Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kramerbooks and AfterWords Cafe

So I said there was one more place I wanted to blog about from our DC weekend last summer and I feel it deserves its own post.  Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe ( I LOVE this place!

This was our final food stop before checking out of our hotel and heading home.  This is one of my favorite places to go in DC.  Its one of the things that makes me want to live there. And if I did, this is a place I would go every morning.  KramerBooks and AfterWords Cafe...why is it called this? Its essentially a book store with a cafe attached to it.  So you go in to get a cool new book and then "afterwords" you get a snack or breakfast or lunch at the cafe! The whole place has this old-school retro urban charm about it.  Its located just off Dupont Circle.  The bookstore has a door one street and then you walk through the books to the other side where the cafe is on another street.  
Kramerbooks on Connecticut Ave

I love books and I love to read and I love collecting books. I am a total book passionista! The bookshop here at Kramers is awesome. It looks like a small Mom-and-Pop place with tall wooden bookcases that go floor to ceiling and and smaller bookshelves in the middle of the floor and so many books crammed in every nook and cranny you don't know where to look first.  
Afterwords Cafe on 19th Street?

Then as you peruse your way through the many tomes of the written word, you see across the way a counter with a glass case full of pies and cakes.  And then a waitress/hostess holding menus. And you think, what is this? I must go see! And you find yourself being seated at a quaint little table reminiscent of a retro/50's diner being served a complimentary orange juice and coffee and a sampler plate of various baked goodies. 

The menu...we're not just talking about basic eggs and pancakes here either.  How about a croque madame...shaved ham, gruyere cheese, hollandaise sauce on grilled bread with 2 eggs cooked any style of your choosing served with fried potaotes and fresh fruit, and you can even add crab or lobster to it! Or a French-cut grilled hanger steak with a mushroom marmalade. A simple bagel with cream cheese, salmon, and capers.  An omelet with triple cream brie cheese, basil, and tomatoes.  
theres that dessert case in the middle of all those books!

There are also some smaller offerings for breakfast as well.  Fresh fruit with Greek yogurt and honey. Hot mocha with a sour cream coffee cake. Stone-ground cheesy grits with biscuits.  I believe when we went this time, we split  the Southwestern Omelet served with salsa, guacamole, onions, peppers, cheese, a mini quesadilla, fried potatoes, and slices of grapefruit and watermelon.  And this is just their breakfast stuff.

We've been here a couple times and have always gotten breakfast/brunch stuff.   We shall have to make another trip back (or two or five...) to try out their lunch, dinner, and dessert menus!!
so many books!

I said it before and I will say it again.  I LOVE this place!  Where else can you go to get a great book and be served a great meal all in one place?  Don't take just my word for it.  Here's a few quotes from Kramerbooks own website as to what they say about themselves and how others have reviewed them...
     "Afterwords Cafe, opened in 1976, was the first Bookstore/Cafe in the country to feature cappuccino, espresso, a full bar and food. Since its inception it has established itself as 'Washington's pre-eminent cafe'" -Kramerbooks
     "The action at Kramerbooks & Afterwords starts with Breakfast and the morning papers at 7:30 AM, and keeps throbbing until well after midnight, seven days a week, complete with indoor and sidewalk cafes, a full-service bar and live entertainment. The sounds are diverting, the smells are delicious, the sights are tempting..."The Washington Post 
     "... one of the city's most beloved independent booksellers... [committed] to the idea that in a world of chains, an independent, literary way of life is still possible." - Fearless Critic Washington DC
      "Esteemed city institution, as well as a fun place to hang out, with a very good and broad general selection..." - The Rough Guide to Washington DC
     "... for bookish, dessert-addicted night owls." - Citywalks Washington DC

YAY for local independent book sellers! YAY for books! YAY for yummy sophisticated food! 

So if you find yourself sitting at a table here at the Afterwords Cafe reading a new book you just bought at Kramers, you can sigh and think, it doesn't get much better than this, does it? 


  1. Oooh, Donna! This looks like a place that Josh and I would LOVE! Thanks for the post! :D

  2. This sound like my kind of place. Next time I am in DC this will be on my to go list.