In Defense of Ruby’s Salad Bar by Robyn

We love Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar, originally uploaded by ldchurch.

Ed. Note: A long time ago I too admitted my love for Ruby Tuesday. I’m glad to have some company.

There is a Columbia Heights delicacy that’s located at the corner of 14th and Monroe. No it’s not a torta, huevos rancheros, or anything off the fresh fruit stand around that area. It’s “Mayonnaise Broccoli.” Or at least that’s what I call it. Its broccoli, soaked in mayonnaise, and mixed with shredded cheese and bacon. In other words, it’s amazing. Where can you find this – and other delicious offerings? At the Ruby Tuesday salad bar, the severely underrated and underappreciated food fare – that I can attest is rather tasty.

Yes I said it. I am a big fan of the Ruby Tuesday salad bar. I write about food and review restaurants for publications, check the DC food blogs on a daily basis, reference the Washington Post food critic by his first name (and I’ve never met Tom), and follow the DC restaurant scene as if it’s celebrity gossip. And still I’m not afraid to profess my love for the inexpensive, immediately gratifying, and tasty salad bar from Ruby Tuesday. I call all PoP readers to give it at least one try before you judge.

Why? Besides for having all of your necessary vegetables, Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar also has some creative additions. Not only does it feature the adored Mayonnaise Broccoli, there’s also slightly-goopy-but-very-edible Potato Salad and some pickled veggie concoction that isn’t bad. Secondly, it’s instant food. A very good plus for anyone who’s braved the Columbia Heights crowded lunch and dinner scene on the weekends. The service at Ruby Tuesday is always nice, efficient, never pushy, and doesn’t furrow their brow when I ask for a 6th refill on my diet coke. Personally I think good weekend brunch/lunch service is hard to find in the area.

And lastly – there are 65 things you can put on your salad. SIXTY FIVE. Paving the way for some incredible salad creativity. My favorite? Not exactly what the doctor ordered. Spinach salad with chickpeas, carrots, too much blue cheese, even more bacon, drowned in honey mustard dressing and topped with enough croutons to make a loaf of bread. And of course a separate plate for the Mayonnaise Broccoli.

So don’t knock it till you try it. Next time the there’s a wait at The Heights or Tonic, give Ruby a try. Who’s with me?

 

141 Comment

  • not with you. not with you at all.

  • ok im not gonna lie. Ill check out their salad bar for a salad TO GO. is that allowed? but like hell i would have brunch there or sit in for a meal of any kind. bleh. what kind of business do they do at that location anyway? the one in tenly town is ALWAYS empty. how do they even make rent?

  • Dude, RT’s rocks. For cheap good beer and surprisingly good wine, it’s a great choice in the hood. Try and find a bottle of Bogle shiraz any place in the district as cheap. And the bartenders are quite friendly and efficient…I go to RT’s once every other week at least. And I do love the salad bar as well…in these dire economic times, it is a great choice when on a tight budget.

  • Ugh, there’s nothing I hate more than mayo and industrial salad dressings. Truly disgusting.

  • I like Ruby Tuesdays from time to time. I don’t subscribe to the “all chains are evil and inherently bad” mantra though. I love me some Maggiano’s, Original Pancake House, Ihop, McDonalds (esp for fries and nuggets), Panera, Benihana, etc.

  • AMF- this is in no way a dig. but where are you from originally. I’ve noticed that people from suburban areas dont harbor the same phobias as life long city dwellers about these kinds of sit down chains because they grew up with them. I think a lot of dc’s new population isnt as turned off by them hence Rubys recent locations in dc. personally I dont support chains for a lot of reasons. top of the list being the homogenization factor. but i could overcome that if ruby convinced me their food was organic or local etc. Id rather pay double for my burger down the street at commonwealth for the peice of mind that it isnt grade D hormone and antibiotic drenched meat patties from mexico.

  • I will not pass blanket judgment on chain joints like RT, where you get about twice as much food as you want for about 50% more than you want to spend. They have their time and place – usually, that’s when everything else is closed or no longer serving food.

    But mayonnaise broccoli? Seriously? I’d rather be waterboarded. I am OK with mayonnaise in certain circumstances… like for dipping french fries on on a burger. In limited quantities. But any dish who’s primary ingredient is Mayonnaise should be banished to Kansas forever.

  • I’ll admit that RTs is a guilty pleasure. Sure it’s a chain and we all know chains are frowned upon by the urban set. But I have a hard time justifying the bar tab at most places in the neighborhood when I can get my drink on for a fraction of the price at RTs. The salad bar is surprisingly good and honestly the food isn’t awful. People are just haters.

  • foods food

  • “Id rather pay double for my burger down the street at commonwealth for the peice of mind that it isnt grade D hormone and antibiotic drenched meat patties from mexico.”

    how confident are you in that?

  • I don’t live in the area anymore, but that used to be at the end of my block, and I say word up! to the RTSB. My wife and I used to order a burger and tack on the salad bar for $2.59 or some ridiculously low add-on. They’d let us eat there and then take a giant to-go salad. Not bad eats for $12 for 2.

  • Honestly, I dont hate on Ruby Tuesdays (I actually used to work at one a long time ago). I just don’t go to them or similar restaurants when I am in DC (or in any city for that matter). I find there are simply too many options I could take advantage of while in high population areas. If I am out in the burbs or the country, Tuesdays aplenty. Inside city limits, give me something unique.

  • thank effing god the “urban set” frowns upon it. if everyone had anon 11:39s view just think of the culinary landscape dc would have. yikes. you can thank us when you pony up to the bar at oyamel and enjoy a delicious duck taco. or have the pizza at 2 amys. if it wasnt for us your options would be chichis, bennigans, pizza hut, and chilis. ok now i am making myself queeeeezy. i know the good shit isnt budget friendly but Ill save my money for the good stuff and eat in the rest of the time. Id rather make my own salad for 4 bucks than venture into rubys.

  • eric- that Jamie uses farm raised grass fed local meat in her burgers? pretty confident. that rubys uses some nasty bargain bin meat from a national food purveyor? not really. its just my guess.

  • When you live in the city you won’t mind going to RTs. The food is cheap and you CAN’T beat their salad bar. I love indies but their prices are usually way off and I like keeping what I earn. Try buying a salad with your burger at The Heights. It’s expensive and you don’t get much.

