Ralph Davis and son open Mystic BBQ and Grill in Alexandria

Ralph Davis, a longtime favorite restaurateur in Alexandria, has teamed up with his son Matt to come out of retirement to open Mystic BBQ and Grill. A ribbon cutting to officially open the restaurant was held May 10 at 220 North Lee Street.

Davis, known for popular restaurants such as R.T.’s in Arlandria, and The Wharf and The Warehouse on King Street in Old Town, decided to get back into the restaurant business and partner with his son after selling his other restaurants in recent years.

“R.T.’s was the last restaurant for me to sell,” Davis said. “My wife passed away 4 ½ years ago and selling R.T.’s was sort of a knee jerk reaction after her death. But I realize that when you retire you need to have a plan and I did not have a plan. So when Matt came to me with an interest in opening a restaurant, it was the right decision for me.”

The cuisine at Mystic BBQ and Grill features a mix of southern favorites and BBQ selections.

Ralph and Matt Davis, second and third from right in back, pose for a photos with staff at Mystic BBQ and Grill 


“The name is misleading since we are not just a BBQ restaurant,” Davis said. “We have varied menu dishes that includes some BBQ.”

The name and interior honor Davis’s late wife Kristen, who died in January of 2020.

“My wife’s favorite song was Into the Mystic by Van Morrison, so that is how we came up with the name,” Davis said. “And Kris loved making playlists so the music and name are a connection to my wife.”

Davis grew up in Alexandria and graduated from Hammond High School in 1967. After getting a degree in political science from Old Dominion University, he took a job as a bartender at The Wharf with the intention of staying for a year before starting graduate school.

“I first started in 1973 as a bartender at the Wharf and never left,” Davis said. “I am a foodie and the restaurant business has been my calling.”

Many of the popular dishes at his previous restaurants have been the work of Davis himself and the menu at Mystic again features some of his creations. There is a full bar menu with a mix of beers, wines and specialty cocktails.

Davis is excited to open Mystic in partnership with his son Matt and hopes for the success of his previous endeavors.

“I have had a great run in this business but this is just the beginning for Matt,” Davis said. “I want this to be a success as he carries on providing great service and cuisine in our hometown.”

Mystic BBQ & Grill, 220 N. Lee Street, 703-565-9808, www.mysticbbqandgrill.com