Bloomingdale’s Rustik Opens to Great Fanfare

“Dear PoP,

It was very very festive – felt like a big house party with pizza. Everyone was excited and accommodating to the first night mistakes too. We are just so happy to have it open.”

Sadly I wasn’t able to make Rustik’s soft opening (1st and T St, NW) Friday night. Well to be honest I was scared of the crowds but it looks like it was an awesome time. So for those that went – the most important question for me – how was the pizza!?!?!

Update questions from a reader just in:

“Secondly, I sadly missed the opening weekend for Rustik. I was hoping you could put it out there for discussion, what are the pros/cons, early reactions? Is it packed? If I want to go tonight, what can I expect in terms of waiting, standing, etc. What were the police doing out there in force on Saturday night?”

49 Comment

  • I was able to attend Friday evening and while I didn’t have any of the food, it was welcomed with excitement by those that did eat. The pizza looked great and seemed to be a favorite. We were also served a lamb dish which received high Marks. In my opinion there aren’t too many pizza options on the menu, so I hope they plan to expand. It is definitely a Med inspired menu, as they had baby octopus and other Med-like dishes.

    There were a few issues with the beer tap and it was super hot in there (at one point they realized the AC vents were closed)and seating seems limited for the most part. It will be great when they can open up the outdoor seating. But overall it will be a great place and will definitely be embraced by the neighborhood. Everyone was very very friendly, staff and patrons!

    Would be interested to hear what was up with Saturday night Police.

  • We went over around 8:45 on Friday. The place was packed…and hot. Glad they figured out there the issue with the AC. I was scared that the system couldn’t handle the crowd. We had a couple of drinks and chatted it up with friends. Didn’t eat anything, but the food looks great and the staff is very friendly. We are going for happy hour and dinner tomorrow night. Outdoor seating in the future will certainly help out too.

  • I have been twice, on the first night and yesterday evening. While it was hot on Friday, there was an air of excitement as well. The staff seemed very friendly and acknowledged that there were glitches to work through. Yesterday the crowd had thinned, and the atmosphere was cozy, and again, the staff very welcoming and friendly. The food is delicious and simple… much better than your average bar food. The decor is both warm and edgy. This will be the perfect neighborhood bar, and I couldn´t be happier to welcome Rustik Tavern to the neighborhood.

  • The police seemed to just stop by Saturday .. it was weird. Almost like they were just bothering the owners. I thought service was fine and good Saturday, far less crowded than Friday, so I hope people go and go often to help this place have a strong opening!

  • I was there for dinner last night. The Pep Pep pizza was very very good. Owners are super nice and so was staff.

  • Went in for a late dinner last night with my girlfriend and two friends (around 10:15). Was able to sit down and tried a couple of the pizzas and the lamb dish mentioned above. All of the food was great, our server was extremely pleasant though I’m sure she had been running like a mad woman all weekend. I can’t comment on the scene from Friday night, but if last night is any indication of the future, this place is a Godsend for Bloomingdale. Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • What’s on tap?

  • I went on Saturday because I had heard about the crowd and lack of AC. Just had drinks, but it was really nice and friendly. Outside seating will be great once it’s approved.

    Did anyone notice that they seemed to close extra early on Saturday?They turned on the lights around 1:00. Wonder if it’s a zoning thing.

  • I went Friday around 9:00, it was crowded, hot and loud. I was expecting a dinner vibe but it was definitely a bar vibe. Took a while to get a server’s attention (I literally just held my hand up at one point, which worked). Pizza took about 30 minutes, we had the Margherita, which was probably the best pizza I’ve had in DC (that’s not really a compliment as much as a resignation). It was pretty good. Beers/wine were expensive so we skipped drinks. One dessert on offer, which we also skipped. Staff seemed very frazzled, then gave out shots to “everyone” (literally only about 25% of people got them) and then went on their business. Definitely not enough seating for a proper restaurant. Also, beware: it’s 21+ every night after 9, which means no late college or family dinners!

    • “it’s 21+ every night after 9, which means no late college or family dinners!”

      You’ve sold it, I’m in.

      • why does that sell it to you?

        • Children and students are annoying.

          • The owner of Rustik Tavern promised that children will be more than welcome (prior to 9pm of course) and that high chairs will be arriving soon. The Bloomingdale kids list has over 140 children who are excited about pizza in their own neighborhood!

        • saf

          Well, it sells it to me because I am sick to death of children in bars. I like an adult environment in the late evening.

          But then, you know that, and are just looking to bait someone, aren’t you?