  • Nobody is making their own salad with 35 toppings for 4 bucks. And I think everyone would agree that RTs is not the end all of great cuisine – but it does get a bad rap for what it is. I do appreciate that I can get the duck taco and that’s why I love living here but some days I’m not feeling the duck taco and what something a little more low-brow.

  • um… what is the point of this posting. ruby tuesdays? really… come on… this blog has become increasingly banal. but then again… so has columbia heights

  • some people just arent foodies and if they like to eat out for eating outs sake and dont care about the food as much then let them eat rubys. but if they think the food is the same quality for half the price because there is no tabel cloth?. they are kidding themselves. there is a reason its cheap. its nasty. make no bones about it. they arent giving you a deal because they like you. their profit margins probably arent tooo much different than some fancy places. think about the fact that they have to pay ridiculouse franchise dues. the fact that they are selling you a burger for 4 dollars means they paid a dime for a dozen of them. bon appetit. ill take a walk to whole foods and fire up the grill.

  • I will say this. eff rubys. but i will also say this. why no olive garden in DC? there is a guilty pleasure I can get behind

  • Nothing wrong with RT, or at least their burgers. Have not tried the salad bar. The best thing to have is a mixture of choises for anyone individually and for the community as a whole. So far CH metro surroundings seem to be evolving in exactly that direction. I for one am thrilled by the variety we now have, in particular when remembering the hole that used to be there.

  • my name is sheree and i am the district manage for ruby tuesday in the greater dc metro area and i would like to assure you that our burgers are made with very special dead cow. meat for ruby tuesday burgers comes from free-range cattle in the pastures of mexican farmland. our cattle are fed only the finest organic vegetables, well-educated in the arts and sciences, and encouraged to take advantage of ameneties ranging from swimming pools to tennis courts.

    and the brocolli has healing and restorative qualities that have been clinically proven to cure cancer and enhance libido.

    watch out, anonymous, don’t get cut. repesent ruby tuesday! RT09!!

  • I’m so with you. I am also an avid foodie but I love Ruby Tuesdays. Their Bison Burger is wicked good, actually. And the salad bar…oh the salad bar! DON’T HATE Y’ALL.

  • All I am saying that they have $4 sangria. Just a little something to help the mayo go down.

  • POP = privileged of petworth. white wine etc…. i’m done.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Petworthy, you’ve been gripping about this for months now. Point taken. Now a wise man once said “if you don’t want it you don’t have to have it”. Perhaps it’s time we parted ways. I’m sorry to communicate this in such a public forum. But I don’t think it’s working out between us anymore. Best of luck to you.

  • Look at all this RT love!! Who knew!

    And why isn’t there an Olive Garden?? Last time I went there I stole a couple of their tasty (and unlimited) breadsticks and stashed them in my purse.

  • Great sliders, and free refills on some of their specialty non-alcoholic drinks…who could ask for more?

    Anyone else notice that all the pro-RT folks are named Anonymous?

  • There always seems to be a gulf between what the “enlightened” newcomers deem worthy in a ‘hood, and what folks who may have been around for more than a minute want and/or like… (This has also happened in places like Vermont, where lots of native Vermonters were thrilled to get a Wal-Mart in Rutland, but the flatlanders were appalled) I like said salad bar as well.

  • No they are not! But yeah, I did notice quite a few are feeling shy about proclaiming their love for RT. :)

  • this is why natives hate transplants. cause you are all bringing the suburban strip mall crap right into the city in your wake. welcome target bestbuy and rubies. ah columbia heights. we have arrived.

  • dear prince, i was actually referring to the blog and some of the response. not you… but now i guess that is actually one in the same. next stop chili’s. ( and i won’t have to read the douche-y term words ‘DOPE SKY’ ever again). au revoir… it used to be fun… http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-tr-washington11-2009jan11

  • I am a food snob. But my husband dragged me to RT. And it is great. The service is the best in all of CH. The food is good and cheap. What more do you want? When we don’t have the money for Commonwealth or The Heights, we do RT and love it. And it is so fast!

  • RT is a great place to take my small child. Lots of finger-food choices on the salad bar. Also, I consider myself to be somewhat of a burger connaisseur (connaisseuse?) and RT’s burgers are pretty fine.

  • crazy. i never see anyone in there when I pass it but it sounds like it gets some business. the few times i did see people in there i assumed they were from out of town and then wondered what hotel they were staying in.

  • The “loaded baked potato & salad bar” is, or at least used to be, a good deal.

  • PoP: there’s so many obviously and deeply unhappy, and possibly violent, folks on this blog that you should consider telling shrinks it’d be a great place for advertising. Just a thought…

  • To bring it back to the original conversation: RT does have a pretty great salad bar. Compare it to the shit-shows at some of the saladbar/buffets downtown, and its no contest.

  • oh man, the Olive Garden fans have arrived

  • also might want to approach this sheree character and ask her if she wants to advertize seeing as how there is so much love on here for the salad bar.

  • Eateries that serve unhealthy food at low prices do a disservice to the community. They pray on the working poor and take their money while slowly killing them. It’s a shame really.

  • I am person that grew up in a large city in a very distinctive neighborhood that was ruled by local businesses and you knew your neighbors. I moved to Columbia Heights 8 years ago when it was the supposed “hole.” But to me, it was my home and reminded me a lot of the neighborhood I grew up in. I never lived on a col-DE-sac and never had a multi-car garage. But the new Columbia Heights makes feel like I might as well have. I never wanted to live in Reston but here I am. I won’t begrudge people their love for heat-oven timed frozen meat patties and preserved lettuce or even their desire for over indulging at a buffet with a good deal. But I will take umbrage to the fact that the defenders of RT and the like have a clue of what real city living USED to be and that we may NEVER have it again. I mourn that loss that you all make so evident with your inane comments. I will be sure to talk about this loss with my therapist.

    PEACE! (for I am not violent)

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Why can’t we have both. El Reconcito on 11th Street is a perfect example of a local restaurant. Is it crazy to have options? I don’t think anyone is advocating for exclusively chain restaurants. I don’t see anything wrong with a mix.

    http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2009/01/judging-restaurants-el-reconcito-deportivo/

  • I have been hiding the fact I am in love with Ruby Tuesdays turkey burger/salad bar combo for quite sometime…

  • Sheesh — if you don’t like RT, don’t eat there. Simple as that.

