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Last year Charga Grill topped the Washington Post’s annual list of top casual restaurants in the region.

That sent a flood of new customers to the eatery at 5151 Langston Blvd. Now two other Arlington restaurants, including another along Langston Blvd, are bound to see a big influx of diners thanks to the latest WaPo rankings.

Food critic Tim Carman’s list of the 10 best D.C.-area casual restaurants of 2023 ranks King of Koshary in Bluemont at #6 and Bostan Uyghur Cuisine in Cherrydale at #10.

King of Koshary, at 5515 Wilson Blvd, was previously praised by Carman for its “Egyptian food fit for royalty.”

“The King’s koshary is actually a joint effort from Ayob Metry and Nadia Gomaa, a pair of Egyptian natives who used to challenge each other to make the best version of this carb-heavy dish when they worked in the prepared foods department at Whole Foods in Ashburn,” Carman wrote in his latest list, published Tuesday.

Bostan Uyghur Cuisine, at 3911 Langston Blvd, was also noted for its compelling origin story — in addition to the food.

“Faced with the threat of a Chinese ‘reeducation’ camp if he returned to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to renew his passport, Mirzat Salam opted to flee to the United States with his wife, Zulhayat Omer,” Carman wrote. “Trained as a doctor in Xinjiang, Mirzat slipped quietly into the hospitality industry, the same profession that his father, a chef named Abdusalam, had warned him about as a boy.”

Topping this year’s list, in the former Charga spot, is Woodbridge food truck Lechonera DMV.

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The prestigious Washington Post Fall Dining Guide is out and Arlington avoided the shut out of past years.

As is usually the case, the vast majority of the 40 restaurants on critic Tom Sietsema’s list are located in D.C. But one Arlington eatery made it: Ruthie’s All-Day (3411 5th Street S.).

Chef Matt Hill’s spot for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner was praised by Sietsema for its tasty Southern cuisine and for being both kid- and dog-friendly.

From the Post:

Restaurateurs can plan all they want, but not until after a business is born do they know how customers will use it. Take this all-American hot spot in Arlington, going on three years. Co-owner Todd Salvadore says he and chef Matt Hill envisioned Ruthie’s as “a parents’ date night place.” Instead, it became a magnet for young households. “We’re watching all the kids grow up!” says Salvadore.

There’s no children’s menu, but the regular list includes a roll call of dishes (chicken tenders, mac and cheese) that appeal to little ones and their minders. Want a one-patty burger or a single pancake at brunch? The kitchen can honor both requests. Ruthie’s, named for Hill’s grandmother, also stocks a score of high-chairs and a patio that welcomes four-legged companions and accepts reservations.

Ease in with some songs of the South: pink folds of rich Surryano ham arranged with craggy buttermilk biscuits, pimento cheese and red onion jam on what looks like a slice of tree trunk. The bestseller is brisket, smoked overnight and seasoned with paprika, garlic and onion powder, what the kitchen knows as TCB, or Taking Care of Business. The meaty delight comes with tender milk bread, house-made pickles and a choice of two or three sides. Make sure one of them is dirty rice tossed with charred kimchi.

Arlington has seen some banner years for its food scene in the Fall Dining Guide, such as in 2019 when Thai Square on Columbia Pike, Sfoglina in Rosslyn and Buena Vida in Clarendon all made the cut.

Notable Arlington-adjacent restaurants on the 2023 list are the Bethesda outpost of The Salt Line, which also has a Ballston location, and Rice Paper, located in the Eden Center, just across the county line in Falls Church.

Despite Arlington’s meager showing this year, it could have been worse: no restaurants from Alexandria made Sietsema’s latest list.

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Charga Grill on Langston Blvd (staff photo)

Charga Grill, at 5151 Langston Blvd, can blend in among the small, unassuming strip mall eateries that line Arlington’s stretch of Route 29.

But it was just the recipient of a very uncommon honor.

