Lifestyle

Manassas couple ties knot on live TV at Harris Pavilion

Ashley and Thomas get hitched at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.
Ashley and Thomas get hitched at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.
WTTG Channel 5 broadcasts morning show from Manassas.
WTTG Channel 5 broadcasts morning show from Manassas.

Ashley and Thomas are now one.

The newlyweds tied the knot on live TV Friday morning at Harris Pavilion in Downtown Manassas.

Getting married in front of many complete strangers, not to mention a live TV audience on WTTG Channel 5, was a bit unnerving for the groom.

“Yeah, that’s the nervous part of all this. But we’re ready,” said Thomas Joyce, a horticulturist in the City of Manassas.

He and his bride Ashley Thiesing met while in high school in Manassas six years ago. He now works for the city, and she just graduated college with a criminal justice degree.

Joyce never thought he would get married on live TV. But when the opportunity popped up, it was one that Amy Domenech, owner of Amy’s Bridal on Battle Street, couldn’t pass up.

“Fox 5 walked into my store and offered me this great opportunity,” she said.

About two weeks before broadcasting their morning show live from Harris Pavilion, the crew from the TV station scouted out locations in the city to see what they could feature while they were in town. They had the idea for the live wedding, and Domenech knew of the bride.

“She bought her dress in my store on the 4th of July. She just came from hair and makeup trial and looked fabulous in her dress,” said Domenech. “She kept saying ‘I would get married right now if I could,’ so when [Channel 5] said do it in 11 days, the rest is history.”

Amy’s Bridal organized the wedding from start to finish. Chairs were placed in rows, and cheesecloth decorations were hung around the pavilion.

The couple walked down the aisle about 10 a.m., exchanged their vows, and then stepped over to the TV hosts for the all-important post “I do” interview. The two plan to go on a honeymoon sometime in September, said Joyce.

Channel 5’s visit to Manassas is part of an ongoing series call “Zip Trip.” The TV station plans to broadcast from localities around the Washington, D.C. area until Labor Day.

Retiring Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan was honored as “Manassas hometown hero” during the broadcast for his more than 40 years in public service.

 

Bakery in Woodbridge offers European, New York desserts

Mario Rubio opened Bellash Bakery in Woodbridge.
The bakery serves New York and European style desserts.
According to Rubio, European baking ingredients can be difficult to get.
The bakery serves, cookies, cupcakes, pastries and more.
Rubio also does custom cake orders.

In the mood for some European-inspired deserts?

Bellash Bakery’s owner Mario Rubio, opened the New York and European style bakery a few months ago in Woodbridge.

“I saw there were no Italian or European bakeries around. So I thought it was something that the neighborhood would want,” said Rubio.

Rubio, who owned a bakery in New York for 30 years, wanted to bring residents a way to try European baked goods you couldn’t find elsewhere in the area.

Bellash Bakery offers an assortment of European desserts including butter cookies, Italian biscuits, French pastries, European tortes, cupcakes and Rubio’s custom cakes.

“A lot of people think that with a European bakery, they expect that all of our products come right from Europe. And around here, you aren’t really able to get those ingredients. But in New York, we are able to get those ingredients. So we are able to do a combination of the European tastes, with the American style bakery. You’re going to get the original taste from Europe, but you can imitate it with American ingredients,” said Rubio.

The bakery is located at Station Plaza on Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge.

The pollo guizado is great, at Woodbridge bakery

Guadalupe Castro immigrated to the United States from El Salvador decades ago.
She has owned a bakery in Falls Church for more than 30 years.
Her new location is near the Potomac Mills Mall.
They serve El Salvadorian food, desserts and custom cakes.
Castro makes many of the custom cake orders herself.
They typically sell more than 100 cakes a weekend.

Guadalupe Castro has been baking and cooking up classic El Salvadorian food for a long time.

Castro, who is the owner of Castro’s Bakery in Falls Church, recently opened the doors at her new location in Woodbridge, near Potomac Mills Mall.

Castro has owned the Falls Church location for 30-years, and after requests from customers, she decided to expand.

