An ambitious new restaurant is coming to an unlikely place: a former chocolate factory and paint store.
Ruthie’s All-Day — a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner — plans to open this fall at 3411 5th Street S., a historic building that most recently housed a Sherwin-Williams store, in the front parking lot of the newly-renovated Dominion Apartments.
Behind the restaurant are two veterans of the local food scene: Matt Hill, formerly Executive Chef for Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group, which operates The Liberty Tavern, Northside Social, Lyon Hall and Liberty Barbecue; and Todd Salvadore, formerly a general manager for Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s RW Restaurant Group. Both Hill and Salvadore also worked at Charlie Palmer Steak in D.C.
Located along S. Glebe Road, between Columbia Pike and Route 50 in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, Ruthie’s will be a sit-down restaurant with a bar, a takeout counter, an outdoor patio, and a wood-burning hearth. It is expected to open in phases, starting in September with outdoor dining, takeout and catering.
Signature offerings include wood-smoked barbecue and southern-style dishes, in addition to seasonal cocktails, a curated wine list, and a rotating selection of draft beer.
“Ruthie’s All-Day will feature a take-out counter with Counter Culture coffee, ridiculously delicious breakfast biscuits, stone ground grits, house-made sausage, crispy fried chicken sandwiches, vinegar spiked pulled pork sandwiches, and hearty salads,” said an announcement Wednesday morning. “In the evening, Ruthie’s will be Chef Hill’s modern take on a meat and three which will include pepper smoked prime grade brisket, fresh Chesapeake rockfish, char-grilled gochujang rubbed spare ribs, southern style mac and cheese, white-soy braised greens, and more.”
A full press release is below.
We are pleased to announce the opening of a new all-day wood-fired restaurant by Chef Matt Hill and Partner Todd Salvadore. This will be Chef Matt’s and Todd’s first solo restaurant after working in the industry for more than twenty years. The anticipated opening will be in September of 2020, and will be located at the corner of Glebe Road and 5th Street South (3411 5th Street South, Arlington, VA 22204). The restaurant will be named Ruthie’s All-Day, after Matt’s grandmother, who inspired him with homestyle cooking while growing up in North Carolina.
“When we set out to open Ruthie’s All-Day, we had no idea the world would change as much as it has over the past four months. Although this may not be the most opportune time to open, we decided to move forward while following the CDC guidelines because our ultimate goal has always been to serve the greater local community. And I think now more than ever, we crave nourishment and a sense of comfort, and a little love from Ruthie’s All-Day may very well be what everyone needs right now. With hard work, tasty food, and hospitality, we plan to serve our guests in any and all ways we can,” says Chef Matt Hill.
As a full-service, family friendly, all-day neighborhood restaurant and bar with a custom-built wood-burning hearth, Ruthie’s All-Day will be Chef Hill’s modern take on a meat and three in the evening, serving scratch made food with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients.
In the morning, from our take-out counter, the evolving menu will feature our ridiculously delicious breakfast biscuits and bowls, think stone ground grits, house-made sausage, crispy fried chicken, and brisket, egg and cheese biscuits, alongside Counter Culture coffee from Chef Hill’s (and Ruthie’s) home state of North Carolina. Lunch time brings a mix of fresh ground burgers, sandwiches and entree salads with greens from local farmers and producers, packed with seasonal superfoods. The restaurant will shift in to full service in the evening hours with Hill’s modern take on a meat and three with 100% wood smoked barbecue and grilled meats including: grilled local steaks; pepper smoked prime grade brisket; vinegar spiked pulled pork shoulder; smoked lemongrass scented chicken; and char-grilled gochujang rubbed spare ribs.
Meats will not be the only thing getting top billing at Ruthie’s. Chef Hill will also partner with local fisheries and explore the Chesapeake’s seasonal bounty serving local wood grilled Rockfish, Bluefish, Fresh Maryland Blue Crabs, clams, and definitely those killer tautog in the fall. The team has installed two all wood burning smokers, as well as a custom wood hearth to “kiss” the meats and fish with NC hickory and oak wood. Purveying the Mid-Atlantic farms, Chef Hill will craft a daily list of seasonal sides to make up the two or three components in the meat and three. Dishes like white-soy braised greens, stewed chickpeas, and Ruthie’s southern style Mac and Cheese, will be in constant rotation. Chef Hill is already growing all of the herbs for Ruthie’s All-Day at his South Arlington garden plot that he shares at a local community garden.
The beverage program led by Todd Salvadore will reflect the flavors and seasonality of the food. Wines from old world classics in the Rhone and in Spain, alongside eclectic Italian and small new world producers. Cocktails will be twists on classic favorites, and a rotating eight draft beer program will feature local breweries.
The team plans to roll out full-service catering and drop-offs for family picnics, corporate events, and weddings. When the time is right, Ruthie’s All-Day will also be taking reservations for large format dinners in their two private rooms, such as whole suckling pig roast with korean bossam or smoked koji rubbed rib roasts with new harvest potatoes and ox-tail ragout.
Ruthie’s All-Day will be in the historic building formerly occupied by a Sherwin Williams store and, prior to that, a chocolate factory/ice cream shop named Mr. W’s in the 1950s. The team worked with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Park Service to help preserve and enhance the original design of the building. “We were really excited to build a restaurant in a unique space in South Arlington’s Historic Arlington Heights neighborhood. We saw a vintage Mr. W’s advertisement selling frozen custard and handmade chocolate, and we thought, this is going to be really fun to re-activate the space,” says Todd Salvadore. The restaurant will seat up to 110 seats inside with two private dining rooms, and a near 70-seat outdoor patio.
Matt and Todd previously worked together at Charlie Palmer Steak DC. It was there that they developed a mutual understanding of hospitality and commitment to going above and beyond to provide an exceptional and dynamic experience for guests. Ruthie’s All-Day will be their first adventure as restaurateurs, and they are very excited to create energy in a new all-day space for the greater local community.
Matt Hill graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 2000 and has worked at several distinguished restaurants such as, Craft, Theo, Aureole, Charlie Palmer Steak, Range, and Liberty Tavern Group (Northside Social, Liberty BBQ, Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall). Matt is also involved in many philanthropic events and charitable organizations, including Share Our Strength, Heart’s Delight, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, American Cancer Society, Virginia Hospital, and Doorways for Women and Families. Matt lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife Jeanne Choi, and their two sons, Calder and Harrison.
Todd Salvadore, while studying computer engineering, has always had a passion for the hospitality industry. He grew up in Stockbridge Massachusetts, working at the Historic Red Lion Inn. After college, he moved to Las Vegas to work at his first Michelin Star restaurant as a Captain at Alize. His management career has taken him across the country from Charlie Palmer Steak DC to Element 47 at The Little Nell in Aspen. His most recent position was with the RW Restaurant Group, as the General Manager of the Michelin Starred Siren by RW. During each stop of his career, his focus has always been focused on putting guests first and building a lasting community relationship.