  • I absolutely agree with PoP right there. Nothing at all wrong with a mix. It’s not like RT is shoving anybody out…

    Man, how I yearn for the old days, when there was a big gaping hole in the ground (with one semi wall!) at 14th and Irving, burned down and dilapidated storefront/rowhouses up 14th, the very few small businesses that were making far less coin, and all the crack cocaine one could smoke! Boy, were those the days. So sad to see them leave.

    Just remember, I liked it before it was cool.

  • Like PoP said, if you don’t like the suburban style commerce on 14th, why not walk over to 11th? As far as I know, there is not a single chain among the dozen or so stores there.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Additionally, there are dozens of locally owned restaurants up and down 14th Street, far too many to name. Though certainly Taqueria D.F. comes to mind…

  • Announcing: Grand Opening of Ruby Tuesday on 11th Street

    no natives allowed (all they do is complain)

  • I know this is off-topic, but the post by springroadintoaction at 1:16 made me curious about something. I moved to Columbia Heights during the construction boom — a few of the new buildings had opened, most were still under construction. This was spring ’06. At the time, the neighborhood was far different than it is now but there was a ton going on already.

    My question, for the older-timers than me, is what was Columbia Heights really like a few years before that? Would it be comparable to what Georgia Avenue around the Petworth metro is like now? Is there another neighborhood that would be a more apt comparison?

    My secret motive for this question is trying to project out how close the development of Petworth might follow the development of Columbia Heights in the years to come — both for bette and for worse.

  • Unfortunately, the big chain stores, have more money, more influence and obviously more fans then the small businesses. The reason many of the lots had lay fallow for so long was because of legal wranglings of the big chains and developers. They didn’t care much about the poor people who lived here and the condition they were keeping the neighborhood. Also, I never said I frequented those stores and keep myself as far a way from them as possible. But now, a concentration of people, like yourselves, is building and it is becoming increasingly harder to ignore. This blog is evident of that.

    springroadintoaction: I found your crack cocaine comment puerile at best and racist at worst.

    I am glad you all enjoy your pristine and obvious neighborhood that you will use for some sort of cool cred until you decide to have babies. I am sure it reminds you of the mcMansion strewn, white suburban hamlets of your youth.

  • a better idea than “no natives allowed” would be for all the transplants who want to wax nostalgic about their pathetic chain eateries hop in their cars and go to rockville to get their fix. that or just wait til you go home for thanksgiving and get your fill then. Sheree is joking i know but lol if you think a chain wont rear its head on 11th sooner or later. enjoy its charm while it lasts. and no it doesnt ruin my day that columbia heights would be better named “little manassass town” I just dont patronize these places. but ill poke fun at it and the transplants who think they are city livin as they walk to target in ther pajama pants if i want.

  • Count me in as another fan of the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday. It’s great for salad to go, they give you a large container you can pack to the gills, and the ingredients are far nicer than the salad bar at Giant.

  • this trend is going nowhere. the rebirth of the citys has more and more people who didnt grow up in an urban setting decending on our citys in such great numbers that they dont need to adapt to our ways. chains like these make inroads to cater to their suburban mindsets in the city setting. Go to manhattan its no different. ever talked to a new yorker who is happy with the direction things are going there? we may not have an olive garden but they do! as well as every other chain. so its not just dc. generic white subruban yuppie america has discovered city living. and changing it to suit their needs. but im not hating. i accept it. just saying its true and the people that get the most offended that we natives point this out are of course the very people that know they are to blame

  • I am with you! I know, sounds bad to really enjoy the salad bar at a chain like Ruby Tuesdays….but it really is decent! And I would say good. The vegetables always seem fresh and have never been soggy or old looking anytime I’ve gone. I agree, don’t slam it until you’ve tried it!

  • @Davey: The answer to your question is very simple. None of the people bitching and moaning about how awful Target, RT, and Best Buy are would have lived here five years ago, so they don’t know. Hell, I wouldn’t have lived here five years ago. But a two of my best friends have lived near 11th and Park for over 8 years and we’ve had this discussion many times. They lived through the development of the Petworth/GA Ave metro, which involved digging a tunnel under their house. It comes down to this:

    1) Walk, anywhere? Are you nuts?
    2) House break-ins: 3 House break-in attempts: many
    3) Car break-ins: too many to count
    4) Options for night-life, eating out: Huh??

    Anyone who prefers CoHi before the chains moved in is an idiot.

  • observing this thread. i smell a rat. perhaps sheree? if THIS MANY people loved the salad bar that much the place would have a line out the door…… not saying a lot arent real. but i have never seen more than 3 people in the place and from reading this blog you would think it was the most popular joint in the hood.

  • Oh boy.. anyway, just to note that as far as I could tell (hard to tell actually.. is there a suburban smell on some people or something? ;) ) many of the RT customers are “natives” of DC and, gasp, even of CH/Petworth.

  • I like the RT, although I’m glad it’s not in my neighborhood. I’ve only been once, and like PoP said, the mix in the neighborhood seems fine. However, I’ve never been to DCUSA or whatever all of that is called. I love Target and all, but I somehow can’t bring myself to go to that one. I’m sure it’s no different than any other one, but I have some weird hang up about it. Of course, I also still shop at the (formerly Un-)Safeway rather than the brand spankin’ new Harris Teeter, but that could be because I’m old, crotchety and set in my ways. Now, if you’ll excuse me there are some kids on my lawn that I need to yell at.

  • jamie- yr the idiot. first off there are more than two options. there isnt just A-no development and B- potomac mills in the city. god forbid anyone living here would have wanted columbia heights to evolve a little more organically like other neighborhoods. u street and adams morgan or logan circle etc. also plenty of people lived in the hood besides your 2 buddies. I did not. but I am a life long resident who grew up not far from columbia heights who had friends I visited often in columbia heights. and I can say the people excited to have target and marshalls and the vitamine shoppe are newbies who want their houses to appreciate. I have benifeted from all the development myself but I am glad as hell I am a good 10 blocks from that strip. it make my eyes hurt.

