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Restaurants

C.J. Finz brings southern-style seafood to Downtown Manassas

raw bar, Manassas, virginia

Chris Sellers and John Kibben opened their first restaurant, C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille in Downtown Manassas at 9413 West Street, on February 11, offering residents a taste of Southern-style seafood.

According to Sellers, their inspiration for the restaurant came from their love of seafood they ate on trips to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

“I got tired of having seafood only once or twice a year, so we decided to bring our love for the Outer Banks here to historical Downtown Manassas,” said Sellers.

With the support of local business owners and the community, the restaurant got off to a great start with a busy grand opening.

“We exceeded – four times – what we had forecasted [for our grand opening],” Sellers said.

The building, which was previously a Subway sandwich location, needed some transformation to turn it into the atmosphere Sellers and Kibben were looking to achieve.

“We wanted to do an industrial shabby-chic look – we didn’t want anything cookie cutter. We’re dealing with a very small space, so we’re a boutique style restaurant,” Sellers commented.

C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille also has a patio and deck area that the owners intend to capitalize on in the summer time for concert series, and allow patrons to watch outdoor events in the area, like parades.

Among the menu items the restaurant offers, Sellers said that the fried pickles were the top appetizer, and that their ahi tuna salad, fried oyster po-boy sandwich, lobster roll and barbecue shrimp with cheesy grits were among the top items they serve.

“We’re not the only one [in Manassas] doing seafood, but I think we’re the only one [focusing] exclusively on seafood – but it’s a menu for everyone,” said Sellers.

Before opening the restaurant, Sellers worked as a manager at the City Tavern for 15 years. The owners of City Tavern, along with other local business owners, have helped to support them, and they hope to return the favor to the community.

“We want to be a local business; we want to help the community, work with others – that’s all we want,” Sellers said.

For every burrito sold, El Cactus in Manassas gives $2 back

El Cactus Owner Brian Hollenbach made the winning soup at this year's "Souper Bowl" held in Historic Downtown Manassas.

When Brian Hollenbach moved to the Manassas area to launch his first Mexican restaurant El Cactus last year, he had two things in mind – great food and the community.

Located on 9406 Battle Street in Downtown Manassas, the restaurant has become known for its Taco Tuesdays and a rotating menu of quirky and playful ingredients.

el cactus 1 manassas vaHollenbach has been in the restaurant industry for 21-years, working all across Virginia, but for him, Downtown Manassas is the community where he wants El Cactus to thrive.

“When we were looking to start a restaurant, we wanted our core values [to be] – the strength of the community, the strength of Manassas, is the strength of El Cactus,” said Hollenbach.

And this strength has paid off, winning El Cactus the Best Dessert title in last year’s Taste of Manassas for their tres de leches. Additionally, the restaurant won the February “Souper Bowl” First Friday event in Downtown Manassas with their tortilla soup.

According to Hollenbach, the top selling item at El Cactus is the tableside guacamole, and the top taco is their Carne Angus taco.

One thing that El Cactus has become known for is their playful menu and their willingness to try out interesting food combinations. One of these items is the “Korean Taco” – a marinated rib eye taco with kimchi.

They’ve offered a whole slew of interesting tacos on their menu, including venison, bison, sea bass, and crab.

Their current features taco is their take on a lobster roll, Hollenbach said.

“We take a flour tortilla, we flash fry it, so it puffs up, and then we do a cold lobster salad, and a little bit of Old Bay, a little bit of lime juice, a little bit of cilantro and a little bit of mayo,” Hollenbach stated.

In addition to their creative food offerings, El Cactus has also served infused tequilas, Cactus Pear Margaritas and even fried tequila.

And while El Cactus has established a reputation for delicious and creative food, they’ve also become known for their work in the community.

They host several charity events and fundraisers throughout the year, partnering with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and schools including Osborne High School and Metz Middle School, often donating large amounts of food.

Hollenbach also said that El Cactus works with military organizations as well, donating proceeds from menu items purchased.

“[For] every burrito we sell – $2 goes to a hero organization. We launched our National Burrito Day with the Wounded Warrior project, as well as the Navy Seal Foundation and the Volunteer Fire Department in Manassas,” Hollenbach said.

El Cactus plans to continue their community efforts, and will compete in next year’s Taste of Manassas with their tableside guacamole, Korean taco, and fried Oreo dessert.

