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End of an Era – Rustik Tavern Closes in Bloomingdale After Six Years

by Prince Of Petworth — November 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm 37 Comments

84 T Street, NW (1st and T St just off Rhode Island Ave)

After Big Bear, Rustik Tavern was one of the first big gets for Bloomingdale. Like Big Bear, it was a bear to get opened and was immediately embraced by the neighborhood. Rustik quietly announced their closure Wednesday and went out with a bang Saturday night. Rustik’s owner Diton Pashaj still currently owns and operates Steel Plate in Brookland and I’m sure has a few other plans in the works. Stay tuned.

From Rustik Tavern’s closing announcement Wed. afternoon:

“Dear Friends!

After a little over 6 years, Rustik Tavern will be closing its doors this Saturday, November 26th. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have spent these past years with you, getting to know this amazing community and creating lasting memories… and we hope to see you one last time! We’ll have a farewell celebration on Saturday night, plenty of drinks and good reminiscing about random nights of great conversation and laughs.. Thank you again for the fun times and for supporting us since 2010.

— Lots of hugs from all of us.”

Since Rustik opened in Sept. 2010 the following restaurants and bars have opened in Bloomingdale – Boundary Stone, Red Hen, Aroi Thai, Baccio, El Camino, Showtime, Old Engine 12 Restaurant, Crisp and The Pub and The People.

  • Elkhaert

    Noooooo! I go there all the time and had no clue, and I was out of town for thanksgiving!

    Now where am I going to buy my Christina?

    • kapitolhill

      Same! We got back last night super late and I saw friends there on Twitter. Very bummed. This was a place that we returned to my old neighborhood for quite often.

    • Bloomingdale

      +1 We NEED our Christina 🙁

      • Bloomy

        +1 my favorite!

  • Anon X

    Dan, any clues about why this happened or if the space is going to be occupied? What a big loss.

  • KellyKapowski

    Oh this is so sad! I have to admit I haven’t been there in a while. Was it not doing well?

    I hope something comes in soon, it’s a fantastic space.

    • Elkhaert

      I guess how fantastic the space is might have killed it, I’m guessing the rent was raised too high. It’s a shame, now Baccio is it for pizza in the area. Which is ok I guess, just not as good as Rustik.

      • kapitolhill

        It was a great spot to sit on a cold evening (with the farm fired oven in the corner), sip drinks, and watch football on TV. Took my then GF there years ago, and we go back to my old stomping grounds now quite often as we plan our wedding. Wish we had been in town last night to say farewell 🙁 It’s gonna turn into some bright, small plate, pricey place. This place had fun, filling, great food. RIP.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Disagree. Bacio is so much better than Rustik. The Rustik space is great, but the food was mediocre at best.

        • Bdylan89

          It’s a great space but I agree. I ate there several times but I have to say the food was never that great. With all of the other options in Bloomingdale this was usually one of the last places I would go to. The pizza at Bacio was also much better. Sorry to hear they are closing but hopefully something better moves into the space.

          • Elkhaert

            Well, guess you guys answered my question as to how on earth this closed. I can’t disagree more about which was better in my opinion (Baccio is usually too greasy for my taste, and I’d always rather do wood oven than an industrial chain oven), but I guess I was in the minority. I never had anything but pizza though, I have no clue how their other food was.

            Guess I’m making the trek to Petworth for Timber now (or all the way to Two Amy’s). So sad.

          • Anon

            Rustik’s pizza didn’t really compare to Timber or 2 Amy’s (though I guess all shared wood-fired ovens).

        • Anon

          Yup – great space, mediocre pizza. Bacio’s pizza is so much better that I sort of stopped going to Rustik except to sit on the patio. Oh well, someone else will move with better food eventually.

          • eastof9

            Hey guys, both places are great! Totally different styles of pizzas. I love Rustik for a casual night out, and Bacio to bring home. Rustik will be missed!

