Two blocks west of the FBI headquarters building and two blocks east of the White House, a small hamburger joint is dwarfed by its monstrous surroundings, but only in stature. These folks serve up 100% beef burgers at a very reasonable cost no matter where you’re from, let alone one of Washington, D.C.’s prime tourist areas. This slightly-greasy spoon is a a refreshing change in a city where buffet-style by-the-pound deli lunches are the norm.
Found at the corner of 12th & E St. NW, Ollie’s Trolley has one of the most accessible locations in the District. A mere two blocks north of Federal Triangle Metro and two blocks south of Metro Center, it’s smack dab in the middle of everything. Inside its old time diner facade; humble interior decorations suggest a vaguely “San Francisco” style, but not overboard to the tune of Rice A Roni’s ads.
I decided to try their specialty: the Ollieburger. 5oz of beef grilled with their special herbs and spices — which you can taste enjoyably, but can’t identify readily — served with fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayo on a sesame bun. As a note: their other burgers aren’t done with the herbs and spices. Modern fast food always leaves me skeptical of “fresh” ingredients, but Ollie’s tasted quite fresh indeed, leaving me with the impression that the ingredients were indeed fresh. The seasoned fries I’m accustomed to are tossed with a powdered seasoning before and/or after frying. Ollie’s thinly-sliced fries are tossed in actual herbs and spices, apparent by sight and also by taste. They are delicious, and worthy of their “famous” title.
Service was quick, from order to eat-in tray in about five minutes. My burger served with a carton of fries and a drink, my total came to $6.15 after tax. The burger alone would have been $3.50.
The tossed spices warmed my tongue even after I left, walking back to the Metro. This was a good thing, reminding myself that I had just grabbed a good meal on the cheap. I will definitely be returning.