Hollenbach is hopeful for the future of El Cactus and the Downtown Manassas community as a whole.

“We wanted Old Town Manassas to be a destination. It already had some amazing restaurants, and we’re looking forward to more coming in…we just want the community to thrive,” Hollenbach said.

Help CASA save children at Capitol Steps comedy show

All proceeds raised for show help CASA, other area organizations 

capitol steps, hylton, rotary

The Capitol Step will perform at the Hylton Performing Arts Center thanks to Bull Run Rotary.

The Capitol Steps are coming to the Hylton Performing Arts Center on Feb. 21. Its’ a show organized by the Bull Run Rotary Club in Manassas, and a sell-out show will raise funds for organizations helping our neighbors in need. 

Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, is one of those organizations helping children in Prince William.

CASA Children’s Intervention Services has been appointed to and worked with over 3,000 abused, neglected and abandoned children in Greater Prince William since 1994.

More than 150 specially trained advocates gave over 20,000 hours to help insure that nearly 500 abused children, before the court, are kept safe, are provided needed services to overcome the impact of their maltreatment and have all they need to become physically, mentally and emotionally strong. CASA investigates, monitors, reports and is a special friend to child victims who have been beaten, starved, burnt, raped, trafficked, born drug exposed, imprisoned in their homes and more. CASA advocates providing hope, help and advocacy for these hurting children. According to a report by the Attorney General, children with a CASA spend less time in foster care, receive more services, are less likely ever to be reabused and are more likely to be adopted if they cannot return home.

CHILDREN STARVED, ABANDONED Cassie lived in fear that she would starve, she was 4. One day Cassie did not get dressed quickly enough. Cassie’s mom told her she could not have any food that day as punishment.

Mom made her sit and watch as she prepared and ate breakfast, lunch and dinner for herself. The longest she remembered not eating was 3 days. It was reported, the court appointed a CASA for Cassie. Mom told the court she did not want Cassie anyway.

The CASA advocated for help for Cassie. She lived in fear of not surviving and not being loved. The CASA visited this child, every week for over 2 years, met regularly with her service providers and foster parents, advocated at all the hearings, and worked to help insure a successful adoption where she was asked by the adoptive parents with whom she had worked so closely to be Cassie’s Godmother.

CHILDREN RAPED A mother had some evidence that her three year old child had been sexually molested by her new husband. The advocate began an investigation for more information which took her by phone to six states and uncovered eight previous girlfriends or wives, whose children had allegedly been sexually assaulted by this same man. Some were never proven in court, for lack of sufficient evidence, and therefore not on record.

Finally, in one state, her investigation found a mother who had discovered this man in bed with her 12 year old daughter and had successfully prosecuted him. She found reports of this man’s regular presence outside a local school and his picking up a young girl to take her home.

This information, not previously known to the court, helped to keep the child in Prince William from further harm as the man fled the state and was later asked for by a neighboring state as they sought to prosecute him for offenses in their state.

CHILDREN BORN SUBSTANCE EXPOSED Two children were removed from their parents. The parents were drug abusers whose last child was born substance exposed and who were reported several times for being under the influence for days at a time leaving their 3 year old to fend for himself. The parents took the children from their placement and disappeared.

Weeks passed and they were not found but there was serious concern for their safety. The advocate journeyed from door to door following lead after lead to help find the children. After three weeks of diligent searching, he found them hiding with the children in a shack in the middle of debris with no electricity, running water or heat for the cold winter weather. The advocate alerted police and the children were safely retrieved.

CHILDREN BEATEN When a Prince William child, severely physically and mentally disabled from severe physical abuse, was moved to a facility in another state, the presiding Judge was very concerned that he could not be certain how the child was doing when he was so far away from the court that sought to protect him. The advocates, a husband and wife team, at their own expense, traveled each month to the institution to visit him.

Well after the court was involved, the couple continued to be the only “family” the young man had still visiting on his birthday, Christmas and several other times each year.

The goal

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors. These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place we can be proud of. They cannot do it alone!

Order tickets online or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event please contact Steve Chapman, steve@washmydeck.com by Feb. 10.

Popular ‘Attack the Fat Challenge’ starts Monday at Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center

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Do you know about the Attack the Fat Challenge? It’s one of the most popular, effective, and fun weight-loss programs at the Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center
 
It’s open to anyone, at any fitness level.
 
