Ari Gejdenson opened the first Ari’s Diner in 2003 in Florence, Italy, while he was there playing soccer. He was living in a culinary destination, but found that there were no places to grab a late-night snack, American-style. Sharing a bit of that same homesick feeling so many students and expats experience, the idea of the diner was born. Two years after his arrival in Florence, he opened Ari’s Diner- five red vinyl booths and a 6-stool countertop serving pancakes, waffles, and burgers. Though this was American food, the cooking style was pure Italian. Everything from french fries to sausages was made from scratch and with love. The “Happy Days” jukebox made students feel at home and delighted locals as an exotic touch.Watching young kids get a dose of home, sullen faces transforming into happy grins with the first sips of a milkshake, began to shape Gejdenson’s hospitality point of view. Seeing what food and ambiance could do to bring people together and make them feel happy helped Gejdenson realize that restaurants were his calling. Simply known as the American Diner now, the Florence establishment still fires up the griddle every morning to serve what Italians have come to know as Brunch.
Since moving back stateside, Ari always wanted to have a diner at home in DC. The Hecht Warehouse on New York Avenue proved to be the perfect location. Reminiscent of the original, 5 vinyl booths again line the wall (green this time!) and a 16-seat countertop
overlooks the flat-top grill. Each dish is simply prepared using fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Ari’s Diner is the perfect place for the neighbors to catch up over a coffee and farm-fresh eggs on their way to work.
Of course, breakfast is served all day!