I first heard about Ted’s Bulletin, “the place with homemade Pop-Tarts,” my freshman year of college. A group of people from my dorm went there to celebrate a birthday. I couldn’t join them at the time, but I had been dying to try Ted’s Bulletin ever since. It’s not that I particularly like Pop-Tarts (I think they’re greatly overrated), but Ted’s has a reputation for being a great diner.
The restaurant now has two locations. The original one is on Barracks Row (8th Street SE) near Eastern Market, and the second location just opened recently on the popular 14th Street corridor. I’ve enjoyed walking by the original Ted’s Bulletin over the years and watching bakers prepare Pop-Tarts in the window, but the 14th Street location is so much closer to campus, so I went there on a recent visit.
I love a place that serves breakfast anytime of day, so I was excited to try their options a few days before leaving DC for the summer.
When you walk into Ted’s Bulletin, it looks like it’s a small shop with just a bar and a bakery. However, if you continue to the back, you’ll discover the large dining room. Ted’s Bulletin is one of the most beautiful restaurants I have seen (I can’t speak for the Barracks Row location though). It has a wall made of green marble, an intricate tin ceiling with art-deco chandeliers hanging from it and booths made of dark wood. The whole vibe is very art-deco and luxurious, although it’s a casual dining establishment. The art-deco details were salvaged from the Philadelphia Convention Center. It’s like a piece of home in DC!
I also really liked how Ted’s projected black-and-white movies onto its back wall. I much prefer it to restaurants and bars playing sports…
The menus also had a retro vibe. They are mock newspapers with headlines and stories about Ted, the restaurant’s architecture and weekly specials. The menus are made of paper, so they make a great souvenir.
The meal began with a bit of a hiccup. A very long time had passed and our food had still not come out. The waitress didn’t put in the order, or something like that, so she offered us Pop Tarts on the house. I was a happy camper because I wanted to try them but didn’t want to spend the money if they were just as mediocre as regular Pop Tarts.
The Strawberry Pop Tart ($1.89) was a very colorful pastry. It was filled with yummy strawberry jam. I didn’t think I’d be a fan, but I liked it. The dough, however, was a bit under-baked, but ’tis the nature of a Pop Tart.
The Blueberry Cheesecake Pop Tart ($1.89) was tasty, but bland compared to its strawberry sister. All in all, the homemade Pop Tart concept is cute, but just like Kellogg’s version, it’s pretty underwhelming.
After my dessert appetizer came my dessert entree. I had a hard time choosing between a savory and a sweet entree this time because none of their meal combinations were quite right and ordering a la carte would have been too pricy. I have been taught the more colorful your plate is, the healthier it is. My Thick-Cut French Toast ($9.29) plate consisted of beige French toast, slightly burned golden hash browns and over-easy eggs that matched my plate in color. The meal was just as bland as its color palette.
The French toast was light and fluffy, but it was too plain. It tasted exactly like the French toast sticks they would serve in my high school cafeteria on “breakfast for lunch” day. The toast was served with maple syrup, but it really could have benefitted from some fruit topping to break up the monotony of the flavor.
The eggs and hash brown were good. The hash brown was crunchy and crispy. After not even finishing half of the French toast, I was absolutely stuffeed. I liked the combination of savory and sweet elements in the dish, but there wasn’t enough flavor to the dish. It was very, very plain and boring. I really expected more from the restaurant I had heard so many people rave about.
The bae got the classy Walk of Shame Breakfast Burrito ($12.29). It was stuffed with scrambled eggs, sirloin steak, hash browns, cheddar and green chile sauce and served with hash browns. He loved it. I had a bite and liked the meat, but didn’t enjoy the seasoning, which seemed to be cumin.
For the mediocrity of its dishes, Ted’s Bulletin is overpriced. The portions are huge but bland, from my experience. The Pop Tarts are a novelty that everyone should try once, but they’re not good enough to keep you coming back. I’d be willing to give Ted’s a try again for lunch or dinner, but they did not excel at breakfast. I’ve also heard good things about their spiked milkshakes, so I may try one of those too. Food aside, the decor and ambiance are awesome. I’m giving the service a 2.5/5 because we waited a long time for our food, but they somewhat made up for it with the free Pop Tarts.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
1818 14th Street NW (Logan Circle)
Washington, DC 20009