20th, but managers plan to open it for reservations in the evening. "For us, the biggest question right now is how much difficulty will people have getting to the area" because of security measures, said co-owner John Fulchino. As noted in this story, inauguration watchers trying to get anywhere on the big day should plan on walking and leaving themselves plenty of time. Nearby Taqueria Nacionale -- the well-reviewed carryout joint also owned by Fulchino and Ann Cashion -- will be open for both breakfast and lunch.

A few blocks away from Pennsylvania Avenue, Rasika, Bombay Club and Zola are currently taking reservations during the day, and Cafe Atlantico, Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya will take a limited number of reservations through OpenTable. Harry's Restaurant and Saloon -- a divey joint on E Street that's reviled by some Gurus, adored by me -- will be open that day, but the small restaurant's tables will be first-come, first-serve. Ceiba is taking reservations, and, beginning at 9 a.m., it will offer a $10 to-go package consisting of a churro and hot chocolate for parade-watchers. Expect many marketing-savvy restaurants, street vendors and others to follow.

If I were trying to make reservations for any of the available places nearby, I'd call to nail down a table -- and I'd do it now. Some of the restaurants I called appeared to have availability through OpenTable, but turned out to be booked for private parties. Many restaurants -- Charlie Palmer, Art and Soul, etc. -- won't even take OpenTable reservations this far in advance. After the lunchtime buyout came through, Johnny's management had to call back one early reserver to cancel. Some restaurateurs are able to honor reservations made this far in advance (even if a private party comes through), but just to be on the safe side, I'd want to make sure I had a contact at the restaurant I chose, in case my table was going to get the boot. (I'd also probably plan to escape the crowds in a less-busy corner of the city or bring my own snacks for noshing).

For more inauguration news, check out Inauguration Watch.

-- Julia

By Julia Beizer  | November 25, 2008; 3:07 PM ET
 
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Comments

I think folks should just walk over to the United House of Prayer Paradise Cafe on M Street, NW between 6 & 7 Streets, NW. Great food, excellent price and I am sure there will be a good feeling inside the church basement venue.

Posted by: SilverSpringLady1 | November 29, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

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