I’m Not Embarassed To Admit It

IMG_5759, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I like Ruby Tuesday. Ok, I’m a little embarrassed to admit it. And I’m not saying I want blocks and blocks of chain restaurants but if I want to stuff my face with cheap tasty food and have a huge sundae for dessert I’m glad I have that option at Ruby Tuesday. Truth be known, I’d rather have an Olive Garden but I’ll take what I can get.

Believe me, I am super psyched to have real authentic ethnic restaurants, I’m just saying one little chain isn’t so bad (as long as its not a slippery slope). So be brave, admit it too, you kind of like Ruby Tuesday…

48 Comment

  • Sorry, I can’t do it. I just can’t claim to like it. I have nothing against chains, but Ruby Tuesday’s? I was given a gift certificate for Ruby Tuesday’s a few months ago, and my friend and I just took it to their bar, drank $50 worth, and moved on. But I suppose I’ll still try to respect you, POP.

  • Ruby tuesday’s is good for one thing.

    salad bar.

  • Their burgers are not bad.

    Good to see even the “royal” are humble enough to admit such dark secrets.. 🙂 Then again, you keep raving about Taco Bell and Dunkin Dos, so it does not come as a surprise.

    There is a bit of chain reaction coming to CH though: Starbucks, Caribou, Guiznos, possibly Mc Donalds & Maggie Moo.. but that IS ok with me (nothing like a good ol’ Big Mac meal sometimes), in particular as it appears to be balanced out by a few more unique offerings.

  • Haven’t eaten there in years…The only thing I remember is the honey butter that came with the biscuits…that was tasty, but that’s all I can give you PoP. I tried.

  • I’ll agree that it’s a precarious thing. These businesses roam in packs; they circle their prey and devour the soul of a neighborhood. but if we can apply some kind of psychic franchise tourniquet and stop the bleeding now, maybe everything will be OK…

    Since we’re talking personal preference here, I’ll take the Ruby Tuesday if I can have one decent Indian place. Or hell, even one INDECENT Indian place. But I’ve sung that song already, so I’ll let the orchestra fade into silence as the audience tears up their programmes in protest, mobbing the exits…

  • I was at a party a few months ago with my husband and people were asking us about Columbia Heights and what new restaurants we go to etc. My husband exclaimed how much he liked Ruby Tuesday’s. I was ashamed that I was embarrased but we WERE really excited about it coming to the neighborhood. We had been living here for years with only Rinconcito and Mangos. I think we’ve only been there twice but I think it fills a niche in the neighborhood.

  • why should it be so shameful to admit that you like a chain restaurant? liking a chain restaurant’s food does not mean that you can’t like ethnic /non-chain restaurant food. it’s not one or the other and i fear that sometimes the postings on this and other sites give the impression that if you like/frequent more corporate establishments then it means that you don’t support your community. that’s simply not true.

  • I second the referral for the salad bar. It’s far superior to the one in Giant, the only other salad bar in the neighborhood I’m aware of. It’s usually pretty crowded when I walk past there, and the patrons seem quite diverse, so the restaurant must be doing something right.

    Also, just a grammar pet peeve, it’s “Ruby Tuesday”, not “Ruby Tuesday’s” or “Ruby Tuesdays.” My wife made me point that out…

  • Anon, AMEN. 🙂

  • I thought Ruby Tuesday was a Chinese Restaurant?

  • I don’t mind it – my husband and I ate there once or twice when we just wanted a burger and a beer but didn’t want to walk all the way to Temperance Hall or deal with the often-poor service at The Heights. However, I really have a problem with the smell of the inside of that place. The first time, I remember thinking that it kind of smelled like “off” meat but wasn’t really too bothered. A few weeks ago, though, the smell was so strong – and was way more reminiscent of plain old trash – that we walked out because I couldn’t imagine eating somewhere that smelled so awful.

    Anyone else, or is that just me? I’ll readily admit that the scent of cooking meat often smells like rotting meat to me…even though I’m usually a happy meat-eater.