“She was thinking about opening a second location, and we came down a couple of times…and then when she saw this location – next to the [El Salvadorian embassy] – she thought ‘well okay, I’ll open it,’” said Pam, the Woodbridge bakery’s manager.

Castro immigrated to the United States from El Salvador decades ago, and built her businesses up from scratch.

“Her whole experience – how she worked herself up to where she is now – she’s amazing. She just has this gift about her with cooking,” said Pam.

The Castro’s Bakery location in Woodbridge offers not only baked goods and custom cakes, but traditional El Salvadorian food as well – like enchiladas, pollo guizado, and paselito de carne.

The bakery is located at 14556 Potomac Mills Road, and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sentara merges with Pratt Medical Center

pratt-medical-center

Sentara Healthcare merged with Pratt Medical Center.

Pratt serves 66,000 patients in Stafford, Fredericksburg, King George, and Dahlgren areas. The healthcare began looking for a new partnership last year.

“Sentara and Pratt share a common commitment to improving the quality of health care in their communities,” stated Stephen D. Porter, corporate vice president, Sentara Healthcare in a press release. “The more we discussed a partnership, the more our natural fit became apparent, with both cultures focused on quality, innovation and a commitment to placing the patient at the center of all we do.”

The new company will operate under the name “Sentara Pratt Medical Group.” Nearly 40 multi-speciality providers will work under the new name, according to a press release.

Patients will see few changes, according to Sentara spokeswoman Corianne Pafford: 

We expect few changes for patients. They are likely to notice some minor administrative changes, such as signage, web migration and email address changes over the coming months. Patients have also been informed to verify that their insurance will participate in the new group.

Overall, all locations (addresses) and phone contact will remain the same, as well as our collective commitment to quality care for the Greater Fredericksburg area.

Pratt’s facilities will add to Sentara’s healthcare portfolio which includes Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, formerly Potomac Hospital, and Sentara Lake Ridge.

Pratt Medical was founded in 1937 by Dr. Frank C. Pratt.

Sentara operates more than 100 healthcare offices and 12 hospitals. Sentara purchased Potomac Hospital in 2009 and then changed its name to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in 2012. Sentara Lake Ridge opened the same year.

Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA

Shae [Karen Presecan Photography]
Bitsy [Karen Presecan Photography]

The following animals are available for adoption at Stafford County SPCA. 
 
Bitsy is an approximately 9 week old, female, Bombay mix kitty. She is a very playful little gal, but is quick to cuddle up in your lap when she gets all tuckered out! Bitsy is FIV/FeLV negative, UTD on her kitten shots, and is looking for her forever home! We are currently accepting applications for Bitsy at: http://staffordspca.org/adoption-services/
 
Shae is an approximately 9 week old, female, Corgi/mystery mutt mix. Shae is a chill pup that loves to play with her brothers, sisters, and everyone she meets. She may or may not have supersonic hearing with those big ol’ ears! We are currently accepting applications for Shae and her siblings at http://staffordspca.org/adoption-services/
 
 

Restaurant promises ‘sweet’ burritos in Dale City

A new burrito joint is opening up in Dale City.
They promise fresh ingredients, every day.
The All American burrito.
Their Rise and Shiner breakfast burrito.
Sweeto Burrito will open August 17.

Try some unconventional eats at Sweeto Burrito in Dale City.

From their luchador theme to their unconventional menu, Sweeto Burrito will be one of the coolest places to eat in Dale City at the Staples Mill Plaza at the intersection of Minnieville Road and Spriggs Road.

The burrito franchise got its start as a food truck in Idaho in 2011, by owner Jon Pierre Francia.

“It was really a blue collar story, where a guy went and borrowed money from his family to start a food truck, and the market came to him to start franchising,” said Virginia’s Sweeto Burrito franchise owner Mike Sarago.

Sarago first got involved with the company after seeing them on the Travel Channel program ‘Food Paradise’. Shortly after the program aired, Sarago flew out to Arizona to meet with Francia.

“I went out with the intention of buying a two or three franchise unit package, and by the end of the weekend, I had bought the rights for the state of Virginia,” said Sarago.

There are currently plans to open 25 Sweeto Burrito locations in Virginia in the next 10 years. The first location will be opening on August 17.