  • My husband used to live on Monroe between 14th and 16th back in the late 1980s. He tells me of times when he’d watch cops chase people down the street on foot, when he would go out of his way to NOT shop in the now-gone Scary Giant (that was on 14th), how he’d listen to gunfire from his room at night, how he had a homeless man living in his stairwell on winter, and that delivery people wouldn’t go any farther east than 14th street. Yeah, I admit, I’m NOT a fan of the big chain stores or restaurants, but it’s nice to have the variety we do have, rather than a Tysons Corner or Bethesda flavor (no offense to those who like those places! just too new and upscale for poor little me). There’s no way to stop progress – unless you’re willing to get on neighborhood committees, attend ANC meetings, and be truly active in the situation….and even then you may not “win.” So be a customer of those places you love, want, and like, and avoid the other things – it’s all your own choice you know…no one is dragging you in the doors.

  • It is one thing for a neighborhood to slowly and steadily improve it is quite another for a neighborhood to be plowed over by huge corporations with little regard to the local impact they might have on that neighborhood. Investment in local businesses and the people that live there would have been better money spent in my opinion. I would love to see trees planted in the median on Sherman Ave. for example. There is an arrogance in this country that those who can afford it should have whatever they want. And those who can not should get out of the way.

    If the DC USA people had just given in to the local community’s requests 10 years ago when they bought the property as opposed to letting it sit for 8 while they fought them in court, who knows what the neighborhood would have looked like. OR, better yet, if they had not decided to build a huge box there and instead invested in something smaller, who knows?? But alas, now we have what every strip mall in the country has, congratulations.

    Call me an idiot. Name calling is such a weak and small way to argue. But I have been here for 9 years and I miss it. I have never had a problem here. Maybe, because I minded my own business and didn’t constantly judge and fear my neighbors. Fearing the poor is just another citation of your background.

  • @Anonymous:

    How’d your “organic” development work out for Columbia Heights until DCUSA was built? Maybe you forgot, but in the 60 years since 14th street burned down, it’s has been a crime-ridden shithole and nothing has developed. Adams Morgan was never burned to the ground. Logan Circle was never burned to the ground. There is no comparison.

    I’m not saying that what they did is the best or only possible answer but it’s sure a hell of a lot better than the ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that was going on before. Oh, other than near-daily homicides at 14th and Park as of five years ago.

    I have yet to talk to a single old-school cohi resident who isn’t thrilled about that development. Not one of my neighbors, be they 2 year or 50 year residents, could be happier.

  • Agreeing with Jamie here (and vehemently disagreeing with Anon204). I myself appreciate the ability to buy things and eat things near my neighborhood. And to do it relatively safely.

    “I found your crack cocaine comment puerile at best and racist at worst. ”
    I personally find my crack cocaine comment satiric at best and accurate at worst. Claiming there are/were no open-air drug markets in CH is like exclaiming that there’s no way your kid will drink before they’re 21. Example: I actually saw a crack deal just this weekend from my porch. Or, I guess it could be anything that comes in pubble-sized beige color form.

  • @NotABystander: My bad. I retract the term “idiot” and will rewrite the sentence.

    “Anyone who prefers CoHi before the chains moved in is an idiotobviously has never been to CoHi before the chains moved in

  • jamie- you arent worth arguing with if you think columbia heights has been ashes for the past 60 years and that the only thing that could have saved it is big box retail. you just dont know what you are talking about.

  • @Anon, I have lived within 3/4 mile if 11th and Park since 1992.

    I never said big box retail is the only thing that could have saved it, in fact, I agreed that there were other possible solutions. Nor did I say it’s been in ashes. What I said was this:

    It is way better now.

    You don’t have to agree with me, and clearly you won’t be convinced. However, the thousands of my friends and neighbors who shop, eat, drink, and work in Columbia Heights where none of that was possible five years ago, also generally disagree with you.

    I just don’t understand the hate for commerce where once there was none. You don’t have to shop at Target if you don’t want. The 5 and dime in Mt. Pleasant — that marvel of organic commercial development, which is essentially the same as it was 20 years ago, except the awesome Little Giant closed — will still sell you a crappy Chinese made spatula for $1.49.

  • Everybody would probably prefer organic, locally driven mom-and-pop development. It did not happen and I suspect would not have happened no matter how long we waited in an area that was big empty hole.

    Urban development needs density around metro stops and accessible retail. It did happen. Its not ALL good, and its, IMHO, not ALL bad (heck, I cannot believe how damn convenient it is to have some of that evil big box retail in the city, not to mention close to where we live).

    Organic development IS now happening up on 14th St. Critical mass seems to have helped at least somewhat.

    But then again, I am an idiot – my wife would probably confirm that many times.

  • well i actually live in Mount Pleasant and that strip would have grown organically had it not been for a certain local asshole that lives there. actually she lives in cleveland park from what ive read on the listserve recently. but thats a whole nother story. and yes i am totally stoked that i live in mtp and not columbia heights. and id rather have mtp blossom at a slugs pace than have a block razed to make way for a walmart.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    The block was razed?

  • Noboby is probably talking about razing a block in Mt P. There was no block to raze in CH (unless you count that old empty, delabititated stip mallish low rise as a block). And there was a metro already there. Building low rises on top a metro stop would have been insane and extremely bad urban planning.

  • If you think that, just because a place has white tablecloths and high prices, the prep staff is washing their hands, you need to spend more time on the Health Department closure website. Higher prices does not equal healthier/cleaner food.

    Enjoy your violent explosive diarrhea, ladies.

  • As many of you know, I have lived here since 1958. After white flight, I’ll be dang if neighborhoods like CH (among other ‘hoods East of the Park) you could find a sit down restaurant of any stripe… Please keep in mind that we live in a city in which politicians slobber all over themselves when…..shazam!… a grocery store finally makes its way into “underserved ” neighborhoods. I am not a total fan of these chains, but this “economic downturn” (aka depression) we are currently experiencing might, just might-slow the upscale transformation of your ‘hood just a taste.

  • PS. When anonymous (I know, which one, right?) refers to “our ways”, what does he/she mean?

    -Unabashed loyalty to the Redskins?
    -Car washing at Haines Point?
    -Double parking within site of a parking space?

    Just wondering…..

  • Wow, I can’t believe I just read this whole thread. How do you go from praising a salad bar to The Great Gentrification Debate?

