Boss of the Sauce Since 1968
The Stoney’s Story
The Stoney’s family of restaurants currently has 3 members: There’s Bullfeathers, on Capitol Hill. There’s Stoney’s on L, located in the West End, between the George Washington University campus and Dupont Circle. And then there’s the original Stoney’s, currently located in Logan Circle.
Before Stoney’s was Stoney’s, it was Herman’s. Owned by a man named Herman Susser, his namesake was located on 13th and L. In 1966, Herman sold it to a man named Tinny Parzo. But Tinny was a gambler with an affinity for horses and cards, and in short order his gambling debts were more than he could handle. So in 1968, a man named Tony Harris and his childhood friend, Steve Papageorge, jumped at an offer they couldn’t refuse, buying Herman’s from Tinny for just $41,000.
They created a new moniker for the restaurant by combining their first names: Stoney’s.
The Early Clientele
In the early years, Stoney’s lived on a lunch rush and the after-work crowd. The Washington Daily News was across the street, and the printers would all come in.
Cops from the nearby police precinct came in early for coffee or breakfast. Officers finishing up at the nearby Secret Service training center spilled in at 11pm for drinks.
As the area became a part of “the stroll,” it was not uncommon to see prostitutes or the occasional pimp come in for a bite or a drink, seated near a group of police officers. With the exception of one woman that insisted on dancing on the tables, there were never any issues.
Tony: The Main Attraction
Over the next three decades, there were plenty of personalities that came through Stoney’s There was Frank, who prepped party platters as a man and came in for drinks dressed as “Rosie.” There was Jimmy Lithicum, who was a dishwasher “and a pretty good cook when he wasn’t drinking.” There was Sandy, who joined in the 1980s and “stayed forever.”
But for over 30 years, Tony Harris was the main bartender and entertainer. Long before the current Stoney’s spots became popular trivia spots, Tony was conducting impromptu games at lunch using quizzes in the local papers.
In 2005, the landlord told Tony he’d need to move out as the building had been sold. So he found a new home on P Street across from the Whole Foods. And in 2014, the second Stoney’s opened.
Read more about the Stoney’s story
Washington Post: L’s Inner Circle
Washington City Paper: Set in Stoney’s: Beloved Neighborhood Bar Marks 50 Years in D.C.