While the Sweeto Burrito will offer traditional TexMex style burritos, they also have plenty of unconventional fare on their menu.

“The food is very unconventional, but it has a complex flavor profile that you wouldn’t expect to click in the way that it does. You’re combining things into these TexMex burritos and it really creates these new and original things, with all these flavors that just clash together in a very positive way,” said Sweeto Burrito manager Max Haddad.

Haddad mentioned two burritos in particular – the ‘Buff Chick’ and the ‘White Chick’.

The ‘Buff Chick’ includes Buffalo wings, tater tots, cilantro ranch dressing and cheese. The ‘White Chick’ has grilled chicken, black beans, pepperjack cheese, sour cream, rice and cilantro ranch dressing, said Haddad.

According to Haddad, they also offer breakfast burritos, including the ‘Rise and Shiner’ – with steak and eggs, cheese, tater tots, cilantro ranch dressing and sriracha sauce.

Once the location is open, Sarago plans to work with community groups to host fundraisers.

“We want to do a partnership in the community, and do fundraising, and donate to the schools. That’s something I’d like to be involved in,” said Sarago.

The restaurant will have its grand opening ceremony on August 22.

Late parks & rec director leaves little libraries in Manassas Park

Morretta, who served as the parks and recreation director for 20 years, passed away last month after battling cancer.
Morretta completed the little libraries in 2014.
All three libraries are located on the community center’s property on 99 Adams Street.

Former Manassas Park Parks & Recreation Director Catherine Morretta left the community with something to remember her by – three little free libraries at the Manassas Park Community Center.

Morretta, who served as the parks and recreation director for 20 years, passed away last month after battling cancer.

“Reading was extremely important to her, and she wanted to bring that to the park as well. So she wanted to promote reading at the park…on a nice day you could sit outside and read. The reading libraries were made for residents…she would even restock them out of her own [collection],” said Manassas Park Recreation Supervisor Tony Thomas.

Morretta completed the little libraries in 2014, working with co-worker Sue Griffith and her father Harry Griffith Jr, stated Thomas.

“I remember Catherine told us a story about living in Germany as a child and parks having these free libraries, and she wanted to bring that concept to Manassas Park,” said Thomas.

All three libraries are located on the community center’s property on 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park.

Potomac Local has added these little library locations to our map, along with the little library locations involved in our Greater Prince William Little Free Libraries project, with the Prince William Library Foundation.

This interactive online map will allow you to find all of the little free libraries in our area that are participating in our initiative.

Let us know where you’re putting your own PW Little Free Library! Be sure to include the name, street address, town name, and zip code! 

Also, post pictures of your library on the Library Foundation’s Facebook page.

Quantico coffee shop set to expand menu

Quantico Trading Company
Quantico Trading Company

The Quantico Trading Co. Coffee Shop opened in the Town of Quantico at the beginning of this year.

According to the shop’s owner and Quantico Mayor Kevin Brown, it serves gourmet coffee and espresso beverages made locally by Blackstone Coffee Company in Fredericksburg.

He owns the coffee shop with his wife Carrie Brown. Brown, who has nine children, even had his oldest child begin their first job working at the shop.

“We serve all of the traditional coffee and espresso drinks – lattes, mochas, cappuccinos. We recently added milkshakes and fruit smoothies to the menu. We also have bagels and breakfast sandwiches and some lunch items.

“Our most popular is our turkey bacon avocado sandwich,” said Brown.

Brown stated that an expanded menu will be released next month.

For Brown, starting his own business had always been a goal, after working for several years in the restaurant industry.

“I have a full time job as a project manager for a large IT company. My family moved to town in 2004 while I was an active duty Marine, and I have also always had the desire to own my own business,” said Brown.

Currently the shop is open from Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Manassas makes History Channel

Downtown Manassas will make its television debut on a History Channel program this year.

According to Manassas Museum programs coordinator Doug Horhota, the History Channel decided to film a program on war trains in Manassas because the city is known for its trains.

“We shot the footage at three locations: Liberia Plantation, Manassas Railway Depot, and the Manassas National Battlefield Park” said Horhota.

