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Ballston’s New ‘Eatertainment’ Complex Puts Potato Chips In Bologna Sandwiches

The three-story entertainment complex opens this Saturday

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The Wolf ($12.50): griddled bologna, shredded lettuce, American cheese, and mustard, and sea salt kettle chips sandwiched between Texas toast.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Punch Bowl Social, the new three-level entertainment complex Ballston, is ready to release a lineup of nostalgic diner foods, shakes, and boozy punch bowls for people to enjoy while they’re rolling a bowling ball and belting out karaoke this weekend.

The “eatertainment” brand out of Denver, which has 15 locations sprinkled from coast to coast, just recruited a new chief culinary and beverage officer with fine-dining experience to craft a bar menu that’ll be served across the three-story, 25,000-square-foot property when it opens Saturday, December 8, at 4238 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington. Sheamus Feeley, who hails from famed Beverly Hills-based chain Hillstone Restaurant Group, was also on the opening team of Farmstead Restaurant on Long Meadow Ranch in Napa Valley and Wolfgang Puck in Denver.

Feeley’s Southern upbringing inspired some of the dishes, like a bologna sandwich with potato chips that he craved as a kid. And his California ties to Mexican food are evident across six tacos, including cocoa-dusted pork carnitas with salsa adobo and crema.

The namesake punch bowls ($10-$60) serve up to six people. One large-format order, served in a vintage glass bowl, is the “Will Conga Line for Rum.” It has Bacardi 8 aged rum, Rum Haven coconut rum, Teakoe’s Pomegranate Green Tea, Monin orgeat, and fresh lime juice.

There’s lots to keep patrons busy inside the colorful ski lodge-inspired funhouse — including multiple bowling lanes, vintage video games, shuffleboard, ping pong, darts, private karaoke rooms, an outdoor bocce court, and skee ball. Unlike many of Punch Bowl Social’s competitors, CEO Robert Thompson says, the vast majority of its revenue (90 percent) stems from food and alcohol, not from its activities.

“This whole thing is a mouse trap for selling food and beverage,” he says.

Here’s a glimpse at part of the opening menu:

ARL_Main_P2 by Tierney Plumb on Scribd

The superfood grain bowl with crispy farro, quinoa, kale, radishes, sprouts, pickled chiles, shiitake mushrooms, poached egg, and miso ginger vinaigrette ($13).
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
The chicken and waffles main ($16) features fried hormone and antibiotic-free chicken breast and thigh, malted waffle, chipotle-citrus maple syrup, and fresh strawberries.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
The Two Hats Blues cocktail ($13) with Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, and Dom Benedictine Liqueur.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Cocktails ($10-$13) include the Cilantro Fizz and feature icons depicting whether they’re served up or on the rocks.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Non-alcoholic elixirs include the Coco Fresca with coconut milk, coconut water, simple syrup, sparkling water, and fresh lime juice.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Status: Projected to open at 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 8 (with a ticketed opening bash at 7 p.m.); 4238 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia; website.