      • KKS

        Elheart – you should try Menomale. It’s excellent and pretty close near RIA in Brookland.

  • Jane

    I remember hanging out here in the early days with a giant bowl of popcorn and great friends. This is a huge loss. Thanks for the memories.

  • Tom

    Aw man, I totally missed this! Always had a soft spot for Rustik because it was the first place I ever went to in Bloomingdale while casing the neighborhood. I later moved in.
    Farewell, Rustik and staff. I will miss you. Perhaps our paths will cross again (and with any luck, there will be chorizo there as well).

    • Nathan

      Same for me. Stopped in there after touring the first house we looked at in Bloomingdale and checking out the neighborhood.

  • DJ New

    Rustik’s opening was a watershed moment for Bloomingdale. If you haven’t lived in Bloomingdale (or DC) for more than 5 years it is really hard to understand how desperate people were for a place to open to get a drink and a sit down dinner in this part of town. Tracking its progress was one of the things that got me hooked on POP. I was full on stalking the progress towards opening the restaurant. For whatever reason I felt like Rustik never got the credit that it deserved. Thanks for a great 6 years and good luck to whatever comes next to this space!

    • ryan2499

      Agreed. This Thursday Dec 1 will mark our 10 year anniversary in Bloomingdale and I can remember with great joy – and jam packed crowds – what a milestone it was to have a place to go out, sit down for a meal and be able to order a beer/wine/cocktail. Rustik marked the beginning of a new era for our neighborhood. (Yes I know Big Bear opened first, but it didn’t provide all the sit down/alcohol services until well after Rustik opened).

      Still, for all that we went their mostly for brunch because they opened at 10am, and frankly when you have little kids, 10am is midday and we’re itching to get out. So whatever goes into that spot, I’d be super pumped if they do a great brunch earlier than 11am 🙂

      So thank you to Diton & the Rustik team for the role you played in growing our neighborhood and best of luck to you moving forward.

      • ryan2499



  • Truxton Thomas

    A loss for the neighborhood. Great thin-crust pizza, particularly the lamb with paprika and the Mediterranean chicken. And I don’t see it in competition with Bacio’s—different kind pizza and experience. I agree it didn’t seem to get the respect it deserved in the neighborhood. It felt like it was taken for granted because locals felt entitled to a solid sit-down restaurant. I hope whatever replaces it isn’t obnoxious.

    • Anon

      “locals felt entitled to a solid sit-down restaurant” – more so that a number of superior options opened up in the past 3 years. I could spend $16 on their just-ok pizza or spend that same amount on an amazing bowl of pasta from Red Hen – it’s not even a contest.

  • Matt

    RIP $12 bottomless mimosas… Not sure where you can get that anywhere else in NW DC!

    • Nathan

      Just across the street at Boundary Stone!

      • ryan2499

        Sadly they are $14 now. But still tasty & delicious!

        • Nathan

          Ah. Aren’t Crisp’s $12?

          • 24hourpartypooper

            Indeed, Crisp’s bottomless is $12. El Camino is $14: Mimosa or Bloody Maria.

  • Bloomingdalien

    With the closing and the various comments do residents want more bars, restaurants, coffee shops, take-out, etc… in the area? I heard Rustik is being replaced by a Wine Bar. Will that work?

    • JQH3

      Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods! SoDoSoPa!

    • Anon

      “Will that work?” – hope whomever is opening a wine bar did a little more research than that!

      • duh

        you don’t need to do a lot of research to realize that a good wine bar would kill it in this location.

  • Tony P.

    Hmmm – Corner property, awesome patio in one of the hottest neighborhoods? It won’t be long before something new opens up. A cozy wine bar would certainly kill it – however, the rumor I heard is that Zenebech Injera is moving in. Now, THAT would be something different in Bloomingdale. Hopefully good operators will come in.

    • Anon

      I don’t think there’s sufficient kitchen space here for Zenebech, but if true…

    • David T

      I would give anything to have good Ethiopian around the corner!


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