Duplex Diner closing after more than a quarter-century

Adams Morgan comfort food hangout and bar Duplex Diner, popular with locals and D.C.’s gay community, is closing its doors after more than 25 years in business.(Courtesy Google Street View)

Adams Morgan comfort food hangout and bar Duplex Diner, which is popular among locals and D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community, is closing its doors after more than 25 years in business.

The diner was unable to renew its lease, according to an announcement made by its owners on social media.

The Washington Blade was the first to report on the Facebook post.

“JAM Holdings, owners of Duplex Diner since 2014, were notified by our landlord that he was terminating our sub-lease effective July 31. We have come to an agreement to sell our assets to our general manager who will be creating a new concept in this location, but unfortunately, we must close effective immediately,” the announcement said.

Mark Hunker and Jeff McCracken, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, restaurant veterans, bought the Duplex Diner in 2014.

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Duplex Diner’s American comfort food menu served everything from steak and potatoes to meatloaf, burgers, pigs in a blanket, biscuits and gravy, tater tots and its “Papas Locas,” French fries drenched in queso duo, ketchup and mayonnaise. It packed crowds for all-day dining, late night, post-bar revelers and weekend brunch patrons, for its “bottomless rosé all day.”

D.C. developer Erich Hirshfield, now principal at INTOWN Development, rehabilitated two abandoned storefronts at 18th and U streets and opened Duplex Diner in 1998.

Hunker and McCracken are saying goodbye to Adams Morgan, but hinted at another project in the works.

“JAM Holdings is searching for a location in Rehoboth Beach to open Duplex 2.0 and continue its legacy,” their Facebook post said.

As for what’s next for the Duplex Diner space, general manager of 10 years Kelly Laczko was coy.

“Tots and squeezes never die. We will be opening your next hang in this location. We remember your order, know where you sit, and when you left your credit card. Watch this space. More to come,” she posted on Instagram.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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