But if you’re feeling flush, try some of the oversized dining options. Our favorite is the knotty apple fritter, which features pull-apart dough dotted with chunks of actual fruit, and a glazed exterior. Others were spellbound by the chocolate-covered “dinosaur” doughnut. “Why are they so big?” a colleague marveled while attempting to hack off a slice of the sugar-glazed and chocolate-frosted carb bomb. The specialty items cost a little more ($2.49 to $4.59). But it might be worth it to be regarded as the office hero by hungry colleagues.
40 Massachusetts Ave. NE; open for breakfast daily.
Staff: Jimmy T’s
A vintage lunch counter, Jimmy T’s doesn’t do trends. It just serves the community.
Which means the folks who pour in each morning likely already have their favorite seat in mind, as well as a standing order. These people are brimming with institutional knowledge — not just about Congress or even Capitol Hill, but about life in general.
So pull up a chair and pick a neighbor’s brain while poring over cooked-to-order eggs, grilled half smokes, home fries and toast. Or savor a simple but sumptuous slab of grits, layered with shredded cheddar and coarsely chopped fried bacon. Show the world your sourest puss while spooning your way through a half grapefruit.
Just remember the house rules: “Do not sit at a dirty table. And if the cook looks busy, do not ask her for something.”
501 East Capitol St.; open for breakfast Tuesday through Sunday.
Member: Art and Soul
The crowd isn’t all business — tourists break bread alongside the lawmakers and lobbyists who take their meetings here. But there’s definitely an aura of power. And you pay for it.
Meals are reasonably priced, but the price to whet your whistle is steep — $4 for plain coffee?
The kitchen, however, does not disappoint.
Those minding their waistlines can follow the example of founding chef and owner Art Smith, who has carved out a trio of “healthy options” modeled after his own pound-shedding dining regimen. His toasted granola hits the absolute spot, binding together toasted pecans, almonds, steel-cut oats, shaved coconut and fruit with tangy Greek yogurt.
Carnivores should be sated by a fork-tender beef escorted by a rainbow of onions (grilled yellows, minced greens, pickled reds), golden brown potatoes and lacy fried eggs with silky, unset yolks, all drizzled with lemony bearnaise.
415 New Jersey Ave. NW; open for breakfast Monday through Friday.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.