    Point is, no other restaurant (meaning not the buffet places downtown) in the District has a salad bar. If you like salad bars, RT is great. I love Nora and Cashion’s, but alas no salad bar.

  • I’m so tired of hearing people bitch and moan about the development in Columbia Heights. If you people want to keep it “real” then head on over to Anacostia. I hear they still have vacant storefronts over there. Your “street cred” isn’t tarnished because you live in a neighborhood that has a Target. God, I’m so glad that some people only have to worry about “keep’n it real” and how “slum’n it” makes them cool and authentic. Shut the f*ck up already and enjoy some salad at RT. I love it and so do a lot of long time residents.

  • wow. just. wow.

  • Your a pickle and I am 2, you just made my day.

  • ugh… I’ll leave RT’s to you and go to five guys or Pete’s Pizza instead. I heart broccoli, but the mayo drenched dream you describe sounds like a nightmare to me. I Had a bad experience in a Ruby Tuesdays salad bar in Chinatown, DC once: cockroach in the salad dressing. After that, couldn’t stomach the idea of Ruby tuiesdays at all.

  • nobody is talking about street cred or keeping it ghetto. were talking about chains and big box stores. and if you really think the city hadnt brokered this deal to bring this crap retail into town that columbia heights would have remained frozen in time with those empty lots just laying there in the housing boom yr fools. there could have been simple condos with ground floor retail. and probably would have been. but again. people keep twisting my points and I take the CH metro home daily and I dont think about these things or let it get me down. but yeah when the topic comes up ill state my view and you all can eat it.

  • Is it the salad that oppresses people, or the salad bar?

  • your a pickle and i am 2 just made me think the readership on this blog is just too stupid to have any kind of meaningful debate with, beyond:”omg salad bar with bacon make tummy go thanky. ruby tuesday neat lol omg”. guess we have to keep things bland and topical for all the bland ass mofos moving here or they will get angry for having to think.

  • I frigg’n LOVE the big box stores and I know that makes some of you just boil. I love being able to by cheaply made products to adorn my home. I love being able to buy everything I need under one roof. THANK GOD the city did this to us. DCUSA has provided jobs to residents who lack a formal secondary education. And these jobs are very important to these people. If you don’t think so then you’re an idiot. Not everyone wants to buy a $200 pair of skinny jeans and vintage looking vans/converse. Or expensive clothing that looks like authentic vintage from a bygone era (the 80s). Target is great and I’m going to celebrate everytime I visit this neighborhood by eating at RT’s.

  • Whether one calls it the Brooklyn of DC or Adam’s Morgan’s armpit (I’ve heard both), I love the mix of Columbia Heights. Just take a walk around the community to see it (the Prince himself clocks in over 30 miles in a weekend). The other day enroute to the metro, I waved hello to the questionably-homeless and questionably-sober woman who’s deemed herself queen of our block, and who occasionally passes out on our porch but makes sure our packages don’t get stolen. Turn the corner past the man selling incense and other trinkets if it’s not too cold and you see a concrete commercial paradise, holding pretty much anything and everything that you could buy, eat, or jog on. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it’s bringing in original, single establishments, making the streets a little safer, and it floods the sidewalks with content people who just may happen to be carrying a red-circled bag. I was here a few years back when a friend of mine got mugged a block from me (who subsequently moved). I don’t hear about that now. That’s why I’m shameless about eating Mayonnaise Broccoli (besides for the fact that it’s good).

  • Salad is good for people.

  • saf

    “It’s not like RT is shoving anybody out…”

    Believe me, that IS what eventually happens.

  • Just to take it back to the RT salad bar for a moment…

    Robyn, thanks for the review. I have heard from quite a few friends that the salad bar is affordable and plentiful, so I will definitely make the time to head there soon, especially if the price is as good as you all say.

    There are a lot of generalizations being made on this board, and that’s fine, whatever. As a late-20-something guy who works in public service with no parental support (thank god!), I don’t have the luxury of being able to frequent all the independent food stores and restaurants regularly because they are TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE for anyone on a typical salary. In fact, when my girlfriend and I decide to have a meal out, we typically go to Haydee’s over on Irving and Mt Pleasent (which, btw, is fantastic and affordable with great margaritas.)

    From my perspective, it seems that my generation, especially those who end up here in DC might have gone to great schools, come from great and safe neighborhoods, but have absolutely no concept of what it is to actually live without relying on Mom and Dad’s platinum card or their “allowance.”

    All I ask is that my fellow CH/Petworthians just stop and take a breath. One chain restaurant with affordable options is not going to destroy your neighborhood. I promise. And compared to most other areas in DC (save H St NE), you will still get whatever cool points or hipster validation you are looking for from your friends in DuPont, GTown, or across the river.

  • wait, anonymous gets to call us iditos and bland ass mofos and i can’t post about some serious ruby tuesday business without getting deleted?!

    i am the district manager of ruby tuesday! my father designed the original ruby tuesday (which was in mount pleasant, before the great blizzard of 1955) – and our mayonaise brocilli is the time-honored bomb!!

    back before it was even called columbia heights, in the 1800s, it was ruby heights! and folks would come from miles away on foot for some of our world famous mayonaisse brocilli. of course back then it was made with flax seed oil.

  • someone has tooooo much time on their hands. good news for you POP. with all the layoffs going on there seem to be a lot more people sitting at home on their ass trying to be the next lame ass monkyrotica dude….

  • I have no problem with the Ruby Tuesday but I have wondered about the Vitamin Shoppe. It seems to me like such a niche store would have a hard time paying the rent of such a prime locale. Do any of you shop there?

  • Well, SAF, at least so far most of the sit down restaurants in the area (actually cannot think of any other one) are not chains and new independently/locallly owned places have been popping up so at least for the time being we are safe from the chain restaurant hell that is so dangerously looming. I actually saw a local long term resident in one of those new locallly owned places – I wonder what the heck he was thinking!

  • It just cracks me up that all these folks are bemoaning chain stores and restaurants, and boo-hooing over the poor mom and pop establishments that could have been.

    It’s clear all the complainers have NO IDEA how hard it is to have a profitable independent business. You claim you’re worried about Ruby Tuesday’s pushing out the small businessmen, but I’m tolerably sure that my parents would have preferred to make $18/hour each (with health insurance and a 401k) managing a Ruby Tuesday’s for 40 hours a week, to the reality of busting their humps 70 hours a week and usually (not always) breaking even on their beloved little shop.