    • In fairness, its full name is Rustik Tavern. I don’t think they are pretending to be an all out sit-down restaurant as much as a cozy corner bar with some (what I’d consider above average) bar food.

    • Really, the Margherita was better than the versions at Paradiso(s)? Two Amy’s? Or a cheese pie at Pete’s Apizza? Or Comet? Or Seventh Hill?

      That’s impressive!

      • i don’t know many truths in life, but i know one. NEVER trust another persons opinion about what a good pizza is.

        i made up that rule when someone took me to the original ledos pizza… you know their version of the best pizza in the universe.

      • The pizzas are tasty. I wouldn’t say better than Two Amy’s or Paradiso, but pretty darned good, especially for a place that isn’t really pretending to be a full-on restaurant. Definitely the thin Neapolitan style with some nice char on the crust; I could’ve used a little more zip in the tomato sauce on my Pep Pep. The Ward 5 was really interesting, it has preserved lemon as one topping, which is not a flavor I’d ever expect on a pizza but which worked really well with the other ingredients. They have some really good beers on tap, though they ran out of several by Sunday, I think because it was much busier than expected through the weekend.

        The vibe/atmosphere is great. Service is friendly if still a bit scattered, as you’d expect from folks still getting into a groove at a new place. In fact, it was probably quicker and smoother than I anticipated. I’ll be back often.

  • This place is GREAT! My neighbor and I went for dinner on Sunday around 6:45 pm. We were just able to take advantage of the happy hour specials which go from 4-7 pm. It wasn’t too crowded and after waiting for about five minutes we were able to grab an open table. The pizza was delicious, beer/wine portions were generous, prices reasonable, and the atmosphere was very comfortable (nice lighting, good music, diverse crowd). I really enjoyed the place and I think it will be a PERFECT fit for Bloomingdale! Cheers to Rustik Tavern!

  • I see a lot of white people. What is the demographic typically like?

  • In all fairness, you cannot judge a fledgling business on its very first minute of operation. They opened at 9pm on Friday night, and I´m guessing they had no idea what to expect. Your (overly harsh) critique would carry more weight if you waited a month or so. Even a day later, everything seemed better.

  • The service was pretty slow on Sunday. Took a while to get my order taken. My pizza didn’t get put into the oven for a while longer, and I saw pizzas sitting out without being taken away by the server to the customers. I assume the staff is frazzled. But the pizza was good and the crowd is friendly. I’m going to give this place a little while to figure things out. And besides, service in DC is pretty much bad everywhere, so my expectations are low. It’s nice to have a neighborhood bar, at long last.

  • Please, no more bars in Bloomingdale. 🙁

    • I don’t believe there are *any* other bars in Bloomingdale at the moment. Or within a 15-block radius… so, please, MORE bars in this neighborhood.

    • Why not? Because the residents of this neighborhood don’t deserve the quality retail establishments that other areas of this city take for granted?

      Or would you prefer to limit adult beverages to the winos in the Florida Avenue park?

  • Rustik is a long awaited triumph in Bloomingdale. Walking over friday night around 8:30, I could literally see the excitement on everyone’s faces as they were walking in the same direction. Considering what they were able to pull off out of the gate on a warm friday night i give Rustik Tavern a standing ovation! This will quickly become my second home, can predict it already!

  • what is that business called “The Union” next door to Rustik in the same building?

  • We stopped in Saturday night for a beer. It was way too loud and we couldn’t get anyone’s attention to actually get a drink. We left. We’lltry again later

  • I am excited to try this place out. Finally, a local pub for Bloomingdale and Truxton Circle.

    I walked by yesterday dropping off some cleaning across the street and I saw many eager patrons entering. This should be a great addition to the neighborhood.

  • ate there last night with a few friends; busy, especially for a Monday night, but definitely worth the wait. pizza was really good and the happy hour prices are pretty good.

  • What are the happy hour specials/prices? I haven’t had a chance to make it over yet, but I’m very excited to!

    • $3 drafts on some beers
      a cut in some of the pizza prices too. a few dollars off.
      makes a pizza and a beer about 11 bucks.

  • AWESOME Pizza, better than almost any pizza in entire DC. Need more choices, need some meat on the pizzas, some pepperoni options and sausages. Okay to leave off the lemon on the ward 5, gave it a household cleaner taste. But interesting.

    The bartender completely overwhelmed, people just standing with empty glasses and money in their hands while he stared into space at times. Just a lot of people and a new staff…it will all work out.

    More tables, or better use of the benches to seat more people would be excellent.

    Love the place…work out the wait staff and bartender kinks and this is a homerun.

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