  • I said I was ashamed that I was embarassed. I think I was embarassed because the people we were talking to laughed when he said it. I guess they were fishing for the hipster eateries. I don’t generally like chains but I think they have a place in society.

  • Personally, I love Ruby Tuesday. Their salad bar is great.

  • salad bar is whats up

  • Anonymous, you should have slapped who ever laughed on the face for discusting snobism. 😉 They are the ones who should have been embarrassed.

  • Nasty nasty nasty. Frozen food heated up and served to you. Why pay restaurant prices for that nastiness.

    I get kinda sick to my stomach just thinking about that place.

  • Olive Garden? Are you serious? The only good thing there is the salad.

  • DCDirewolf, what!?!? Isn’t their slogan “Simple Fresh American Dining”… how can it be frozen? 😉 Most restaurants do use frozen goods, some more, some less.

    Btw, its borderline hilarious how their TV ads have this very sleek, light, modern feel, and when you enter one of their places its this.. hmm.. “nasty Americana” interior.. 😀

    And, still, I think their burgers (well, have not tried much else) are perfectly fine.

  • The salad bar rocks. I was impressed with the variety. Also, if you pay an extra buck you can get mini burgers and fries or quiche. Yum.

  • man. i hate ruby tuesday. now bennigans…

  • People, people… don’t discourage him from going to Ruby Tuesday if it’ll keep him away from Taco Bell and their canner grade meat. I’m not kidding about that, BTW PoP, Taco Bell is famous for using meat that is just a shade above offal.

  • oden, you won’t dissuade the PoP from running to the border.
    He loves his Bell too much. It’ll take a finger tip in his mexi-melt before he gives it up.

  • I love this post. It does have tasty food, and not at $15-burger-esque prices either.

    It’s just a down to earth kinda place.. if you go there, you’re not trying to be hip or whatever. In fact you probably know it’s not cool and just say “screw it.” I had my first legal beer in the US at an Applebee’s instead of some trendy bar / nightclub just for that very reason.

    I think taking a girl on a first date to a Ruby Tuesday would be a real good filter. Any pretentiousness at all would definitely come out when you let her know the dinner plans.

    I do think it’s important to important local restaurants though. Here is my hierarchy:

    Cool, tasty, cheapish local restaurants (ethic, family-run, etc) >>> tasty cheapish chain restaurants >>> snobby restaurants

  • Shawn-

    First dates at Ruby Tuesday? Hope you enjoy the single life!

    Just kidding. I took my current girl friend to the Raven on our first date so I’m probably not the best person to consult.

  • I have to say that I’m a long time fan of Ruby Tuesday as well. I feel like we’ve created a support group here. (My name is *Inaudible Nonsense* and I’m a Ruby Tuesday-aholic…)

    And the one in Columbia Heights is really well run. It’s got a great friendly staff and its always busy.

    I wish we had more Wheaton, Arlington, Rockville style quality cheap ethnic restaurants in DC. It sucks to have to go to Silver Spring to get Chinese or Thai takeout all the time. Or even quality local restaurants that don’t equate price with quality. But I’m not upset that we have Ruby Tuesday. I’d rather go there then a mediocre overpriced local restaurant.

  • But the food is bad! It’s not fresh, it’s not good quality, it tastes bad! I don’t like pretension either and a restaurant that charges 20-30 bucks a plate just because the decor is nice and the reviewers like eating there is bullshit too. But every place that charges even a dollar for food should make an effort to serve fresh, decent tasting food, decent quality food.

    Ruby Tuesdays makes a fortune off of serving you slop for ten bucks.

    This is my problem with DC in general, real estate is so expensive that the only people that can afford to open shop for the most part are chains that make a science out of cutting corners on quality in the name of profit, or local places that either have to charge a fortune to pay the rent/mortgage or cut corners on quality in the name of survival.


    Rant over.

  • I think it is interesting how Ruby Tuesday gets dozens of comments on PoP and poor old Chef Gillian (last week) got one! Take that!