    No, really, you’re just worried about yourselves and your own bragging rights. It’s not cool to patronize the same kinds of restaurants that ordinary, midwestern white folk might like. Much cooler to go someplace where you have to know the proprietor to be sure that you’re not getting dog intestine pho. Much cooler to regale your dining companions with tales of the tamales you had while trekking through Oaxaca that are just like these ones.

    So sure, complain away about the end of the era of one-occupied-storefront-out-of-four, as long as that one business was locally owned. But PLEASE don’t say that you’re on the side of the small businessman. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I still don’t understand how the argument has gotten so zero sum game. Either it’s completely one way or completely another way. Like I said before I think there can be a nice mix. And I’m hopeful that the nice mix is sustainable.

  • WDC. not sure i saw any posts here claiming to champion the small business man. from what i read they are just bemoaning chains for killing character and pointing out they arent needed in an urban environment. oh and also that they suck. which they do. Not sure what it has to do with being cool either. could it be you are just erecting a straw man to lash out at previous debates you have had on the matter with people who are cooler than you. lets stay on point here.

  • I really like how everything has developed in Columbia Heights. There’s a lot of local places and national retailers. I love them all. Geez, is Whole Foods local? I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that Columbia Heights residents were screaming for one. I get it, it’s ok for a national retailer to locate here if it provides organic salmon raised in a remote Inuit village in Alaska… but not Target which sells things that everybody wants.

  • because what everybody wants, isn’t cool.

  • for the record I am much happier to have ellwood thompson locating here than whole foods.

  • I’m late to the debate. Who’s up and who’s down? Are we hating on whitey? Or are we hating on the brothers? I just want to know where to jump in. I love Ruby Tuesday’s by the way. The place is always dead when I go there, so I wonder how they pay rent too, but I like it. That prime burger or whatever. I get it rare then have them cook it a scosh more, put it in a blender and then I use it as a dressing for my gigantic salad from the bar. How do you spell I like that — I L I K E T H A T.

  • Sorry Anon at 408 can’t follow along.

    If you want “character” and claim that chains kill it, you must have an alternative to chains in mind. What is that alternative? Independent businesses. Did you catch the leap there? You’re blaming the chains for destroying something which doesn’t really exist: the will of local people to sink everything they have into a small business which has a 60% chance of failing in its first year. Those businesses weren’t here before the chains, so why should they be here now? Because you are? Because you want the unique factor?

    I’m thrilled that there are a few mom and pop shops that are making a go of it. Several have been mentioned: Taqueria DF, for example. (As an aside, I wonder if their revenues have increased or decreased since the foot traffic on 14th street skyrocketed?)

    I maintain that it’s a hard way to make a living, and that none of the hipsters here have the spine for it. If they disagree, they can put up or shut up. Looking forward to the wave of independent bookstores, artisanal bakeries, and organic-puppy emporia we have coming our way!

  • I guess I don’t understand how Ruby Tuesdays is any different than any other option. Are there other places for a salad bar on that strip? Seems from the responses above, there are not, so is it not filling a void just like any other place? And where is the line? Like, is Lebanese Taverna bad too because it’s also a chain, even though it’s local? (in concept, I don’t want to get into a discussion about their food, which is in my opinion, fine, but not the point here) Is Clyde’s better or worse than Fridays? Is an ever revolving swirl of nonchain establishments rotating in and out of that spot because they’re poorly run/not serving the tastes of the community/priced out better? I guess I just don’t understand where the lines are of good and bad, and what deems a place bad and another good. Sure, in an ideal world, there’d be nothing but mom and pop toy stores like Groovyland, Frager’s type hardware stores (to use examples from my neighborhood) and locally owned/grown/sourced restaurants at reasonable prices for all, that also runs a soup kitchen on weekends with all the leftovers so that people of all income levels can enjoy the goods, but that seems a little unrealistic. Instead Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins exists happily alongside an independent kitchen store, and RadioShack is down the street from the bike shop.

  • for the record I agree the mix isnt bad. I also am not anti gentrification. or i wouldnt read this blog as it is clearly very pro gentrification. I like reading about new places like shwarma this and shwarma that. But some people on here are so damn insecure about their origins and their lifestyles that to suggest there is a better model for urban growth or that chain stores and big box shiiit may not be the best way to go. well hell look at the all the pouting in these comments. im not trying to knock the brocili mayo out of your hand. just saying think about the bigger picture next time you are on your way to that depressing as hell. and fugly as hell. sorry excuse for a mall called DCUSA.

  • People on here are kinda radical about their love or hate or Ruby’s for rather strange ideological reasons. I simply don’t like the restuarant. I think they all kinda smell the same, have very mediocre food and are boring resturants. I can deal with olive garden or tgif or chillis. I like the advent of the Target, etc, the Bets Buy and the gym in Columbia Hieghts. But I can’t deal with Ruby Tuesdays. It represents the same gross boring food it always has, and I’m annoyed when people I love want to go there.

  • WDC again with the hipster hate. first off I am not one. second off. the one time i did go into target. which was just when checkin out the mall. It was filled with hipsters so im not sure why you glean that i am a hipster for not liking big box crap. and finally dont you commenters know that everytime you get all huffy about hipsters and calling them hiptards and what not you are just exposing your insecuritys about not being cool yourselves? i mean is there really any other reason to hate a hipster aside from them being cooler than you? unless they go around physically harming you. but I am not aware of such a trend.

  • BeJeZzuZ…100 post about Rubys….

    I like the place a little. Its like 2 steps above McDonalds.

    Other than the occational roudy crowd every blue moon I take some of my obvious failed/failing online dates to the one on 14th street. (2 minute car drive)

    I also go when I just want a quick crabcake and somewhere to hangout for a while.

    But I hate salad….

    even tossed salad :P

    So….Do Not Want..
    http://petru.paler.net/img/do_not_want.jpg

  • I would like to just formally apologze to everyone. truth is it was a slow day at work. POP- can I get a tally of how many of the anon comments belong to me? I want to know how much time I killed today.

