After years of serving all-day breakfasts and whimsical milkshakes across the DC area, the newest location of Ted’s Bulletin opened today in Ballston Quarter with a twist: an uplifted look and menu in the restaurant and an adjoining coffee bar and bakery called Sidekick.
The new spot is the first “second-generation” Ted’s Bulletin to roll out under owner Steve Salis, the entrepreneur and &pizza co-founder who acquired Ted’s Bulletin in 2017. For those who fell in love with the restaurant’s classic diner feel, Salis promises to keep that around. But he’s also trying to elevate the brand with new fast-casual menu items and a more modern interior design. Hence, Sidekick.
While original Ted’s Bulletin locations also have coffee bars meant for grabbing pastries and cups of coffee to-go, Sidekick aims to be its own brand with an upgraded food and drink menu, a full-service bakery, and its own entrance on Wilson Boulevard (as well as an entry within the diner). While there’s limited room for eating inside, outdoor seats and tables provide plenty of seats in nice weather.
Overseen by pastry chef Vincent Griffith, who comes to the DC-area from Chicago, the menu features everything you might expect from a typical coffee bar, plus a variety of out-of-the-box pastries and drinks.
“We’re looking at the familiar and taking it up a notch,” says Griffith. On first glance, Sidekick’s half-dozen or so different croissants seem unassuming, but a closer look reveals flavors such as “Pop Rocks and Cola” and “Frostee and Fries.” The latter features a French fry pastry creme and an Ovaltine mousse, while the former contains a cola creme and a pop rocks coating.
In addition to pastries, Sidekick also offers Snowdays, a trademarked frozen dessert that layers housemade vanilla custard and mix-ins. Black sesame cookies and cream tastes like a nutty Oreo sundae, while pistachio offers a bittersweet balance between sweet and salty.
For those looking for a savory breakfast, the menu also features “Slidekicks,” combos of two breakfast sliders made with everything from steak to a classic egg and cheese between toasted brioche buns.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Ted’s Bulletin brand without their iconic pop-tart pastries, or “Ted’s Tarts.” Sidekick has all the usual flavors, including blueberry cheesecake and brown sugar and cinnamon. Restaurant patrons are more than welcome to waltz through Sidekick after their meal, but they will not be able to order Sidekick items while dining in.
Aside from Sidekick, the new restaurant’s interior still contains familiar features such as an open kitchen and plenty of comfy seating. Upgrades include a posh patio, a central bar, big windows, and a private dining room.
The restaurant also features a wraparound bar, where guests can sip on adult milkshakes and cocktails. Bonus: happy hour, available weekday afternoons from 3 to 7 PM.
Correction: This story initially stated that the Ballston location of Ted’s Bulletin is the first to offer happy hour. Other locations also offer happy hour.