By: Natalie Manitius
Set in a 1930s Prohibition era-theme, Ted’s Bulletin—opening this Thursday in Reston Town Center—recreates the environment in which owners, and brothers, Ty and Mark Neal‘s father, Ted, grew up. From rural West Virginia, Ted, as Chef Travis Weiss puts it, was “known as the guy with the pot on the stove,” often feeding postal workers and neighbors, evoking “hospitality at its best.” Between the atmosphere and the menu, Ted’s Bulletin serves “comfort food with a Southern influence: large portions, hearty breakfast, breakfast all day, and a from- scratch kitchen,” Weiss says. This is the third location of Ted’s, with spots in Capitol Hill and 14th Street in Washington, D.C.
Using salvaged pieces—door trim from the original Philadelphia Convention Hall, subway tile, tin ceilings and old-timey law office doors serving as the bathroom entryway—the vintage theme begins at the front countertop and extends all the way to the back of the restaurant, where an antique-like projector hangs from the ceiling. The bulletin theme comes into play with menus that are black felt bulletin boards with white letters pressed in, hearkening back to a time before digitization.
Ted’s classics include the “Walk of Shame,” a burrito with skirt steak, eggs, hash browns, cheddar cheese and spicy green chili sauce; crispy fried steaks; smoked Alabama chicken; and apple and hickory smoked pork. Sweets include a line of “adult milkshakes” and homemade pop-tarts (strawberry, blueberry cheesecake and peanut butter bacon). With its barrel-aged program, Ted’s uses homemade bitters, syrups, and vermouth for cocktails and boozy milkshakes.
It seems no flavor is out of reach here, as Pastry Chef Kelsey Pitta crafted a Thanksgiving pop-tart consisting of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes, while the milkshake end honored a customer request to place a slice of pie in their milkshake. Weiss explains how Ted’s Bulletin “lives and dies by a phrase called ‘giving the pickle,’” where no customer request is too far-flung. / Ted’s Bulletin, 11948 Market St., Reston.