(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) The newest entrant into Arlington’s restaurant scene has opened its doors.
The restaurant is a bit off the beaten path: it’s located along S. Glebe Road at 3411 5th Street S., in a single-story, historic building that once served as a chocolate factory.
Ruthie’s aims to be a neighborhood destination, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a place that’s blocks from the nearest sit-down restaurant and a half hour walk from the Ballston Metro station.
Despite the understated name, “RAD” has a menu that is more culinary than quick-service.
Starters include Southern staples like deviled eggs, cornbread, hushpuppies and pimento cheese, mixed in with tuna tartare and wood grilled octopus. Pork, chicken and brisket sandwiches are joined on the menu with entrees like wood fired bacon wrapped trout, roasted diver scallops, and smoked Rohan duck breast.
Though Ruthie’s doesn’t have barbecue in its name, it does have two all wood burning smokers and a custom wood hearth, fed by North Carolina hickory and oak wood. It offers meat by the pound and half pound, including brisket, pulled pork and chicken, as well as racks of ribs.
In addition to the food, the restaurant will have eight local beers on tap, on a rotating basis, in addition to seasonal cocktails and a curated wine list.
Ruthie’s, which is touting its COVID precautions as it opens amid the pandemic, also has a large patio for outdoor dining. It plans to roll out coffee, breakfast, brunch and lunch service at later dates.
More from a press release:
We are pleased to announce the official opening of Ruthie’s All-Day 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. […]
As a full-service, family friendly, all-day neighborhood restaurant and bar with a custom-built wood-burning hearth, Ruthie’s All-Day will offer coffee/counter, lunch, brunch, and dinner service scratch made food with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. “We are beyond excited to finally open our doors to Ruthie’s All-Day! We plan to open in phases. Currently, we are open for dinner and takeout. In the coming weeks, we will be introducing Counter Culture coffee, breakfast/lunch counter, and brunch service,” says Chef Matt Hill.
The opening dinner menu is Chef Matt Hill’s modern take on a meat and three with 100% wood smoked barbecue and grilled meats including: smoked pulled pork shoulder with scratch made milk bread; wood fired citrus marinated 1/2 chicken with a raisin caper vinaigrette, smoked brisket; and smoked half rack sticky spare ribs. These are accompanied by twos and threes: buttermilk biscuits; mac and cheese; pulled pork pinto beans; anson mills grits; crispy brussels in fish sauce vinaigrette; hand cut fries; or charred kimchi dirty rice. Super tasty starters, such as skillet cornbread, hot hushpuppies with shrimp and roasted jalapeno, wood grilled oysters, and brunswick stew are also featured. The menu will showcase delicious entree salads, including fried chicken cobb salad and nice grilled salmon salad, as well as several sandwiches including Chef Hill’s crispy fried chicken sandwich with gojuchang aioli, bread and butter pickles, and slaw. The beverage program led by Todd Salvadore offers Cocktails with twists on classic favorites, and a rotating eight draft beer program from local breweries.
In the coming weeks, in the morning, the take-out counter will feature an evolving menu with 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.
Both indoor and outdoor seating are currently available. “While following the CDC, WHO, and VA government guidelines, our number one priority is keeping our guests and staff safe,” says Todd Salvadore.
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 is located in a 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 seats 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.
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