  • I think of hipsters as dweeby too-skinny white kiddos with greasy hair, about 19-23 who dress in skinny jeans and canvas shoes, and try to create a cultural space because they grew up feeling lost and alone and a little bland next to people from richer cultural traditions. Maybe I’m giving away my age, but as a late-twenties something, I’ve never cared enough to hate hispters. They loiter about looking like lost little souls, still trying to find their way, and I often wish I could give thema hug and tell them their angsty years will soon be behind them.

  • Let us all remember that there used to be hardly anything, and I do mean hardly anything in the food arena around in ColHei. I lived here before the big hole where target is had been filled in and before any of the condos went up. Ruby was the first chain to open — before Starbucks or 5 Guys or any of those others.

    Take it for what it is — a chain restaurant.

  • yeah any place you can get free refills on salad is ok in my book

  • Anonymous … It’s okay. Everyone has been there. Gotten a little too aggro on a list. It is pretty bad to do it anonymously. I mean it’s just kind of cowardly. So you’re an overly aggro, spastic cowardly wanna-be hipster doofus-king. I mean how bad is that really? Not very. Your pennance? Share your real personage and post a youtube video of you eating a four course (app, salad, entree, dessert) at Ruby’s. Agreed? Agreed.

  • id rather stay anon than try and be the next monkyrotica. ill leave that to you boob. cause frankly i think one loser like that is already too many

  • @Anon, really… “[Target] was filled with hipsters” Hipsters at Target? Umm… huh? Hipsters hate the establishment.

    Target to my eye looks just like the population of Columbia Heights. Across the board. Are you sure you really gritted your teeth and went in there? Here’s a random pic I took at target. I don’t see any hipsters but I see a lot of people who do not have white skin.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamietre/2323654723/

    Sorry, buddy. Regular old people shop at Target. Regular. People. Rich. Poor. Black. White. People shop there because they sell stuff we need at regular prices.

    Regular people do not have enough attitude or money to boycott the most useful store in our neighborhood.

  • The only one who mentions erotic monkeys is you anonymous and it seems like you’re getting aggro again. The apologetic phase was short indeed, oh well. One day you’ll be sorry and mean it. One day.

  • shit. i cant believe I thought I saw some hipsters in target. but i couldnt have. Jamie has the proof everyone. he took a picture there once and of the 7 or 8 people visible in the pic none appear to be hipsters. hence forth and thusly….

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Alright, it’s been a crazy day let’s all enjoy a beer at our respective watering holes.

  • I will admit to liking RT’s. Their chicken pot pie is tasty and I always partake in the salad bar. I also like the mix of the different types of dining available in Columbia Heights. I will admit I grew up in a suburb, my parents still live in a suburb and I will most likely end up back in a suburb. But with all that said, I am glad as a DC taxpayer that DC is able to now capture the sales tax from establishments like Target and Ruby Tuesdays, etc. Before DC had this type of retail DC residents travelled out of District to shop, and there were plenty of us that did whether we admit it or not. So if we can have a nice mix of independent stores and chain stores so be it, the fact is I just want options within DC boundaries so I can spend my money where I live.

  • Jamie, exactly. There is that dude with red hair and beard with a dress on the escalator though.. he might be a hipster, planning to wear the dress for a concert/performing arts thingie at the… arrgghh, darn it, can remember the name of the artsy establishment next to Wonderland now. Oh btw, I hope you are all aware 11th St around there is about to turn into the next Adams Morgan night-life-hell-strip (at least that’s what I read in another forum).

  • Ummm… okay… so you think only hipsters shop at Target, whereas the 90% of Columbia Heights’ population that is working class people prefer expensive boutiques and Mom ‘n Pop shops to buy their toilet paper and incense?

    Great talk. I’m off to get a beer, probably at some hipster place. Speaking of which, exactly what kind of establishment will you enter? Wonderland and Red Derby are independently owned. If Target is hipster, than those places must be so far off the hipster meter that your head would explode if you walked in.

    I’m actually wondering. Where DO you shop? What could possibly pass muster?

  • yll have to excuse me jamie. first off. yes i enjoy beers at both wonderland and red derby. sometimes I go to the raven sometimes tonic. sometimes bourbon. I drink a lot now that i think about it. but to the target hipster thing. When I said it was filled with hipsters the one time i went I simply meant there was a group of them shopping. I know they were hipsters because they had loud colored plaid shirts and ironically long beards. but i did not in any way mean to give the impression that i believe ONLY hipsters shop at target. that would indeed be crazy wouldnt it.

  • @Anon, you hang out at RD, Wonderland, Bourbon, and by god the RAVEN?

    YOU ARE A HIPSTER!! Totally busted.

    All right now I really am getting a beer.

  • I like RT. Period. Some day when I’m not busy I will read all these comments.

  • Don’t worry guys, in the current economy, chain store growth has been effectively neutered for the forseeable future.

  • Face the facts… CH is changing and there might even be more chains before it is over. The least we can do is hope for more small, neighborhood joints to open up to save those of you that cannot stand RT. I don’t like to eat there but I can’t eat at the Gastropub every Friday and Saturday night.

  • Hopefully, the Ruby Tuesday will not decide to close up shop if business is slow. It would likely remain vacant and we’ll have another empty store front which doesn’t necessarily look good for the neighborhood. So, it’s probably better to have than nothing.

  • saf

    “None of the people bitching and moaning about how awful Target, RT, and Best Buy are would have lived here five years ago, so they don’t know”

    OK, I hate those things. We have lived here since 1990. Before that I lived in Mt Pleasant. Your generalization is inaccurate.

  • Ruby Tuesdays is so innocuous I can’t imagine being in a situation where I felt like I needed to complain about it. At what point would it possibly matter to you? The food you eat does not define who you are and I’m a vegetarian saying that.

  • My question, for the older-timers than me, is what was Columbia Heights really like a few years before that? Would it be comparable to what Georgia Avenue around the Petworth metro is like now? Is there another neighborhood that would be a more apt comparison?
    ————-

    The Columbia Heights I remember from before Target had absolutely NOTHING that me or any of my friends wanted to try. I remember there was a pool hall where someone got stabbed and some thrift stores we went into where the Latin proprietor made bizarre comments so we left.

    I went to Taco Distrito Federal early on- 2004? I went to Domku a bunch around 2002? But in the 1990s? I wen to the Petworth post office and I went to people’s houses.

