Tabard Inn, DC’s oldest operating restaurant, is being honored to mark its 100th anniversary this year.
Tabard Inn is DC’s oldest operating restaurant, and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington recently presented its owners with an honorary Milestone Rammy Award, marking Tabard’s 100th anniversary this year.
With a name taken from Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, the original Tabard Inn opened in 1922. Adjacent townhouses were incorporated in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
During World War II, it served as a boarding house for naval women accepted for voluntary emergency service.
Current owner Fritzi Cohen bought the Tabard Inn at an auction in 1975 with her husband Edward Cohen, who died in 1999.
The Cohens were among the pioneers in using ingredients sourced from local farmers in a microwave-free kitchen. And over the years, the kitchen has served as a springboard for many local chefs.
“It’s always been a training ground for chefs who come to hone their skills and delight us all with their own repertoire and use that as a springboard to do what they’re going to do next,” Daniel Bushey said. , Director of Catering and Community Liaison for Tabard Inn.
The facade of Tabard Inn, at 1739 N Street, NW at Dupont Circle, is unassuming to passers-by, but for those venturing there for the first time, it’s a heck of a surprise.
“It’s always a treat to see the look on the faces of people who haven’t been to Tabard before walking through the front doors for the first time because it really is a treasure trove of sorts of different rooms and hallways. There are all these different nooks and crannies and staircases, and of course our eclectic art collection,” Bushey said.
Tabard Inn has remained open throughout the pandemic, although it has been using take-out and delivery for a time, like others.
For locals, Tabard Inn is a dining destination for special occasions and a popular weekend brunch spot, but it’s also a functional inn, with eclectic rooms scattered throughout the townhouses. But if you spend a night there, you won’t fall asleep in front of the cable TV.
“We don’t have televisions in any of the rooms, and that’s completely by design. Each of our 28 rooms has its own unique character, furnishings, and unique color palettes,” Bushey said.
Tabard Inn also regularly hosts live musical performances.
Tabard Inn has about 90 restaurant and inn employees and they are also owners. The company offers an employee share ownership plan.
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