martin's tavern pie
The Martin’s Tavern Shepherd’s Pie ©Author Adventures

Margaret Truman’s Inspiration

Martin’s Tavern is an historic dining establishment in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC., where many presidents have enjoyed its cuisine. Perhaps its most popular booth is the one where John F. Kennedy proposed marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier. (Read more about Kennedy through his page on our Massachusetts page.)

The restaurant, however, is also a notable literary landmark as the setting of many of the novels written by Margaret Truman (1924-2008), who frequented the restaurant and authored more than 30 books, including a biography of her mother.

Read more about Margaret Truman (a.k.a. Mary Margaret Truman) at She was the daughter (and only child) of President Harry S Truman who often visited the restaurant with his wife Bess and daughter in the 1940s, when Margaret was a student at George Washington University.

Harry S Truman was president at the time that his daughter graduated from George Washington University, and he delivered the commencement address.

A complete list of Margaret Truman’s books can be found here: Thirty of them are mysteries; ten are non-fiction.

The Restaurant

Martin’s Tavern is located at 1264 Wisconsin Ave NW in an upscale college enclave of Washington, DC. Established in 1933, it has been family-owned and passed down from one generation to the next across a span of approximately 85 years. Read its menu here:

The restaurant is very popular so plan ahead with reservations or a little time to wait. It manages to be both plush and cozy and provides excellent service. It’s a great place for a small informal celebration, a business lunch, or anytime dip into living history. Service is quick and high quality.

Martin’s Tavern is the first stop on our District of Columbia Author Adventures Trail!

Patricia Smart