Arlington, VA

At long last, Bob and Edith’s Diner has set the official opening day and time for its new Lee Highway location: Monday at 7 a.m.

The longtime local diner chain is opening its newly-built eatery at 5050 Lee Highway amid a decided lack of fanfare, however.

“At this time we are not having a Grand Opening event due to the pandemic and the social distancing guidelines that are in place,” said Bob and Edith’s spokeswoman Rebekah Steele. “We are still adhering to our enhanced cleaning procedures, safe distancing between tables, and digital friendly menus. We also will offer take and delivery.”

The company — with locations on Columbia Pike and 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, as well as in Huntington and Springfield — has been hurt by the pandemic, as have most restaurant operators. About half of its business is now takeout and delivery, a remarkable pivot for a classic greasy spoon eatery that’s perhaps better known as a local gathering spot than a culinary destination.

Despite the challenges, owner Greg Bolton says he’s excited about the opening, in part due to the history of the location.

“Steak N Egg was at this spot for 70 plus years and my dad worked for them 65 years ago at this location before purchasing Gary’s Donut Dinette (which is now the Columbia Pike location),” he told ARLnow via email. “I worked at Steak N Egg 40 years ago when I was 17 and now my kids and grandkids can own the location that was where their grandfather once worked.”

(Before being purchased by Bolton for $1.1 million in 2018, 5050 Lee Highway was home to Linda’s Cafe, which had a spicy Twitter account that contrasted with the plain, aging building it occupied.)

Bolton also believes the location is ideally suited for a place like Bob and Edith’s.

“[I’m] excited because there is not another breakfast place around and the new building has a lot of people talking and wanting to see the inside,” he said. “Bob and Edith’s has a great name up north and people have been stopping by for weeks waiting to come inside and eat.”

For those who want to do more than dine at the restaurant, a sign outside indicates that it’s now hiring.

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