Horhota was interviewed for the program because of his work at the museum, and his extensive knowledge on the city’s train history.

Manassas just hosted their 21st annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival on June 6.

The trains filmed for the program were used during the Civil War for carrying supplies for troops.

The program is set to air at the end of this year.

Brunch series: A la carte seafood and classics at CJ Finz’s brunch

Chris Sellers and John Kibben own CJ Finz.
On their brunch menu they offer crab cakes Benedict, Chesapeake omelettes, the classic steak and eggs and grits and gravy.
Their brunch is served a la carte.

CJ Finz, a new seafood restaurant located in Downtown Manassas, offers wholesome classics at their weekly brunch.

The restaurant – which is located on West Street – serves their brunch every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

They’ve only been open since February, but have already received a warm welcome from the community.

“We grew up in Manassas and having the opportunity to open our restaurant in the town in which we grew up was a great feeling.  Getting through the build-out period and opening the doors was a process to say the least but, well worth the warm welcome we have received from fellow Manassas residents,” said co-owner Chris Sellers.

While many restaurants serve brunch buffet style, CJ Finz serves their brunch a la carte.

“We chose to go with a la carte as opposed to buffet because we wanted to be able to give individual attention to each plate and make sure every customer had a great brunch experience,” said Sellers.

On their brunch menu you’ll find a crab cakes Benedict, Chesapeake omelettes, the classic steak and eggs and grits and gravy, said co-owner John Kibben.

According to CJ Finz’s chef Will Landay, a good brunch consists of well made basics and fresh ingredients.

“We think what makes a great brunch is having a good mix of the breakfast and lunch items that people love without making things so basic that they aren’t worth leaving home for.  For example, we make fresh hollandaise sauce every day for brunch, that’s something your average person can’t do at home.  We want you to remember coming to brunch here every time you sit down to eat breakfast,” said Landay.

Have a place you enjoy for brunch? Let us know!

Prince William County welcomes the world to the 2015 Quicken Loans National PGA Tour

  • Prince William County Economic Development
  • Address: 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 240, Gainesville, Va. 20155
  • Phone: (703) 792-5500
  • Website: http://www.pwcecondev.org/
Quicken Loans National PGA Tour , Prince William County

The countdown is on to when the global spotlight will be on Prince William County!

Beginning July 27 and running through to August 2, 2015, the Quicken Loans National PGA Tour will be held at the Robert Trent Jones (RTJ) Golf Club in Prince William County, Virginia. 

The golf tournament, in its ninth year, promises to be a history-making event as some 100,000 spectators attend and an estimated 1 billion households tune in to see 120 PGA TOUR players vie for the $6.7 million purse.  Nestled along the banks of picturesque Lake Manassas, RTJ is a prestigious venue providing world-class amenities and breathtaking scenery. 

The golf course itself is no stranger to professional golf as the birthplace of the Presidents Cup tournament in 1994 and having hosted the tournament three times subsequently in 1996, 2000 and 2005.

The event is a welcomed opportunity to showcase the entire community, not only to visiting patrons, but to the rest of the world.  Spectators, clients and families alike will discover that Prince William County’s abundant economic opportunities are as diverse as the top-flight recreational and cultural amenities, which makes it a unique place to Live. Work. Play and Stay!

Billed as this summer’s largest outdoor party in Prince William County, the tournament promises to provide the ultimate fan experience with upgraded concessions, lawn games, a putting experience for spectators and even private cabanas. 

This year, the tournament will introduce the Quicken Loans National summer concert stage outside of the main entrance gate from Thursday to Saturday, which will feature local bands during tournament week; and the Quicken Loans Hole-in-One House will return for its second year, which will be situated between the 18th green and the clubhouse and will feature live tournament streaming and more.

Beyond the course, Prince William County is also well known for several national outdoor recreation retail destinations – Golfsmith, Gander Mountain, REI and, coming soon – Cabela’s.  The County is home to 21 golf courses including a publicly accessible Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at the Potomac Shores Golf Club.  It is estimated that the local golf industry generates some $36 million in sales annually and employs over 700 people. 

