At first, it seemed innocent enough: The classic throwback diner in my ’hood was reopening as another outlet for L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. Hawaiian plate lunch, in all its fried meat-white rice-macaroni salad glory, is a guilty-pleasure temptation for me, so I just figured I’d have to find a new route home. But then I realized something—this is a trend.
This isn’t the first time a former 5 & Diner has turned an eye toward Asian cuisine. Far from it. The one on Stephanie near Warm Springs became Ginza Sushi, and the one on Sahara near Rainbow became Bollywood Grill. Both of those restaurants are closed now, but on Eastern Avenue just off the Beltway, Lemongrass Café continues to serve solid Vietnamese fare from one of these old railcar-designed buildings with the shiny, stainless steel exterior.
What is it about ’50s-themed diners that could possibly attract Asian food? Will this new L&L serve meatloaf and milkshakes alongside loco moco and kalua pig? I’m almost afraid to find out. Almost.