Last Updated: February 2022
Current Status: They are back to full hours at all three locations, open Tuesday to Sunday. (Note: Hank’s on the Hill closed in 2021). Take-out and Delivery available.
Overview: Chef Jamie Leeds opened Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont with a straightforward idea: casual seafood. Bringing the food of seashore vacations back to the city struck a chord, and it spread to a handful of locations plus some affiliated restaurants. Whether it’s a warm bowl of chowder in winter or bubbles and bivalves in the sun, Hank’s offers comfort food cooked with consistency. It sticks with what it knows and does it well.
In addition to the oysters, lobster rolls and Old Bay seasoned fries, there are larger entrees of fish and a few meat or vegetable dishes to round out the options. The wine and beer list is solid if not expansive. For dessert, they have served a small piece of dark chocolate with the check for years. What started as necessity has become tradition.
The settings are without pretension. Groups gather for happy hour (when that is possible), but you could also imagine a scholar from one of the nearby think tanks sitting with a book and beer on the patio on a warm spring afternoon wrestling with grand thoughts. They also do a robust brunch business where less-grand thoughts are exchanged. D.C. has been lucky to have a great generation of women restaurant entrepreneurs. Hank’s, along with other locally-grown chains, are gems dotting the region (though not always appreciated at first).
Washington Post: 2 Stars in 2005. (In 2007, he went out of his way to note restaurants that he thought had fallen off and explain their exclusion from the Fall Dining guide, including Hank’s, which he knocked down half a star. That review is no longer online.) He gave them a plug as recently as 2018 in his chat.
Washington City Paper: One of the great places to sip a beer while waiting for take-out.
Michelin: Listed, “Hank’s Oyster Bar promises a good time and a full stomach.”