The Junction Bistro, Bakery, and Bar in Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights, Maryland

Nancy and some of her buddies had breakfast at The Junction while I was off in the Far East working. Well, I was in the far eastern portion of North Carolina trying some new barbecue places. (Put Sid’s Catering on your bucket list.) Nancy was very high on The Junction, so on a recent night when Nancy was hosting her book group, I decided to make myself scarce and arranged to meet a former colleague, Bob Popper, for a drink at The Junction.

I was underdressed.

The Junction in Chevy Chase is one of three links in a local chain that also includes Capitol Hill and Alexandria restaurants. The Chevy Chase location is in the Collection in Friendship Heights. It’s right next door to Hunter’s Hound, but away from the traffic of Wisconsin Avenue — across from the entrance to Clyde’s. The interior is roomy, open, and easy on the eye. There’s abundant seating outside as well.

We ordered draft lagers ($5), and looked at the offerings. We passed on the Reuben egg rolls, the Middle Eastern board, the sweet potato fried, and the daily assortment of dips as I jumped all over the grilled pimiento cheese ($10).

As you can see, the bread was nicely grilled and the cheese beautifully melted. What you can’t see is just how good it was. Wow! It was so good, we got another. This a sandwich with a lot of flavor.  

We also got an order wings ($10) and more draft lagers.  

As usual, I got all of the flappers while my companion (Bob in this case) got the drumettes. This was a clear win for me. Although messier to eat, the flappers have so much more flavor, the second best meat on a chicken, while the drumette is tough and flavorless, at least without sauce.

The Junction’s wings came with a Sweet Chili Sauce with lots of flavor, and lots of ginger, and with a red
Angry Buffalo Sauce that actually was pretty mellow. It lacked bite, and really could use some perking up. The wings also came with carrot and celery sticks and some Ranch rather than the more usual blue cheese dressing.

The wings themselves were great, especially the flappers (of course). They were cooked just to doneness and hadn’t a hint of dryness. Succulent is the word for them. We were both very pleased.

It was good to catch up with Bob. He likes his work and was full of the joys of a recent college graduate gainfully employed and the prospect of a coming trip to Portugal. And my life, as regular readers know, is a bowl of cherries.

I was very impressed by how well The Junction runs, especially with the staffing issues now plaguing the service industry. There actually was some confusion over our second round of pimiento cheese so that we ended up with two more servings rather than one more serving — a second and a third round. I’m not saying whose fault that was, but it wasn’t mine or the server’s. After a lot of Alphonse-Gaston, the upshot was that we got the third serving for free and a box for the culprit to take it home. It was handled very graciously, and wisely.

The Junction opens for breakfast at 8:00 am and stays open through lunch and, on weekdays, they have a happy hour from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, then shut their doors at 8:00. On weekends they’re open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm for brunch.

The Junction offers a broad range of breakfast and lunch options, with an array of pastries, breakfast sandwiches (biscuits!), and egg dishes at breakfast. Lunch service starts at 11:00 and includes a good selection of salads, sandwiches, not least a Cuban and a Hot Chicken, and ten diverse entrees. Vegetarians can do very well at The Junction. Nancy reports that it got unpleasantly loud at a busy lunch when the rain forced everyone indoors. It got pretty noisy inside with the crowd during Happy Hour, but quieted down as people left. Bob and I could converse comfortably throughout.

The most important thing about the Junction is that the kitchen knows what it’s doing. I definitely will return to test the lunch offerings and the noise level, and it’ll be a good place to meet friends for coffee or breakfast, as Nancy often does, and to have brunch. You should give it a try.

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