So the stage is set and the countdown is on.  Come and be part of history being made while basking in the warmth, hospitality and charm of Prince William County.  We look forward to welcoming you to what will undoubtedly be an experience to remember, after which, you will know why we proudly call Prince William County home.

Prince William County Fair coming Aug. 14 – 22

The Prince William County Fair is coming in August.
There will be lots of fun events and rides for the family.
This is the fair's 66th year.
It is the largest county fair in Virginia.
There will be monster trucks and demo derby.

The Prince William County Fair is coming soon.

According to spokeswoman Chrissy Taylor, Prince William will be hosting their 66th annual fair from August 14 to August 22.

It is the largest county fair in Virginia, and they are projecting to have more than 95,000 attendees at the fair this year, said Taylor.

More on this year’s events from a fair release:

This year we are featuring our legendary midway, a circus, a dinosaur show, a bear show, the baby contest, livestock shows, and a comedian who hails from Maryland and SO much more! Of course we will also have our grandstand events such as the truck and tractor pull, demolition derby, monster truck show, and more! This year we are featuring wine tastings from Mattaponi Winery in the commercial building to help circulate patrons through the building and in turn helping all of our vendors gain clients.

Write by the Rails creates two little free libraries in Manassas

Write by the Rails is a reading and writing organization in Manassas
On Sunday, the group created two little free libraries.
Write by the Rails is one of the partners of the GPW Little Free Libraries project.
The group built a little library for the Nokesville United Methodist Church.

Over the weekend, members of the Manassas Write by the Rails group gathered to create free little libraries for the Greater Prince William (GPW) Little Free Libraries project.

Potomac Local has partnered with Write by the Rails and the Prince William Library Foundation to get several little free library locations set up across the greater Prince William area.

Belinda Miller, who has spearheaded Write by the Rail’s involvement in the project, spoke with several group members about the little library locations they would like to build in Manassas.

On Sunday they were able to build a little free library for the Nokesville United Methodist Church, and begin the library for the New School.

More on the project from author Victor Rook:

A first prototype was constructed in just a few hours using donated recycled materials. Authors Dan Verner and Nick Kelly repurposed a few shelving panels and a solid birch top to create one of the now five designated libraries. We are still in need of more wood, hinges, knobs, and plexi glass, so if you have these supplies and would like to donate, email Belinda at belindamiller1@me.com.

This interactive online map will allow you to find all of the little free libraries in our area that are participating in our initiative.

Let us know where you’re putting your own PW Little Free Library! Be sure to include the name, street address, town name, and zip code! 

Also, post pictures of your library on the Library Foundation’s Facebook page.

Brunch series: Standard American fare at City Grille in Manassas

City Grille offers a Sunday brunch.
The grille is located off of Balls Ford Road in Manassas.
The buffet is all you can eat.
They serve a variety of American fare.
The grille's chef does weekly watermelon carving.

If you’re looking for a traditional Sunday morning brunch, then stop by the City Grille in Manassas.

The City Grille, located on Balls Ford Road, has been owned by Eugene McCant since 2009.

“We are in the location that many locals remember as Pargo’s Restaurant,” stated McCant.

According to McCant, their menu is standard American fare including prime rib, wings and burgers. They also have an outdoor patio and tiki bar.

City Grille has its all-you-can-eat brunch buffet menu on Sunday’s from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“[It] includes an omelet station where omelets are cooked to order in front of you.  The buffet also includes Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, corn beef hash, bacon, sausage, grits, pasta, pastries, fresh fruit, creamed chipped beef, sausage gravy, homefries, broccoli saad, and seasonal additions,” said McCant.

The grille’s chef also does watermelon carving most weeks which many guests enjoy, McCant said.

Have a place you enjoy for brunch? Let us know!

HOPE crew learns new job skills at Prince William Forest Park

The HOPE crew are working on a project at Prince William Forest Park.
One of the crew members, Tikerra Smith, is a local Woodbridge resident and Potomac High School graduate.
Devin Teachey is a Longwood University sophmore.
The crew is working to restore windows and chimneys at two cabin camp sites.
Many workers in the preservation field are near retirement, according to Rhodes.

