Join Club

Wiinky’s Enters Crowded Burger Field With A Hope, A Prayer, and Angus Beef

If a business could survive on earnestness alone, Wiinky’s in Ballston would be around for quite a while.

As it stands now, however, Wiinky’s is a homegrown restaurant concept operating within a very crowded market space — subs, salads and burgers — in a building that has seen a succession of failed restaurants. And they don’t even have a sign yet.

The restaurant is the brainchild of a young George Mason University grad and Arlington native named Ryan, who didn’t want us to use his last name. Ryan — nicknamed “winky” in high school — recently left his job as a manager of a local pizza restaurant to open his own business. He said he wanted to create a “cool spot” that would remind him of the backyard barbecues he used to love as a kid.

“All through college, I worked my way through school by cooking and by managing the pizza place,” Ryan said. “So I decided, hey man, this is my opportunity, this is my shot. ”

With an undergraduate degree in business, a passion for food and some seed money (source undisclosed), Ryan set out to find a well-trafficked but affordable location. He settled on 3902 Wilson Boulevard in Ballston, formerly home to Papi Pollo and Pike Grill. Although not very inviting from the street, the building does offer off-street parking and features a large, clean kitchen where customers can see their burgers being cooked.

“It’s not like I wanted to have a big casual dining place, I kind of wanted just a cool place that people could stop by and grab a bite to eat for lunch,” Ryan said. He added that he hopes the restaurant could also be a spot for first dates and quick meals with the kids.

Wiinky’s main selling point is the quality of the ingredients. Ryan says he uses only certified Black Angus beef for the burgers and hot dogs, hormone-free chicken for the sandwiches and locally-grown produce for the salads. The menu also includes a few unique items like an avocado-and-tomato hot dog and a signature peanut butter-slathered bacon cheeseburger called the Wiink.

(Ryan says he created the Wiink because he loves peanut butter; he was unaware of last year’s peanut butter burger craze in New York City.)

Unlike some of the new gourmet burger joints that keep popping up around Arlington, Ryan says he wanted to create a family-friendly vibe. For that reason, he is planning on rolling out a kid’s menu and has decided not to apply for a license to serve beer or wine. Booze would hurt the image he’s going for, Ryan said.

Sure, there are plenty of kinks for Ryan to work out: The lack of a sign (hopefully arriving next week), the lack of a working web site or Facebook presence (“coming soon”), the lack of drink options (a soda dispenser is on the way), and relatively slow service (although that’s not uncommon for made-to-order burger restaurants and should be getting faster once Ryan hires a few more staff members). There’s also the issue of marketing — or the lack thereof. But Ryan says he’s planning a grand opening next month and notes that he has been sending an employee out around Ballston to hand out buy-one-get-one-free cards.

At the same time, there are things that Wiinky’s is doing well in its first days in business. The curly fries are crisp and tasty, the chili is pleasantly spicy, and the Wiink burger is tasty, unique and incredibly filling. The burger patties themselves are thick and, if you really think about the flavor, seem to contain a bit of backyard barbecue nostalgia. I didn’t try the Angus chili dog, but Ryan insists that it’s as delicious as it sounds. And he says the cheesesteak sub is the best around.

It’s also clear that Ryan has plenty of support from family and friends, several of whom stopped by yesterday evening to drop off flowers, offer encouragement and grab an early dinner.

Wiinky’s is open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:00 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Recent Stories

Good Monday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 8752 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

Our Mom Eugenia may finally be ready to “opa” later this week in Shirlington. The popular, family-owned Greek eatery is preparing to open its newest location on Thursday (March 30),…

The Arlington County Board approved zoning changes to accommodate “missing middle” housing units, such as duplexes, triplexes, and small multi-family buildings, in areas designated for single-family homes. While some argue…

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in…

Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3­-7.

Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.

Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.

Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.

The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.

Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.

“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

WHS Spring Festival

Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!

Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and

District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference

District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve


Subscribe to our mailing list