Washington Post food critic Tim Carman last week ranked Charga Grill as No. 1 on his list of the D.C. area’s 10 best casual restaurants of 2022.

He wrote of Charga’s eclectic menu and marquee dish:

Charga specializes in street food from around the world, with an emphasis on plates of chicken. Peruvian pollo a la brasa. South African peri-peri. And two specimens from Pakistan, Chaudry’s homeland: brined-and-smoked sajji chicken, and skinless charga chicken, which is steamed and flash-fried. The latter two birds alone are worth a trip to Charga. But Chaudry, along with his uncle Iqbal Chaudry, doesn’t stop at chicken. They also serve kebabs, curries, quesadillas and more. Their free-form approach might confound those who prefer tidy categories for their restaurants. But as with the customers who enter their establishment, Iqbal and Asad commit themselves to each and every dish on the menu.

Carman expounded upon Charga’s origins in a glowing January 2022 review.

Asad Chaudry still remembers the first time he tried charga. He had flown to Pakistan for his brother’s wedding in 2012, and as part of the trip, Chaudry’s mom took him to her former neighborhood in Lahore, where they waited, and waited, in line at one of the city’s famous street vendors for a chance to bite into its singular chicken.

Chaudry knew enough about the dish, sometimes spelled chargha, to know how to eat it: He used a piece of naan to tear off a generous hunk of meat from the bird. He garnished the combination with masala onions and then dunked the bite in mint chutney. “When I tried it, I was like, ‘Man, this is amazing,'” he tells me one afternoon over the phone. “I was like, ‘I got to learn how to make it.'”

Chaudry tried to learn as much as he could on the ground in Lahore, but he admits his grasp of Pakistan’s mother tongues is shaky. But he established one important fact during his brief educational tour nearly a decade ago: The chicken is typically steamed and flash-fried, not cooked on a rotisserie as he had initially guessed. From there, Chaudry and his uncle, Iqbal Chaudry, researched and tested recipes until they had exactly what they wanted: their own take on one of Lahore’s signature dishes.

Charga is also highly rated among diners on Yelp, with a 4.5 star review average between today and the first review in 2017.

Carman’s 2022 casual restaurant list included another Arlington-connected restaurant: La Tingeria — which got its start as an Arlington food truck and was nearly shut down by the City of Falls Church after setting up its brick-and-mortar location at 626 S. Washington Street — ranked No. 4.

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A fox with a propensity for stealing newspapers — the Washington Post specifically — has returned to the residential neighborhoods of North Arlington.

“Just spotted this fox holding a newspaper on Williamsburg Blvd headed toward Harrison Street in 22207,” a resident, Ali N., told ARLnow this morning.

That’s near last June’s newspaper-stealing fox sighting in the Rock Spring neighborhood, and not far from a similar spotting five days ago.

“If you’re missing your newspaper and live on [the 4900 block of] Old Dominion [Drive], a very foxy thief is the culprit,” wrote a Yorktown resident who posted a photo of a Washington Post in his or her jaws. “Had a good laugh watching him proudly escape the crime scene with the bounty in hand, errrr mouth.”

Another Nextdoor post from last month holds a potential clue as to why the fox is stealing newspapers. A resident in the nearby Williamsburg and East Falls Church area posted that a fox had four kits under their shed.

“Some mornings, the kids/kits use front porch as a playground,” the resident wrote in a post that was accompanied by a video of the little ones scurrying about the porch.

The original video from last year’s foxy newspaper theft is below.

