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Ruta Del Vino Nears Opening in Petworth – Check out the next amazing transformation on Upshur Street (and peek at the menu)

by Prince Of Petworth October 28, 2016 at 10:10 am 40 Comments

800 Upshur Street, NW

I know I continue to sound like a broken record when I speak of amazing transformations on Upshur Street but here is another amazing transformation on Upshur Street. You have to remember this is the former, troubled Riyad market:

8th and Upshur St, NW previously

And now it is this:


And that’s just a tiny slice. Ruta Del Vino is the Latin American Wine Bar and Restaurant that we first heard about a year ago. Now they are very very close to opening – I’m told the soft opening should be in about a week or so and the proper opening in about two weeks or so (knock wood, knock wood!) But as you can tell the space is 99% completed and just a jaw dropper dominated by a huge wrap around bar (lots more photos after the jump.) In the meantime, have a sneak peek of the menu “90+% complete”:

ruta_del_vino_menu_draft (PDF)

Earlier they shared on their Facebook info about the new chef:

“After a long search, we’re pleased to announce we’ve hired an executive chef.

Chef Victor Meneses began his career in his hometown of Albuquerque, NM, helping his father prepare authentic Mexican street food for his camión (food truck). At fourteen, Victor began working as a dishwasher and prep cook for a local New Mexican Restaurant. Soon, he landed a job at the northern Italian restaurant Scalo and trained under award-winning chef Jonathan Perno, working his way through every station in the restaurant, honing his skills and technique and expanding his knowledge of Italian cuisine.

A few years later, Victor moved to the Washington, DC area to attend L’Academie de Cuisine. While in school, he worked for the late culinary legend Michel Richard at Citronelle and learned the importance of building flavors and refining technique. Victor completed his culinary externship at Equinox, known for imaginative, seasonal, regional American cuisine. After that, he worked for Chef Tony Chittum at Notti Bianche. Soon, Victor was promoted to sous chef, then to executive sous chef. Over the next few years, he continued to learn from the best chefs in the area, working with Drew Trautmann of Sonoma on Capitol Hill, Jeff Black of Black’s Bar & Kitchen in Bethesda, and Ethan McKee of Circle Bistro.

Victor relocated to South Florida seven years ago and was intrigued and inspired by the area’s produce and seafood, preferring to use products that are locally sourced. He allows nature to dictate his menu, mixing the subtle with the unexpected, avoiding trends in favor of elegance and timelessness. Freshness, simplicity and depth of flavor are his trademarks, and he strives to execute every dish with care and attention. During his time in Florida, he was executive chef for one of south Florida’s best Mexican restaurants, El Camino, which was voted one of the top 100 restaurants in the country two years in a row by OpenTable.

At Ruta del Vino, Victor will design a menu covering a broad array of Latin American cuisines to pair with wines from across Latin America.

Welcome, Chef!”

And I’ll be sure to update when the opening date is confirmed. Now check out lots more photos of the space:
















  • WOW — that was fast!! Can’t wait.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    Looks great and I continue to be surprised at how Upshur finally seems to be taking off, but those lights concern me. The non-LED bulbs tend to get quite warm and I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to stuff that many of them into a bottle with no air circulation. Though if it passed inspection, then I guess it’s not a safety hazard.

    • NHAve

      Ha! That was my first thought as well – must be a fire hazard right? Looks cool though.

    • EnPetworth

      They make vintage/filament/edison LED bulbs now that stay cool. I would hope any new build out would be smart enough to go 100% LED given the enormous savings and long life.

  • Anon H St

    Looks fab!

  • NH Ave Hiker

    wow, I run by almost every day and never noticed the progress. That was fast.

  • 16thSter

    I hope they consider a wine list to include wines from the USA made by Latino and Spanish winemakers.

    • Barijho

      the Latino wine shop in Shaw, Grand Cata, has some.

  • andy

    Ha. Translation of camión=food truck.

  • PetworthMom

    So excited about this new addition.

  • Ben

    Prices look reasonable and menu looks tasty. I will def check this place out!

    • Agree…looks like a great addition to Petworth, and with one exception…I’m good with the pricing.

      The exception? A $19 Chili Relleno? That better be prepared by El Señor himself. Back home, I could get 4 chili rellenos for that price.

  • Anonymous

    It goes to show you that if you know what you’re doing, it’s possible to stay on schedule and open a restaurant in a decent amount of time. Good for them! I’m really looking forward to trying it. I do hopefully they paint the rest of the facade. The brick above the main entrance/bay windows is nasty!

