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August brings easier commutes, shorter wait times

Tuesday - 8/14/2012, 4:48am  ET

food truck
The lunchtime crowd on K Street NW takes advantage of shorter food truck lines during the August recess. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Pity the people on exotic vacations, at beach houses or otherwise away during the August recess.

They're really missing out.

Or at least that's a small consolation to those still at the day job while official Washington seems to have emptied out.

Commute times are shorter. More parking spots are open. Favorite restaurants have open tables.

Around Capitol Hill, the August recess is especially pronounced.

"The wait can be anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour, especially on weekends," Lewis Titteron, a manager at the Matchbox Capitol Hill location, says of the norm during the rest of the year.

But until Labor Day, the wait times for a table are a fraction of the usual.

"I would say the wait could be as little as nothing at all, and those really long waits - say an hour or more - are much less likely to happen in a month like August," Titteron says.

Just up 8th Street Northeast, Patrick McMonagle, a bartender at the Chesapeake Room, describes a similar departure from the usual brunch and dinner reservations.

"It's a marked difference," McMonagle says of August. "It's the difference between being able to walk in any time you like as opposed to calling ahead for a reservation."

And it's not just about getting a table.

"During most of the year we cater to staffers and the Hill crowd," McMonagle says.

But while Congress is on recess, "even something as simple as parking is just a lot easier."

A foodie has more than fine dining options during the annual Washington exodus. The lunchtime crowd scouting out food trucks on K Street Northwest also notices shorter lines.

While there may be fewer trucks serving up niche dishes, customers say the lines are noticeably shorter than usual.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)