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Morning Notes

Construction scaffolding in Ballston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Bye, Bye Bank Building — “A new residential development is on the boards for Columbia Pike. Marcus Partners filed plans late last week with Arlington County for a new 250-unit residential development at the site of the Bank of America office building at 3401 Columbia Pike. The six-story building will have ground floor retail, a central courtyard and 287 parking spaces on 2.5 below grade levels.” [UrbanTurf]

It’s Official: No Caucus — From Blue Virginia: “The @arlingtondems announce that their School Board Endorsement Vote process is canceled, as there is only one candidate (Bethany Zecher Sutton) left after the other withdrew.” [Twitter]

Rents Still Rising — “The median Arlington apartment rent in April was up 16.8 percent from a year before, the third highest growth rate among the nation’s 100 large urban areas, according to new data. The median monthly rental for an apartment in the county last month was $1,999 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,420 for two bedrooms, according to data reported by Apartment List.” [Sun Gazette]

Truck Crash Caught on Camera — From Dave Statter: “Just happened. 3rd crash in as many days on I-395S at Exit 8C/Rt 1. It appears the red car didn’t stop & no other cars struck. @VSPPIO has all lanes open.” [Twitter]

Protest Outside DEA HQ in Pentagon City — “I’m outside DEA headquarters in Arlington, where protests have gathered to draw attention to terminally ill patients’ rights to try experimental drugs like psilocybin.” [Twitter, The Hill]

WaPo Reporter Rappels Down Hotel — “On Thursday and Friday, about 80 people, including two local elected officials, a Washington Post reporter, and a member of the D.C. Divas women’s football team, dressed in full pads and uniform, rappelled down the side of the Crystal City Hilton to raise funds and awareness for New Hope Housing.” [Washington Post]

Boeing HQ May Draw More Companies — “Even without a sizable addition of jobs or expansion, Northern Virginia landing another major corporate headquarters has strategic ‘marketing value,’ Terry Clower, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, said in an interview. The presence of a headquarters attracts the attention of other corporations, as well as site-selection consultants who advise companies where to locate new facilities. ‘Nothing draws a crowd like a lot of people,’ Clower said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Metro: Ridership Rebounding — “Metro ridership is outpacing projections through the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022 by nearly 40 percent. Through March, ridership has exceeded the initial forecast by 28 million passenger trips as more people chose bus and rail for travel throughout the region. Metrobus leads the way, accounting for 60 percent of overall Metro ridership, compared to about 40 percent for rail.” [WMATA]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 68 and low of 48. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Grand Opening for Big Rosslyn Development — “Real estate developer Penzance welcomed Arlington County officials to the grand opening of The Highlands, a mixed-use project in Rosslyn at the top of the hill on Wilson Boulevard. The Highlands, a 1.2-million-square-foot development, consists of three high-rise residences — named Pierce, Aubrey and Evo — with views of the D.C. area and several amenities. ‘We’re proud to be here today welcoming these 890 new residences, exciting retailers, Fire Station 10 and the beautiful Rosslyn Highlands Park.'” [Patch]

Reward Boosted in Ballston Murder Case — “The Ratigan family is announcing an increase in their reward fund from $25,000 to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for Scott Ratigan’s homicide on January 17, 2020. Detectives continue to follow-up on any and all investigative leads in this case and remind the public that any information, regardless of how small it may seem, could be the tip that leads to justice on behalf of Scott and the Ratigan family.” [ACPD]

Retired Police K-9 Dies — “With great sadness, ACPD announces the passing of retired K9 Drago, a 14 year-old old German Shepard, Belgian Malinois mix. He loyally served Arlington from 2008 to 2019 as a patrol and narcotics detection K9. We kindly ask that you keep him and his handler in your thoughts.” [Twitter]

APS Getting Ready for Kid Vax Approval — “APS continues to work with the County on plans for rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to students ages 5-11 once it is approved, which we anticipate very soon. Once approved, we will inform the community about the availability of doses and how to schedule appointments. Arlington County Public Health anticipates holding clinics and scheduling vaccinations by appointment, hopefully by mid-November. We will keep families informed as new information is received.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Man Seen Stealing GOP Signs — “We’ve received reports of stolen yard signs, and — while we appreciate your updates — almost none of those are actionable because the tipsters don’t provide us any physical/visual evidence. But kudos to one resourceful sleuth, who provided us with these fairly clear photos of a guy taking down Youngkin signs in Arlington last night.” [Arlington GOP, Twitter]