    • DeanWillow

      Agree. The brick looks like it has 50 years of grease stuck to it.

  • Carlos

    I’m really excited about the menu! But the prices are too high. I thought this would be a place to frequent once a week, but I have to put it in the special occasion category. A $16 choripan is pretty crazy.

  • Oscar

    Looks great.

    A few hot tips for the owners: spring for a couple hundred to pressure wash the brick on the exterior of the building, and add a vegetarian torta.

    • Ashy Oldlady

      Another hot tip: Slash prices.

  • northeazy

    Having lived and traveled extensively in Latin America, it is great to see a place like this serve food like that. I do think however the food is overpriced. $4 for rice? $15 Cubanos? All can be forgiven if the food is on point, however the chef seems to be more experienced in Italian and American cuisine despite his Mexican heritage (which curiously, is not featured in the selected food options).

    • eva

      That’s kind of a weird thing to say. I wouldn’t expect someone to have expertise at a chef level in Mexican cuisine just because that’s their heritage. Lots of chefs cook cuisines that aren’t reflective of their heritage.

    • Wow $26 for Carne Asada

      It does seem quite pricey for the neighborhood. These prices are much more than the very popular Lauriol Plaza. I get it that the owners are going for a completely different vibe but just putting things in perspective.
      Also Upshur still doesn’t get enough foot traffic. We were recently at Twisted horn on a Saturday night at 11 and there were only two other patrons. After they closed we went over to Petworth Citizen and there were 4 other patrons.
      Ok, I ll stop now as I am no expert on this and will probably check it out since it is in the neighborhood irrespective of the price.

      • Anonymous

        That’s for the people buying $1.3M houses.

      • Anonymous

        Not sure it’s fair to compare prices at this place to those at Lauriol Plaza. Lauriol is a factory that does huge volume. Don’t get me wrong. I actually like Lauriol Plaza. But I don’t go there if I want awesome, higher end Mexican food. I go there for large margueritas and decent Mexican food.

      • MARM

        I will say…. Twisted Horn rebranded entirely and totally lost the awesome vibe/cocktails they had going on, which is turn lost all the local clientele.

    • GoldEmpanada

      Don’t forget about a $9 empanada! That’s insane.

  • abdc

    This looks great and roomy! It’ll be nice to have a decent sized restaurant on Upshur too, instead of all the tiny restaurants. Can’t wait to check it out!

  • samanda_bynes

    huh – honestly didn’t think it’d go up that fast. ah, still wistful for the days when people were buying Scooby snax from Riyad.

  • DeanWillow

    Trying to not get my hopes too far up. Big fan of Timber Pizza, but still very disappointed with Slims. Hoping Ruta del Vino hits the ground running!

    • samanda_bynes

      slims is a solid 3/5 – but i’ve never gone for breakfast hours, so i think that helps.

      • EnPetworth

        Was at Slims for breakfast the other day and it was awesome, not packed, fast friendly service, huge portions and great coffee (Swings)

        • SmallPie

          If you had a huge portion then you didn’t have pie. The size of a slice of pie is a joke.

      • DeanWillow

        I would give it a 2 out of 5. Food is fine, but the service leaves something to be desired. The first two months of operation really soured me on the place. And after giving it another shot recently, it hadn’t appreciably improved. Service was still slow even though the place was almost empty.

  • Looks like great fun – but, like so many new places, it also looks really, really loud. All those bare, hard surfaces will just bounce the sound around. Am I the last person on earth who likes a quiet conversation with my dinner and glass of wine?

  • Anonymous

    Looks great! I get the ritual of complaining about prices. But the bottom line is that expensive residential real estate usually means expensive commercial real estate. I doubt this place was a bargain to get up and running. I don’t blame the owners for wanting to cover their expenses and make a profit. I’m fine with another “special occasion,” once every few weeks or so restaurant, if the food is good.

  • more please

    Now let’s upzone Georgia Avenue to get the residential density needed to support all of these brave entrepreneurs!

  • Ann

    Welcome to Petworth Ruta Del Vino! The menu looks amazing and can’t wait to visit!

  • Ken

    Why renovate and not paint the brick?? Looks like an oil change shop and they don’t notice it.

  • Frites_Paradise

    Yea, that looks awesome (the inside)! We’ll be visiting.

    But that outside could use some paint or good power washing…

    • AC

      Agreed! I hope they power wash pre opening!

  • Shady Lady

    Please please please let the chef add some New Mexican dishes to the menu!

  • Wille

    That menu looks perfect. Can’t wait to try it! All sounds delish.


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