In the beginning of the winter of 2022 we sat down with Matt Hill, Owner/Chef and Todd Salvadore, Owner and General Manager of Ruthie’s All Day, one of Arlington’s favorite restaurants according to Arlington Magazine, Washington Magazine, OpenTable and more. In our short conversation we asked Matt and Todd about the story behind Ruthie’s and their secret to having a successful business despite the struggles of Covid, this is what they said:

What’s the story behind the name Ruthie’s and the southern fusion menu?

-Matt:  “Ruthie is my grandmother’s name, I grew up every Sunday eating her food, classic southern dishes: mac and cheese, deviled eggs…Me and my brother would race into the house to try get the crispy renderings every Sunday, she was the matriarch for our family. The southern roots (in the menu) are from the food that I grew up eating with Ruthie”

What is your signature dish and cocktail? What is your most popular item on the menu (food and drinks)?

-Matt: “I think brisket is what we are most known for, we take a lot of pride in it. We smoke it for 14 hours, it takes not only a lot of preparation and time but also a special craft, not everybody can do it, you can’t make that at home so it makes it more special that we can make it here for you”

– Matt & Todd:  “We try to gear our cocktails towards the food, they all have a savory component to it that pairs well with the food and whatnot. Our signature cocktail at the moment, it’s delicious! We try to balance out our cocktail menu which is very seasonally driven, like in the fall we always have a draft cocktail which is smooth and more structured because it melts better together. The draft cocktail is one of our signature drinks”.

Ruthie’s has received several awards and recognitions this year, you are on the list of the top 50 restaurants in NoVA by Northern Virginia Magazine, you are on the Washingtonian and Arlington Magazine New Restaurant Favorite, you got an Arlie Award, you were in Bloomberg and you were also on OpenTable’s 2021 nationwide list of “100 Best Neighborhood Gems” for outdoor dining, what’s your secret for success?

-Matt: “Just good hospitality and trying to treat everybody like they are our guests, like they are coming into our home” 

Todd: “Back to the whole family approach when you walk in the doors you are our guest”

-Matt: “Taking care of people one person at the time”

What would be a tip you give other restaurant owners that are wondering how to grow their business?

-Matt: “I just think everybody’s got to be nimble because things evolve so rapidly, you have to be able to change, you have to shift”

-Todd: “Be responsive to every guest’s needs, if people want to sit outside or take food to go you always say YES, you have to realize that every guest is precious and things might change. We try to be super flexible with our guests especially in these trying times that we are living in”

Visit Ruthie’s All Day
3411 5th St South, Arlington, Virginia 22204
Follow on social media: @ruthiesallday