In Defense of Audrey’s Age Answer — “Apparently what happened is that the paper wanted candidates to fill out online questionnaires, and the computerized program didn’t allow respondents to skip the ‘age’ question. So Clement wrote in a younger figure as something of a protest in requiring candidates to answer a question she feels is inappropriate. From this, the Post tried to make a big deal. Turns out the Posties, as is often the case, missed the context. Clement wasn’t lying to them, as they contend. She was f*cking with them. A big difference.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Artist Performs on NPR — From National Public Radio: “The Tiny Desk is back… sort of. The first concert recorded at Bob Boilen’s desk since March 2020 is 2021 Tiny Desk Contest winner Neffy!” [Twitter]

It’s Thursday — Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 65, getting progressively cloudier throughout the day. Sunrise at 7:31 a.m. and sunset at 6:11 p.m. Tomorrow (Friday) will be rainy and windy, with storms and flooding possible. Expect a high near 63.

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Morning Notes

Rainy morning in Courthouse (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Candidate Questioned About Age — “Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who previously told news outlets that she is in her early 50s, appears to be two decades older, according to government records. When asked about the discrepancy, Clement, a perennial candidate who largely has self-funded her independent campaigns for local office, said that asking for her age amounted to discrimination and violated her right to privacy.” [Washington Post]

Road Closures for Biden Event — “On Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, President Joe Biden will attend a special event at Virginia Highlands Park, located at 1600 S. Hayes Street in Arlington. The event will take place from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The public can anticipate large crowds and increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area related to the event… All road closures are anticipated to be lifted by 10 p.m.” [ACPD]

DARPA Building Sold — “The home of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is under new ownership. An affiliate of Cleveland-based Boyd Watterson Asset Management has acquired the 13-story, 355,000-square-foot building at 675 N. Randolph St. in Ballston for $196.5 million, according to public records. An affiliate of the Shooshan Cos., which developed the building a decade ago, was the seller.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Name Change Celebration — “It’s now been 101 years, but that’s not going to stop the Arlington County government from celebrating the 100th anniversary of its current name. County officials expect to hold a celebration of the switch from ‘Alexandria County’ to ‘Arlington County’ on Friday, Nov. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lubber Run Community Center.” [Sun Gazette]

Marymount to Promote ‘Racial Healing’ — “In the latest example of Marymount University’s commitment to raising awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion issues, the institution has been selected by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to host a new Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center.” [Marymount University]

County Seeking Design Award Nominees — “Arlington County’s biennial design awards program, DESIGNArlington, is accepting submissions for great design in architectural, historic preservation, landscape and public art projects through December 6, 2021.” [Arlington County]

It’s Tuesday — It’s going to be a windy day. A slight chance of showers between 8am and noon today. Partly sunny, with a high near 65 and a northwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 18 to 23 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 37 mph into the evening hours. Sunrise at 7:29 a.m. and sunset at 6:14 p.m. Tomorrow it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 68 and more gusty winds.

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Morning Notes

Pentagon City Suspect Charged With Murder — “Taya Ashton, 20, was found shot to death at an apartment in the 2300 block of Brooks Drive in Suitland on Saturday night, Prince George’s County police said. A day after her slaying, Arlington County police arrested DeAllen Price, of District Heights, for running from officers and going on the Metro tracks at the Pentagon City station, police said… Metro Transit Police and a K9 officer searched the tracks and found a weapon they later linked to Ashton’s murder, police said.” [NBC 4]

Gunston Bubble Going Bye-Bye — “The iconic, yet temperamental, sports ‘bubble’ adjacent to Gunston Middle School will soon be replaced by a barn-like framed structure that will provide more reliability and accessibility, Arlington government officials said. County Board members have approved a contract worth up to $866,800 for installation of the new Clear Span frame-supported fabric structure, which had been purchased previously.” [Sun Gazette]