  • I think its interesting too.

    I agree with DC Dire.

  • ewww! from wikipedia:

    In 2007, the restaurant will be moving out of the “bar-and-grill segment” with changes including “higher-quality menu items”, “fully upholstered chairs”, and “handcrafted beverages.”

    god how i long for a mdconalds instead!

  • “fully upholstered chairs”? What were they using before? Partially-upholstered chairs? A rotating bar stool with no seat?

    And I think the grammatically correct name is “Rubys Tuesday.” Kinda like “Quarters Pounder.”

  • i found a hair in the potato salad in the salad bar….i still gag when i think about it…(i just gagged)

  • Not to beat a dead horse, but I think this doesn’t really have much to do with the food as much as it has to do with the whole experience being pleasant — often much more pleasant than restaurant with better fare. Service counts for something when dining out. Hence Ruby Tuesday gets more smiles for microwaved cheese tenders, coagulated goo with chicken base, and meatlog sandwiches then what you see on faces of diners at local fine dining spots where service, to use a industry term, sucks. For one thing, cooks tend to have a pretty high opinions of themselves and their work — which is why it’s always best for everyone when they stay in the kitchen where they can only annoy the poor souls on the line who are at least getting paid.

    While cooking is a skill, it’s important to remember it’s a skill that anyone with basic reading ability and minimal common sense can learn. More chefs kill their businesses with crappy customer service reputations than bad food.

  • Although I disagree that anyone can attain a skill level without an innate gift, I have to agree that sometimes not seeing the chef’s personality is more appetizing even if you are eating a lower grade of food. When a chef’s personality (good or bad) competes with the food I think the focus is less on the company and more on the skill level. When you are eating only to fill a void in your stomach and not your mind, I think you are able to connect with your companions on a different level. But the human soul needs both I dare say. I miss the food at the restaurants where the chefs personality is a turn off to me. I think it’s their right to run their business as they see fit and I know even the meanest chefs can cook food with love and you can taste the love, but sometimes your mind tells you you’ve lost your appetite before you get fed.

  • Same ingredients and same technique will get you the same results. There is creativity in changing and modifying the two variables of ingredients and technique to come up with variations on a theme, and quality ingredients usually make any chef look good, but subtle variations to standard recipes is hardly a “gift” even if it does make for good results.

    There are only magical ingredients and magical recipes.

    Why do chefs hold close to recipes and techniques if it is all down to “a gift”? Because therein lies the (no so) secret of that oh-so magical skill of cooking. I’m not saying that makes chefs unimportant or anything, just not so important I’m going to put up with bad service.

  • Any good artist still needs good technique and good materials – part skill/training, part gift, part materials, and when all fall into their places = 200% magic.

  • heck, people will pay to have drinks in bars, not due to the skill of the bartender but only due to the atmosphere and customer service of the bar, so I think it’s a well-accepted fact that experience is more than half the quality of a place.

    Carry out and delivery is a different issue of course.

    Who here can name the restaurants they never went back to because someone was rude? I can name, maybe, 5 places.

  • Or more apropos to Ruby Tuesday I think there are plenty of places people go to eat because it’s low-stress, friendly[*], consistent, predictable, and fairly priced — food be damned. I’m not a huge Ruby Tuesday fan, but I do have an idea of what to expect there, and I probably won’t feel ripped-off or angry about the service when I’m done. On the flip side, when I hear horror stories about local places (i.e. not setting couples at empty four tops, arguing with customers, etc.) I’m not likely to ever spend my money with them.

    [*] In DC “friendly” is really out of the question, with the exception of a few places like El Limeno, so I use the term relatively here. “Friendly” in DC terms is not acting like a jackass — which seems to be a chore for some restaurant staff and management. So in Ruby Tuesday when the server grunts at you somewhat pleasantly and shows up occasionally, that’s really a touchdown in DC terms. Actually having a waiter that speaks to you like a human is like Xmas with white gravy.

