Ballston is popping these days with some of my favorite restaurants. Since the new Sweetgreen location started dishing up salads, and Buzz promises to open thier doors soon, what I once considered a foodie dead spot (minus Willow) is now on my radar. Especially with the news that the Ballston location of Rustico has launched Sunday brunch, which they began serving on Jan. 2. Continue reading
The paper is still up at Rustico in Ballston when I arrive just a few minutes early for the evening’s events. The block of Wilson Boulevard is mostly in transition and Rustico sits in the center of the restaurant cocoons, looking like it will be first to arrive. Across the plaza is the next NRG project, the second location of Buzz Bakery, and next door to Rustico is an early-in-build-out Sweetgreen slated for the end of the year. Our guide for the evening opens up the side door, and a few workers follow her out, showing that this is still a restaurant in the final phases of being constructed.
The entryway floor is covered in paper to protect the surface from the boots and construction dust, and some of the interior work is in progress, including a beautiful beer bottle and mirror mosaic. A fireplace sits dormant on a night that would otherwise call for it. Shepherded past the construction and into the bar, beer sommelier par none Greg Engert is waiting for us, and hands me a small glass of a California Imperial IPA that has notes of just about every possible hop and floral. While Greg will continue his focus on Church Key, it’s impossible to separate the man from his first home, at Alexandria’s Rustico, and he’s been integrally involved in training the Arlington staff. Neighborhood Restaurant Group believes strongly that passionate people make the best employees, and have continued that trend forward in the new Rustico. Andy Carlson will be helming the bar for Rustico Ballston, which will feature 400 bottled beers, 40 taps and 3 cask-conditioned ales, making it a formidable presence in DC’s already expansive beer scene. Last night’s dinner was certainly a festival of great beer paired with great food that left me thinking that we’re in for a real treat.
Great news for those who love a good beer: a second Rustico is opening in the area soon, and this one will be Metro-accessible! DC Metrocentric reports that the restaurant is slated to open at the end of August in Ballston at 4075 Wilson Blvd near Ballston Common Mall. ARLnow reports that this Rustico will feature 400 bottled beers, 40 beers on tap, and two cask-conditioned ales, along with the great pizzas and hearty food that Rustico is known for. Now here’s hoping Rustico’s excellent Oktoberfest and Festivus celebrations will take advantage of this convenient new location.