Renovations Continue at Ruffino’s

by ARLnow.com January 10, 2011 at 8:15 am 2,899 33 Comments

Ruffino’s Spaghetti House (4763 Lee Highway) closed for renovations in September. Four months later, work is still well underway.

For now, it appears that the deep blue doors and windows won’t be back, nor will the big neon sign. We did not get a good look at the interior.

No word yet on when the beloved neighborhood restaurant may open back up. A call to Ruffino’s main number is answered by an brief automated message that provides precious little information.

“We are remodeling and we will reopen as soon as we can,” the message says.

Pre-renovation photo (right) courtesy Kevin Borland

  • bennynojets

    That is too bad the sign will be going away. It provides a certain sense of nostalgia.

    • Burger

      Why would the sign go away. That is just Arlnow’s assumption. From the pictures there looks like there is plenty of space to put the sign up higher on the storefront wall.

      Also, who is doing the construction. This project shouldn’t take 4 months to do.

      • Old D

        He chose not to hire a general contractor, which is probably one reason why it is taking so long.

        • Burger

          Ah…Thanks. He needs to go to business school. Saving money on rebuilding your place that takes 6 months would easily be returned by hiring a GC and having people back in the resturant inside of 3. Terrible loss of revenue. My guess is this will end up forcing the business to go out of business.

          • Old D

            I suspect that’s a real possibility at this point.

          • Mark

            That’s my fear, given that progress seems to have stopped in the last 6-8 weeks.

            For those questioning its status, it wasn’t the greatest and I think I’ve only actually dined-in once or twice. But it was fast, easy, inexpensive take-away or delivery with decent food and left-over friendly portions. IMO, better than Joe’s, food-wise, which is about the only other local to-your-door Italian.

  • Charlie

    But you failed to note the thing on the roof…
    Are they going roof top too?
    If you go behind the building they’ve constructed some sort of addition — maybe a stairwell?
    I bet from there you can see Russia

    • mehoo


  • Rick

    I would love to eat pasta and look at lee highway. Outdoors. Maybe exxon can get some big fans and loft all the gas vapors up there too

    • Charlie

      Funny. Gas stations really don’t smell anymore thanks to EPA. But lee why is busy but so is Wilson. Where rooftop dining is so hip.

      • Rick

        Leave it to the government to take all the smells out of automobiles. Lucky for me I can smell my used motor oil when I do a change, and smell it all the way to the poop plant down on glebe. And I would rather watch the drunkards walk up and down wilson and the cabs than pizza delivery guys and semi’s, which is what lee highway is good for nowadays

        • mehoo

          Keep the government out of my stinky substances!

  • SoCo Resident

    Arlnow refers to this as “the beloved neighborhood restaurant.” Is it really “beloved”? Did I make a mistake once in walking in, taking a look around, and walking right back out? Or, were my instincts correct?

    • Lou

      I know people who have been going there loyally since the ’80s.

      • LP


    • Carla

      I first went in there around 1976, when they were brand new. Haven’t been very often, but used to go there a bit during the 80s and 90s. The decor was nothing to write home about, it’s true, but I always liked their linguine in red clam sauce. In fact, that’s about the only thing I ever ordered there, along with the garlic bread. Maybe you shouldn’t have been so picky and quick in your judgment.

      • SoCo Resident

        Well, I’m not that picky – it was actually the “bad” decor that attracted me. You haven’t been there in a long, long time and don’t seem really up-to-date. Was it the same owners since 1976?
        I have a very good sense of the so-called Arlington “Italian” restaurants since I live in the same block with a very, very scummy family that runs several of them and a pizza place! I can’t believe anyone would eat in them, certainly no one in this neighborhood who knows them.
        I was just trying to find out why Arlnow called this place “beloved.”

        • Charlie

          Soco — if you have lived in Arlington as long as you claim than ruffinos is in your heart regardless of whether you have been there.

        • It’s beloved because I’ve heard from a number of people who say they love it.

          • Charlie


  • JamesE

    I wasn’t even aware there were restaurants in that location as I usually speed by to go to the holy KFC Taco bell duplex.

    • mehoo

      I don’t know why they don’t just get it over with and start one big chain called Kentucky Fried Tacos.

      • Rick

        There’s one of those in Annandale, and Burke. Try not spending 10 bucks there

      • CrystalMikey

        Or Kentucky Taco Pizza Hut (complete with a blah Pizza Hut)

        • Rick

          You’re referring of course to Mecca. The one in tysons doesn’t count, they use random non-kfc food there.

  • jan

    Did they find parking?

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    He needs to renovate his menu, the joint is sub-Chef Boyardee.

  • Maxine LUnn

    “Beloeved?!” That place was HORRIBLE. My school cafeteria made better pasta. And it was cleaner.

    • Maxine LUnn

      Spelling fail: “Beloved”

      • SoCo Resident

        Maxine, Thank you for the food review. Guess I was correct in walking in, listening to my gut, and walking out. Your words “My school cafeteria made better pasta. And it was cleaner” apply to the several “Italian” restaurants run by my scummy neighbors. Still no answer why ARlNow called this “beloved”

  • MC

    Never eaten there, but like the old neon sign. It was probably retro looking even in the 70s, but it pulls it off much better than these neo-steel diners that blanket Lee Highway.

    • Rick

      All one of them?

      • Charlie

        Don’t think he said “… In Arlington.
        City diner in refs
        29 business in warren ton
        And others
        Metro 29
        Pink Cadillac diner in natural bridge
        29 diner in fairfax
        American diner


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