  • You all can have your frozen burger patties and microwaved chain food. Chef Gillian, I’ve never had a bad meal, nor have I had any bad experience at your restaurant. Maybe it’s because I enjoy the company I’m with….hmmmm….you think?

  • I’ve lived in Petworth for 15 years. I remember when there was no Starbucks on this side of NW and no chain like RT’s. Just barber shops and store front churches. I used to drive to Dupont and Bethesda to get something to eat.

    We need to cherish our neighborhood places like Domku, Limeno, Torogros, and Col Kit. Sometimes the service isn’t great…sometimes I don’t agree with how they do things. But I know we need them. These folks are opening places where no one dared. Risking it all to fill a void. Moroni’s and the like need our support not our criticism. They don’t have table cloths, but they have guts.

    I was in CK one night when an angry drunk came in and demanded change for a dollar, he was punching wildly around the crowded dining room. The folks came out of the kitchen and tossed him out. The neighborhood has improved but…sheesh. It could be better. Businesses in the neighborhood help that happen. Ruby’s I’m afraid is a chain and not as concerned about the neighborhood as the folks that choose to live and work here.

    Just my two cents. I’m a realtor so I know how important it is for us to have folks like Domku and Moronis. We should be giving them our support, not supporting the chains.

  • Oden…why you gotta be all racists…you gotta problem with brown gravy? 🙂

    I agree with you on the whole “you get what you expect to get” from RT. Although it will be like pulling teeth with tweezers to get my sweety to go there (even for the salad bar). She can be somewhat of a food snob. I like the idea of a place with a good salad and cheap eats.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Point of the post is that they are not mutually exclusive.

  • Neighbor: white gravy on taters is good, bisquits is better, and on a chicken-fried steak the size of Toledo – the best. maybe i should open Oden’s Chicken-Fried Steak Emporium & Ice House, where i can be rude to everyone in person…

    “Only a rank degenerate would drive 1,500 miles across Texas without eating a chicken-fried steak.” —Larry McMurtry

  • Oden: You don’t have to tell me. I grew up with bisquits and gravy (white) and what we called “country fried steak” also good with the same gravy. I was just ribbin’ ya.

  • I can always tell when the Chef has left. I had the mini burgers at Matchbox not long ago and I could tell that the Chef wasn’t there anymore. So personality or not…it does influence the food…I think positively. But a monkey could be cooking at RT’s. And then a new monkey could be putting those pouches in a microwave tomorrow and Y’all would never know.

    If you want that kind of food you can live by the strip malls in Rockville. What makes DC great is all the cool little places we’ve got here. And what’s even cooler is when the folks from Rockville come down here because they’re sick of the chain options they’ve got.

  • I have one word for you guys…BEER. Rubys has MGD and Bud. You want real beer? I had a Belgian Wheat at Colorado friday night. And washed that down with a Pumpkin stout from Vermont.

  • I had a lovely dinner there one night.

  • Pingback: Prince Of Petworth » Blog Archive » In Defense of Ruby’s Salad Bar by Robyn

  • Options…I have lived many places, and worked in many restaurants. I’ve been to more than half the restaurants on washingtonian’s 100 best this year, and I still love going to a chain for some good food. Whether its local high end places or chains, people want variety. Also, I can tell you with certainty that the manager at the rubys in col heights is our neighbor, living just doors away. They support multiple local job and community outreach programs, as well as a student of the month program at a local school, so they def give back to the community, as many large companies do. In this economy many large chains are just as hard up if not more so than small places- failure in one location could mean bankrupting the whole chain!

    One last defense of RT, (keep in mind I am on my way to a nice dinner at proof after drinks at zola, so I can food snob with the snobbiest of you…) the food there is great. They use all fresh produce and meats and while not infused with anything or shaped like a canoe on a river or anything, its good and its cheap- which many people can use nowadays. And beer? They have beer from abita, dogfish head, flying dog, an organic beer, and many other options- at a fraction the price of most places! 3.99 for the 22 oz draft of the day?(I like sam adams day…). 5$ martinis? Count me in…

Comments are closed.