This summer, a group of young adults will be learning a new set of job skills at Prince William Forest Park.

The park is hosting the Hands on Preservation Experience (HOPE) crew to work on a 10-week preservation project at two of their cabin camp sites.

The HOPE crew is part of a program with the National Trust Program under the National Park Service and the Conservation Cores. Their funding comes from National Park Service from various sources in their budget, said HOPE crew Associate Director Monica Rhodes.

A chance for young adults to get into the historic preservation field

The program, which started last year, gives 18 to 25 year olds around the country a chance to work on preservation jobs in national parks.

“Most of the people we work with have an interest in history, and an interest in buildings, but haven’t put those two things together, and that’s where you get historic preservation. Taking care of, and learning about structures that are in need of repair and rehab,” said Rhodes.

According to Rhodes, the program is a way to get younger people involved in stewardship of national parks,

“Right now we have four [HOPE crew] members working in this park…they’re reglazing windows…they fix broken windows – they replace those…The National Park Service has been a great partner, in not only helping us to identify historic resources, but also sharing the history of the parks. Many of the CORE members have not had an opportunity to come to parks before. So they wouldn’t be in these parks if they weren’t here to work on a HOPE crew project. So they’re learning the history, they’re learning about park service,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes stated that there is a need for a new generation of workers in historic preservation, as many of the preservation professionals are nearing retirement age, and this program gives young adults a rare ‘foot in the door’.

“Most of the people who are your preservation masons…preservation and master carpenters are 75, 80 years old…so there’s this big gap of people who are about to retire…and young people who are interested in these things, but there’s really not an opportunity to practice these skills, to learn these skills, to really get into the field,” Rhodes commented.

The work HOPE crew members are doing at Prince William Forest Park

Currently, the four HOPE crew members and park maintenance staff are working to restore and preserve historic windows and chimneys at two of their cabin camp sites.

According to Rocky Schroeder, a spokesman for Prince William Forest Park, the crew is doing well, five weeks into the project.

“This is something where they can say, ‘Hey I was on the HOPE crew, and I helped do this,’ and have satisfaction. They’re doing quite well,” said Schroeder.

One of the crew members, Tikerra Smith, is a local Woodbridge resident and Potomac High School graduate.

“I’ve been glazing windows, painting them – restoring glass. I’ve taken windows out and put them back in and soon hopefully I’ll start to go work on the chimneys…it’s an experience I wanted, plus it’s a summer job. I can use [these skills] in the future,” said Smith.

Another one of the HOPE crew members is Longwood University sophomore Devin Teachey, who feels he will use the job skills again in the future.

“Before [this summer] I’d never done this before…the best thing about what I’m doing is learning new skills. Maybe in the future I can do this again,” said Teachey.

Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores a culinary destination

  • Tidewater Grill
  • Phone: 571-383-3050

Matthew Blazey is executive chef The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Che Crabcake Sandwich at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Pork Belly Bites at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Watermelon Salad at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Shrimp Tacos at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores

Between the Potomac River and the 18th hole of the Potomac Shores Golf Club, the Tidewater Grill sits like an oasis in the quiet of nature, cut off from the bustling city not too far beyond its walls.

In the kitchen, Executive Chef Matthew Blazey is cooking up something delicious.

“These are our pork belly bites,” Chef Blazey says, motioning towards one dish. “We braze pork belly in a bunch of seasonings, a little bit of vinegar, apple cider vinegar and some apple juice. We cool it down, cut it into cubes and then we fry it really quickly so it’s nice and crispy. Then we top it with jalapeños, scallions, and fresh cilantro.”

When asked about the kind of person that eats this dish, Chef Blazey laughs. “Everyone loves this dish,” he says.

The enthusiastic chef says that the Tidewater Grill has fun with its food.

“It is a golf club, so you have to have those staples like a burger, a hot dog, wings. We have those, but with our own twist. For instance, our hot dog isn’t your typical hot dog. It’s got bacon jam; caramelized onion and yellow mustard. We like to cook food that not only we like to eat, but people like to eat.”