WeWork, WeLive No Longer Together — “WeWork has washed its hands of WeLive, the co-living brand it launched a half-decade ago with grand aspirations. WeWork handed over management of the two WeLive locations, in Northern Virginia’s Crystal City neighborhood and on Wall Street in Manhattan, to the owners of the buildings, JBG Smith and Rudin Management, a WeWork spokesperson confirmed to Bisnow Wednesday.” [Bisnow]

Cunningham Tapped as AHC’s Interim CEO — “The affordable-housing provider AHC Inc. has tapped Arlington civic leader [and former Arlington County Board candidate] Susan Cunningham as its interim CEO. Cunningham will bridge the gap left by the departure of long-term organization leader Walter Webdale.” [Sun Gazette]

Interview with APS DEI Chief — “We sat down with Arlington Public Schools Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Arron Gregory to talk about the importance of roles like his in schools… How is the school system’s success in these matters ultimately measured? ‘… if we’re unable to predict student success by identities, such as race, class, gender, socioeconomic status, then we’ve achieved educational equity, but if we’re able to predict those outcomes, then there’s work that still needs to happen.'” [WJLA]

Editorial Lauds Lee Highway Renaming — “The symbolism that attends the struggle for racial justice and recognition could hardly be better served than by paying tribute, as the newly named roadway does, to John M. Langston, a man who, in the words of his biographer, ‘was Obama before Obama.’ A century and a half before, as it happens.” [Washington Post]

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First SUV tire deflations by environmental activists, now newspaper thefts by omnivorous mammals.

The northern Arlington neighborhood of Rock Spring was the scene of the vulpine larceny over the weekend. As seen in video surveillance footage, a furtive fox dashes down the driveway, with a stolen Sunday edition of the Washington Post firmly secured in his or her snout.

The homeowner, Lynn Pollock, tells ARLnow that the pilfered paper was later found nearby.

“The fox took our paper to a neighbor’s yard behind our house on the other side of a stream and left it in their yard,” she said, noting that such wildlife thievery is new to her but apparently not uncommon in the area.

“We had a [fox] family with kits who grew up under our front porch for five years until we renovated last year. We never saw this activity then,” she said. “However, from responses to my [Nextdoor] post it is clear that newspapers, shoes, baseball mitts as well as dog toys are taken by foxes in the area quite often.”

On the social networking site, neighbors weighed in on the incident.

“The only piece of fox news I have enjoyed is this post,” quipped one local resident.

“Swiper, no swiping!” wrote another, referencing the sneaky antagonist on Dora the Explorer.

Jokes aside, another resident tried to provide a possible explanation for the behavior.

“In all seriousness, that newspaper has only one purpose for that fox and its kit(s),” the resident wrote, before word that the paper was found and recovered. “She will take it to the den and shred it, and it will make amazing, warm bedding material with great absorption, much like dried leaves. She’s done it before, and she knows what works. She was probably taught to do it by her mother. There’s a reason for the expression, ‘sly as a fox!'”

Video courtesy Lynn Pollock

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(Updated on 1/8/20) Long-time Washington Post reporter Patricia Sullivan, who covered Arlington, Alexandria, and much of Northern Virginia, has retired from the paper.

The retirement was effective as of January 1. Sullivan started with the newspaper in 2001 as the local technology editor. In 2012, she became the go-to reporter for everything related to D.C.’s closest Virginia suburbs.

She’s covered everything from why more than 2 million Northern Virginia residents lost 911 emergency service after a 2012 summer storm to Arlington’s success in housing military veterans to Amazon’s arrival in the region.

Sullivan would also occasionally be taken off the local beat by the Post to cover major national news events, like hurricane landfalls.

Prior to her time covering Northern Virginia at the Washington Post,  Sullivan wrote obituaries for the paper’s Metro section, was the local technology editor covering tech companies in the D.C.-area, and helped teach the newsroom new content management systems.

She began her career as an intern at the Milwaukee Journal. Since, she’s worked and reported at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Missoulian, San Jose Mercury News, and the Industry Standard. She was awarded a John S. Knight Fellowship in 1992.

In total, her career spanned more than four decades.