    There were people who made cracks about me walking by, there were nail shops, junk shops, video and corner stores. homeless people and bums demanding money. I just remember that I once went to the Petworth post office and a crazy person threatened me by pounding on my car, so I left. Long before I owned a cell phone I don’t think I called that one in.

    before the green line opened there used to be these threatening latin transsexual prostitutes around the construction zone and two of them shouted some really ugly stuff to my wife and I in my car. I think it was, in spanish, something like “he wants to f**** you in the anus but there’s SH** there.” I did NOT translate that to my wife. Also there was an active and violent heroin trade which resulted in a street death I witnessed with my own eyes. I think I may have avoided CH for a full year after that (also the Giant/Target/Tivoli construction was something to avoid).

    I think if you drive north of the target by a few blocks you can still see what it was like. Also check out the block of stores on Park Rd like the waffle place? That block was representative of the whole area to me. I’m sure if it was your neighborhood place then that would be fine and you could defend it, but from a few blocks away we thought it was total crap and filled with ugly, hateful people who wanted to start fights on the street. With the amount of heroin addicts and beat up street prostitutes over there, it was really a lose/lose place. The transformation has been nothing short of amazing.

  • I think Neener had the best post by far on this response board.

  • saf wrote:
    ““None of the people bitching and moaning about how awful Target, RT, and Best Buy are would have lived here five years ago, so they don’t know”

    OK, I hate those things. We have lived here since 1990. Before that I lived in Mt Pleasant. Your generalization is inaccurate.”

    I’ve lived here since 1975. His generalization might have been just that, but you are the exception.

  • I’ve been here awhile, before the CH metro and all there was a post office, auto body shop, a GC Murphys, scary Giant and not much else.

    I don’t go to Ruby Tuesday but others do and that’s great. Different strokes for different folks.

    And I have to say I wanted to hate Target and DCUSA but it is convenient to do my banking, grocery shopping, exercising and buying unnecessary plastic items (any Nancy Griffith fans?) all within a few blocks of my house.

    I never thought I’d see a Ruby Tuesday and a Starbucks (two Starbucks, if you count the one in Target) in Columbia Heights. But there they are and I think the overall effect has been positive.

  • wow over 100 comments for RT. who would have thought. I would have NEVER eaten at RT in a million years but I love salad bars and they’re hard to find in restaurants so I guess I will have to check it out now…although you don’t make it sound appealing with your description of the potato salad and mayonnaise thing!

  • I’m with neener on this. I’ve lived in DC for 20 years. the post office on that block was about the craziest thing I’d ever seen. You generally didn’t go east of 16th and Columbia road. And I mean not one foot past. I had friends that lived in a slum house in that area and they were mugged on the street regularly. I’m not exaggerating.

    Years ago my friends and I played football on Saturdays. One day we tried to buy a football. For the life of us, we could not think of a single place in the entire city to buy a football. we eventually got a car and drove out of the city to a mall. You can buy a football at target. that’s what I’m talking about.

  • I think that ruby Tuesday symbolizes everything that is wrong in the world, and I think that anyone who eats there is sucking from the devil’s rectum.

  • It is interesting to note that most of best hole-in-the-wall restaurants are now located in the suburbs.

  • congrats robyn on really stirring the pot!

  • mmmmm, rectum… I do love a tossed salad!!!

  • Wow.

    We really started something here, huh?

    I said “For cheap good beer and surprisingly good wine, it’s a great choice in the hood…And the bartenders are quite friendly and efficient…in these dire economic times, it is a great choice when on a tight budget”

    And in response, Anonymous said essentially that I must be from the suburbs because a ‘real’ dc-ite would never like RTs.

    Wow.

    In fact of point, I guess I am a newcomer, in that I have lived around the corner from Wonderland for only ten years, and in DC for around twenty. But I guess that’s not good enough, or doesn’t matter.

    To the original anonymous poster, some advice:

    1) Give some good deep thought to what a snob is. And then see if it applies to you.
    2) Try not to preface a statement with “this is in no way a dig but…” and then go on to slag people. It just makes you look like an arse. Conversely, if you recognize when you are insulting someone, it makes you come across as intelligent and thoughtful.
    3) Consider other people’s points of view as potentially valid, whether you agree with them or not. See point number 1, above.

    And, a question: have you gone to RTs? Really given it a chance? It’s a fine place. And, yes, I go to Commonwealth, wonderland, Riconcito I and II, Rumberos, Acuario, and most other places in my hood on a weekly basis.

    Sometimes I like RTs (or “Arties” as I visualize it), sometimes I like the various other places. But there is a time and a place for everything. And when I am in the mood for just hanging out with some less expensive but just as good beer at a decent friendly bar with a decent menu, then Arties is the place for me. You don’t have to like it, in fact, I don’t care whether you do or not. But I do care when you generalize about my and my neighborhood. Sure, I’m a newcomer (even though I bet I’ve lived here longer than you), but so what? What the heck does that matter?

    See you at Arties!

    Thanks,
    AMF

  • I like you story on Ruby Tuesdays because I used to work there – but not at the location you talk about. Anyway, I always proud that we bring fresh vegatables out all the time and people really say it taste really good. There was one time a girl who talked to me, but I work there so it was not okay from my boss. But we meet after I was done working next to trash bin and she take me to heaven. So I say that Ruby Tuesdays always have a nice place in my heart.

    Gracias mi amor Robyn!

  • I bet AMF’s accent is hot. And who is this secluded 23 yo who says robyn my love…hmmm.

    Ruby Tuesday — here to stay. Local establishments — here to stay. Did Ruby itself change Col Hei — no.

    A lot of people have gotten the britches in a wad over something that is so simple. You don’t need to love RT, but just live with the fact that you live in a city and there will be chain restaurants here and there. If you hate RT, you should just as well hate Giant.

  • It’d be nice if McDonalds ever generated this sort of anger locally. Of all the chains to pick on, why RT? Hardly the corporate juggernaut of doom.

    For the record, I don’t like RT’s cuz they were in my mall in small town midwest and kicked me and my rowdy friends out back in 1987 or so. Jerks!

  • I have two words for you: pumpernickel croutons. ‘Nuf said.

  • I will always have a special place in my heart for RT’s mini burgers and salad bar. Best deal in town. Any salad bar with beets is A-OK with me.

Comments are closed.