Matt has been the Executive Chef for Tidewater Grill since before it opened last year. His passion for being in the kitchen began when he dropped out of the university where he had been studying business.

“I hated it,” Chef Matt said. “It wasn’t my kind of learning. I’m a very visual and hands on person. You can tell me how to do something until I’m blue in the face, but I’m not going to fully get it until I actually do it.”

He picked up a job at a golf course in Mason, Ohio instead. “I started working in the kitchen and I fell in love with it,” he said.

Years later, it’s clear the chef still feels strongly connected to the work that he’s involved in and passionate about being in the kitchen.

“That’s where everyone wants to be. It’s exciting, it’s dynamic. There’s always something to do. You know, we’re back there sweating bullets all day, behind a grill in this fast paced environment.”

He also has experience working in a variety of different environments, from hotels in busy city areas to the expansive wildlife of Virginia.

“If I want to take a break from the hotel, going outside there’s taxi cabs flying past me, there’s potholes, and people honking their horns,” Chef Matt said.

Things are different at the Tidewater Grill.

“Here, if I want to go outside, I go out on the back patio and there’s a bald eagles nest adjacent to our clubhouse. The Potomac River is a stones throw away and we’re looking out over the beautiful 18thhole.”

The atmosphere even inspires Chef Matt in the dishes that he makes and the ingredients he decides to use. “We’ve got crab all over the place in our menu: crab cake, crab mac n’ cheese, crab corn chowder.” He adds that the Tidewater Grill features meat and produce from local farms.

“You’re not only supporting local businesses and the local community, it shows the people dining in your establishment what they can also get and what their neighbors are producing,” he said.

Now that he’s Executive Chef, Matt spends a little less time in the kitchen. “My line cooks are probably faster than me now. They can probably run circles around me, so I rely heavily on them in that aspect.”

The chef also enjoys checking on tables and making connections with guests. He says it isn’t just compliments about the food that he’s pleased to hear.

“I like to hear them talk about how much they not only love the food, but just love coming here in general. Because of the atmosphere, you know the service that our staff gives, the conversationsthey have with guests, that whole interaction”

But of course, food is his main priority.

“Here, we have the luxury of making food that we believe in and changing it constantly,” Chef Mattsays.

“If we throw something against the wall and it sticks, awesome. If we throw something against the wall and it doesn’t, then we move on to the next.”

Chef Matt claims there’s nothing like the Tidewater Grill in this area. “I want to make it a destination,” he said.

It seems for Chef Matt at least, it already is one.

“We’re open 7 days a week,” he says. “Come on down.”

This promoted post and accompanying video was written and produced by Potomac Local.

Children stuff their faces at Manassas watermelon eating contest

Manassas watermelon eating contest.
Manassas watermelon eating contest.
Manassas watermelon eating contest.
Manassas watermelon eating contest.

Residents descended upon Downtown Manassas on Saturday to “Celebrate America” on Independence Day.

In addition to fireworks, there was a bicycle decorating contest, a pie eating contest, and a children’s watermelon eating contest during the celebration.

Here are some photos of the children’s watermelon eating contest held at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.

Beer, Wine & Spirits Trail in Prince William, Manassas

Discover the wine, beer and spirits trail right here in Prince William & Manassas. With a variety of beverage options there is sure to be something to satisfy everyone along this libation filled trail.

Winery at La Grange – This scenic 22 acre farm vineyard is a relaxing and restful place to spend a sunny afternoon sipping wine.  A fully renovated manor house dating back to 1790, is now used as the main Tasting Room.   It sits at an elevation of about 600 feet, right at the base of the Bull Run Mountain foothills.

Winery at Bull Run – A working farm vineyard in an authentic 1860’s setting. The winery adjoins over 5,000 countryside acres of the historic Manassas National Battlefield Park offering a glimpse of Virginia’s rich heritage along with fine Virginia wines.

Bad Wolf Brewing Company – The first micro-brewery to open in Manassas that specializes in exquisite craft beers that are ever changing.

Heritage Brewing Company – A uniquely American Brewery, owned and operated by veterans.  1% of all proceeds are donated to philanthropic efforts that give back to their country & community all while making 100% American microbrews.