Sullivan’s replacement on the beat has not been named as of yet, according Washingtonian’s Andrew Beaujon, though the paper plans on filling the role.

Sullivan herself noted on social media this could take a few months, but current staff will fill-in in the meantime.

When reached via Twitter messenger, Sullivan declined an interview.

A memo regarding Patricia Sullivan’s retirement from Post Local editors was sent to the Washington Post newsroom staff. The full memo from the Post is below.

We are sad to announce that Patricia Sullivan is retiring after 19 years at The Post.

Pat started at The Post in September 2001 as the local technology editor in Business. She then worked in Metro, writing news obituaries on the biggest names of the day — pastors to potato chip purveyors, scientists and socialites. “Somewhat to my surprise, it’s incredibly interesting and wide-ranging,” Pat once said of the role. She went on to help train the newsroom in Methode before she returned to reporting for Metro, where she has been covering Arlington and Alexandria for the past eight years.

Pat’s deep well of sources and diligent reporting landed numerous scoops, including that Amazon had chosen Crystal City as a site for its much-coveted East Coast expansion. Her contributions strengthened and deepened The Post’s stories on Amazon’s development, and she wrote movingly and authoritatively about the potential effects of the deal on the surrounding neighborhoods. Pat wrote compelling pieces about life in two of the District’s most densely populated and liberal suburbs, including fights over a “spite house” in Del Ray and a gun shop in Arlington. She penned several memorable stories about the slave trade in Alexandria. She traveled to West Virginia, where she produced a poignant story about one community’s division over a new Rockwool plant, played a lead role in chronicling the historic passage of the ERA in Virginia and was a stalwart member of Team America’s hurricane and natural disaster response team.

Always a kind and unfailingly generous colleague, Pat happily pitched in on stories that needed a team effort, whether it involved Virginia politics or the daily ledealls on the novel coronavirus.

Pat began her journalism career as an intern at the Milwaukee Journal before moving on to roles at the Joliet Herald News, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the Missoulian, the San Jose Mercury News and the Industry Standard. She was a John S. Knight Fellow in 1992-1993, a longtime Journalism and Women Symposium leader and role model for female journalists. She also was a pioneer in developing a website for the Missoulian and one of the first email newsletters of tech news for the Mercury News.

We will miss her and we wish her well on her next adventure.

Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu, courtesy of The Washington Post.

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If there’s one thing Arlington does particularly well, from a culinary perspective, it’s barbecue.

Four Arlington restaurants have made it on to Washington Post critic Tim Carman’s new top 10 D.C. area barbecue joints list, placing Nos. 3, 4, 8 and 9.

The overrepresentation of Arlington restaurants on the list is a remarkable achievement, considering that local eateries often underperform on regional restaurant lists and awards.

The BBQ joints that made Carman’s 2020 list (below) include two that opened this year: Smokecraft and Ruthie’s.

  • Texas Jack’s (2761 Washington Blvd, Lyon Park) — “This Arlington restaurant has topped this list for the past two years, a difficult task given the vagaries of barbecue, and it might have retained the title if not for some tiny slippages.”
  • Smokecraft Modern Barbecue (1051 N. Highland Street, Clarendon) — “Darneille buys Duroc pork, Wagyu beef and all-natural chicken and cooks them over six different types of wood, constantly tinkering with techniques to get the best out of his gas-assist smokers. The results are often mouthwatering.”
  • Ruthie’s All-Day (3411 5th Street S., Arlington Heights) — “Formerly the culinary director for the Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group, including its smokehouse in Falls Church, Hill is blessed with an all-wood smoker at Ruthie’s… where he turns out superb specimens of brisket, pulled pork and spare ribs.”
  • Sloppy Mama’s (5731 Lee Highway & 4238 Wilson Blvd in Ballston Quarter mall) — “The shop’s chopped pork, rich and smoky, remains the gold standard. The housemade sausage, a pork link emboldened with brisket fat, snaps on first bite, its richness cut ever so gently with pickle brine.”
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