Justin Ross, Capitol Riverfront resident and restauranteur, opened Justin’s Café in 2010. As one of the first new restaurants to serve the neighborhood after Nationals Park opened in 2008, Justin’s Cafe quickly became a favorite place to cheer on the Nats. Inspired by the success of his first restaurant, Justin recently opened The Big Stick in the Capitol Riverfront. We caught up with Justin as he was preparing for the Nationals’ Opening Day on April 6, 2015.
Why did you choose to open your restaurants in the Capitol Riverfront?
I believe in the neighborhood. We have a Major League Baseball stadium, a soccer stadium coming soon, a Metro station, water access, and we are close to so much. As much change as the neighborhood has gone through, there is still so much more to come, and that’s what I really am excited about as both as resident and business owner.
Your new restaurant The Big Stick opened last year at M & Half Streets, SE. Tell us about it.
We thought the location was perfect. Who wouldn’t want a brat and a beer before or after the game? When we opened, we were in a real time crunch because our goal was to open before the NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park. We viewed that as our day to really introduce ourselves to the city, and it was a great day.
What has been your favorite moment in the Capitol Riverfront?
The Diner En Blanc event at Yards Park that my partners and I hosted last year. To throw an event that received national press coverage in my neighborhood is something that I am proud of. I loved the fact that the event exposed people to our neighborhood who had never been here or had only come for a baseball game.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer in the Capitol Riverfront?
My favorite thing to do in this neighborhood will always be going to Nationals game. I’d be a huge Nats fan even if I didn’t have Justin’s or The Big Stick.
Any Opening Day or baseball season specials you’d like Front Page News readers to know about?
We are going to be opening The Big Stick at 9 am on April 4th for the Nationals’ exhibition game against the Yankees. That same day at Justin’s Café we will be having a tap takeover with Bell’s Brewing Company. They always get us some great, limited release beer, so it should be awesome. Opening day falls on a weekday this year, so we will also have our regular happy hour specials. For other specials, please check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for Justin’s Cafe and The Big Stick.