–  Tin Cannon Brewery – The first nanobrewery in Prince William & Manassas, located in Gainesville is serving up some new and innovative brews that push the limits. From bacon to chipotle peppers you never know what flavors they will come up with next.

As if these wineries and breweries were not enough to quench your thirst, there are several more spirited businesses that are scheduled to open a little later this year.

K&O Distillary – A brand new distillery creating a product line of craft distilled beverages at the 12-thousand square foot facility. KO Distilling plans on opening an area for tours, taste-testing, special events, and product sales in the very near future.

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits – MurLarkey Distilled Spirits, located in Bristow, Virginia is a Small Batch Craft-distillery, specializing in Whiskey. Using 100% organic grains, all natural ingredients and botanicals ensures the production of premium spirits.

Ornery Beer Company & Public House – The very 1st Brew Pub in Prince William County you will be able to find not only delicious and unique craft beers here, but also a meticulously prepared food menu that compliments the beers served.

For more information about where to eat, drink and shop visit Discoverpwm.com  

‘Manassas Pete’ talks rock n’ roll, candles and inspiration

Manassas native Pete Evick – known by many as ‘Manassas Pete’, has had an interesting assortment of life experiences.

The Stonewall Jackson High School graduate has worked with rockstar Bret Michaels for the last 10 years as his lead guitarist, and co-writer and producer of Michael’s last two records.

“I was a huge fan of Poison growing up, and my band was his opening act for a tour, and we got to be buddies then. And then he invited me to be his guitar player and my band to be his band – and we’ve just seen the world,” said Evick.

Despite living the rockstar lifestyle, Evick decided early on that he wanted to keep living in Manassas, and raise his family there.

“Was born and raised [in Manassas] and still live here to this day. Manassas – it’s always been my home – it’s where I grew up. And even when I raised my kids – I’ve been in the music business my entire life…and I spent a lot of time in New York, and some time in [Los Angeles] but I never wanted to go live that life. I lived the life in a small town and then once I had kids, I wanted them to have that same kind of life too,” Evick commented.

During his music career, he stumbled on to candle making, and began his own company – Shining Sol Candle Company – which manufactures products in Virginia.

“Being a musician, my life has been loud. And we were off tour a little bit, and I was taking a break…I spent a lot of time in Arizona [for music]…and in Arizona they put candles in their fireplace instead of lighting fires…then I happened to go to a candle store and buy a candle that was supposed to smell like a fireplace. And I had never had a hobby in my entire life aside from music…and I just started thinking about if I could make one of those…and finally I was doing something quiet, peaceful,” Evick said.

Evick’s most recent adventure has been writing a book about his life experience, following a personal tragedy, titled ‘The Moments That Make Us.’

“Most musicians at some point in their life, I think, tend to write a book. With such an interesting life you live, you manage to pick up an amazing amount of stories. I started writing this book when I was forced with the fact that my family was going to split up – me and my wife were getting a divorce and had two kids. The book was originally a collection of thoughts and fears about what was going to happen with my children…but after writing, I realized I had written a book that was much more inspiring,” said Evick.

Evick still performs and tours with Michaels, and runs Shining Sol Candle Company.

Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA

Found dog
Kingston
Solomon
 
Solomon is a 7-year-old Rottweiler that is a staff and volunteer favorite. He loves playing with his basketball and getting belly rubs.
 
He is a pro at yard zoomies! Solomon needs a 6 foot, fully enclosed fence to run and play in. He would do best as an only pet in a home that has prior big dog experience and no young children. Solomon is neutered, UTD on vaccines, and microchipped.
 
Kingston is a 2-year-old, black and white, short haired kitty with lots of love to give! He is sure to entertain you with his quirky personality, while still being a cool, calm guy that enjoys the quieter moments in life. Kingston is neutered, UTD on all vaccines, and is ready for his forever home!
 
FOUND DOG. Beautiful white Pit / Pit Mix rescued from the road @ midnight on 06/22 in the Stafford area. The family was on their way home to Alexandria, and they took the pup home and he has been cared for there ever since.  If you have any information please call 540-657-7387.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above. 

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