The Mosaic District might seem like an odd location for a diner. With all its posh shops, swanky movie theater and artisan eateries, a greasy spoon doesn’t exactly fit in with the whole motif. But Ted’s Bulletin, the 1930s-themed mini-chain now open in the Merrifield development, is, at its core, a bonafide diner. And because this is Mosaic after all, it’s a pretty fancy one at that.
Just like a diner should be, Ted’s is big on breakfast. Open everyday at 7 a.m., the early morning options are plentiful, varied and available all day long. There’s all the standards like eggs, pancakes, bagels, omelets and the like, but there’s also a whole assortment of I-don’t-plan-to-eat-again-until-dinner dishes. The Walk of Shame Burrito stuffs steak, scrambled eggs, cheddar, hash browns and green chile sauce into a tortilla, a breakfast sandwich surrounds sausage, bacon, cheese, scrambled eggs and a fried egg with griddled toast and, if you just want to sleep for the rest of the day, The Big Mark complete with three eggs, two strips of bacon, two sausages, hash browns, toast and one of Ted’s homemade poptarts (more on them later) is a food coma on a plate.
Ted’s dinner and lunch options share the whimsy – and mass – of its breakfast with equally playful names and gut-busting combinations. Comfort food dishes include the white cheddar, red wine mayo and gravy drenched Short Rib Sammy, buttermilk country fried steak, meatloaf and a 10 oz. steak and side of breakfast tots. (What are breakfast tots? Tater tot cubes covered in eggs, cheese and green chili, that’s what.) And rather than fish and chips, Ted’s light and crispy panko breaded hake is served with tots, too, plus a side of slaw, ketchup and jalapeno tartar sauce.
The restaurant’s namesake, father of Matchbox Foodgroup partners Mark and Ty Neal, grew up in the hills of southern West Virginia and you’ll find homages to his home sprinkled throughout the menu. Pepperoni rolls, a West Virginia staple, stuff cheese and chunks of spicy pepperoni in a crispy, flaky crust; the Southwest (West Virginia) burger puts avocado, roasted red peppers, green chile and white cheddar on the beef; and while not West Virginia, nearby Pittsburgh gets a shoutout with Ted’s Burgh topped with a fried egg, coleslaw, American cheese and, with a nod to legendary Primanti Bros., french fries.
And speaking of burgers, don’t be afraid of the one with peanut butter and bacon. The creamy, sticky peanut butter is excellent with the salty strips of pig candy and a side of tomato jam adds a hint of sweetness. Just be sure you keep your water glass full.
While scarce, there are some lighter options on the menu. In addition to a selection of salads there’s also wraps, a veggie breakfast burrito, grilled salmon and more.
Now about those poptarts – Ted’s version puts those boxed Kellogg’s pastries to shame. Available in a variety of flavors, the regular sprinkle-encrusted lineup includes brown sugar-cinnamon, strawberry, blueberry cheesecake and a must-try peanut butter topped with crumbled bacon. Also currently on tap is the seasonal pecan pie flavor with a graham cracker crust and, through Friday, a special savory Thanksgiving version is available stuffed with turkey and gravy topped with a dollop of sweet potato mash and covered in a sweet cranberry glaze.
The restaurant is plenty big with ample dining and counter seating. An art deco interior reflects Ted’s 1930s theme joined by a wait staff that dresses the part plus a big screen in the dining room showing films ranging from Shirley Temple and silent cartoons to the Three Stooges.
Ted’s Bulletin is located next to Cyclone Anaya’s Mexican Kitchen on District Avenue in Merrifield’s Mosaic District.
Ted’s Bulletin | 2911 District Avenue, Fairfax | 571-830-6680 | tedsbulletinmerrifield.com