Review By: Elizabeth Walle -
I went to Ted’s Bulletin after googling “hamburgers” and “capitol hill” one day when my dad wanted to take me for burgers and beer. Ted’s had enough stars for me to put my trust in anonymous internet users–though I also relied on my own ability to assess a restaurant based on a compilation of yelp, google’s previews of “real” reviews, and a quick scan of the official website. Looked good to me. I met my dad by the Marine Barracks and we strolled up 8th street to the golden “B” encircled in lights above the entrance to a small brick structure.
I was charmed as soon as I walked in: the front room is an airy art-deco diner, with a long and glossy counter in dark wood and black and white tiled walls. The back room is the same, but full of booths. The vibe is polished retro. The menus are mock newspapers–Ted’s Bulletin.
They only have two beers on tap at the bulletin, one light and one dark house-brewed “Prohibition-style” draft. Dad took the safe route when ordering: light beer and a standard cheeseburger. I was somewhat more adventurous, requesting the darker beer and their peanut butter bacon burger. Something told me that it would be delicious against all odds, and one of my favorite things to eat is melty peanut butter, so I went for it.
Writing about it now, I’d love another one. The peanut butter was applied with moderation, and indeed melty. The combination of the three tasted like…well, peanut butter and bacon on a hamburger, but instead of being weird, it was savory and delicious! Mouthwatering even. Dad declined my offer of a bite and contented himself with his perfectly juicy, regular old hammy. The fries were neither disappointing nor lifechanging, though I do have qualms with any restaurant that gives you one little cup of ketchup per plate, rather than letting you go crazy with the bottle on your own. Actually, my burger didn’t come with ketchup at all, but a “sweet and spicy Roma tomato jam” which I did not enjoy with the burger–the sweetness of the jam pushed the burger into PB & J territory, and kind of ruined the amazing savory flavor that it had on its own.
Ted’s is known for its adult milkshakes, which are exactly what they sound like: the malt shoppe classic mixed with booze. That sounded like a little much, so I got the G-rated version. Out of their many flavors–heath bar, strawberry-banana, s’mores, apple pie–I was tempted to order PB & J, but having already covered that territory with my main course, I ordered peppermint. It was thick and minty and pretty generous in size, but I drank all of it like a good American.
I left Ted’s stuffed, but still lingered at the pastry case to inspect homemade oatmeal cream pies, pop-tarts and other baked goods. I walked off my post-meal fullness by strolling northward from Ted’s, up to Eastern Market and past the hill’s historic rowhouses, all partially hidden by flora and fauna, somehow not wilting in Washington’s heavy mid-summer heat. I was wilted a bit myself, but I was content after another successful exploration of Capitol Hill’s many dining options.
Make a reservation at Ted’s Bulletin.