Robin Frey is a fitness program coordinator, certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and the director of Freedom Attack the Fat Challenge at Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center in Manassas. We spoke with her to get the 
 
Frey

Frey

What is the Attack The Fat Challenge?

 
“It’s more of a full spectrum weight loss program and it runs for eight weeks…it’s based on focusing on weight loss but the overall effort that we do is that we want to promote and create lifestyle changes, not just during the eight weeks. For most people it’s just the starting point. A lot of people do it repeatedly because it works for them…and depending on the amount of weight they wish to lose, it may not happen in eight weeks.”   
 
What do participants do while in Attack The Fat Challenge? 
 
“Well actually the whole concept is they do train…and it’s based on percentage of weight loss…we make it a challenge so that it has some competitive edge to it but the overall focus is just to create a balance of accountability…to continue with fitness efforts for health, not necessarily for fitness. In other words, this is based on health and wellness, getting people appropriate nutrition and just trying to create a consistent effort with lifestyle change, it’s long term.”
 
 How much does the program cost?
 
“It [the program] breaks down to 20 dollars a session and the total cost is $480 but you’re getting 24 sessions, 24 full one-hour sessions…then in addition to that they get the support through nutrition tips and guidance…and body composition testing as well.” Frey also mentioned that there is an additional cost to non-members of the Freedom Center. 
 
 Attack-the-Fat-2015-flyer-791x1024How long does the challenge last? 
 
“Participants train three days a week with a trainer so it’s three one-hour sessions so they’re basically getting 24 training sessions as a group within that eight weeks, three times a week. In addition to that support that we offer is through our smart lab for evidence based testing for body composition or those types of things and also we do weekly weigh-ins”.
 
Is the Attack The Fat Challenge a seasonal program? 
 
“It’s twice a year, typically we do it  in February, March and then again in September.”
 
Is it too late to sign up? 
 
“The Attack The Fat Challenge  starts on Monday, Feb. 2. Registration does require you to be registered prior to the program but we work with people as well.”
 
Why did Frey get involved with the Attack The Fat Challenge?
 
“Well I started it, actually it’s been six years running now. I just felt that there was a need here at the Freedom Center to create programming in small groups that could be something that could bring more of an effort of accountability to each other, that tends to help. People can do training all the time but when they have other people depending on them to be part of their team, their group, it’s very successful. The success rate is much higher as far as them making the sessions, having to be responsible for that weekly weigh-in and then they bond and create groups that continue to train after that. We just didn’t have anything happening here in that capacity in programming.”
 
How does the Attack The Fat Challenge stand apart from similar programs?
 
“We were probably the original in this area. I know other facilities have programs similar to what we do, it’s a basic concept of accountability, through training, weigh-ins, and nutrition information…it’s just been very, very successful for us here. This our sixth year I believe, might even be longer. It tends to work. We provide a variety of workouts through different types of training. We may have them in the pool, TRX suspension training, circuit training, functional core…in other words we do a little bit of everything that we offer here…within those 24 sessions they’re getting a very large variety of different modalities of training.”
 
Why do people sign up?
 
Participants will] form groups and become friends and bond in that respect and want to continue to do it again, that kind of thing….plus we’ve had people that have lost over 100 pounds…it’s been very effective overall.” 

Keep Reading…

Come see the Capitol Steps at Hylton Arts Center & help Cecily replace the asbestos-laden siding on her home

When Cecily was in her 20’s she immigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua.

capitol stepsTaking a job at Home Depot in Springfield, Cecily met her future husband, Eddy, who had emigrated from Palau. Cecily and Eddy married in 2008 and now share their Woodbridge home with their two children, Cecily’s mother, and grandmother.

A tight-knit family, everyone pitches in to help. Cecily operates a daycare from her home while also attending school at Northern Virginia Community College.

Cecily’s mom is a certified nursing assistant with a job in Washington, D.C. Eddy continues to work at Home Depot and he and Cecily’s mom and grandmother all help care for the children, too.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County is looking forward to giving this hard working family a hand up with much-needed critical home repairs that will make their home safer, more comfortable and affordable.

Habitat for Humanity will replace the boiler that is original to the home, replace asbestos siding from three sides of the exterior and replace non-functional windows throughout the home. The deck must be rebuilt for safety. And the home will be weatherized for energy efficiency.

Habitat for Humanity thanks you for your support of the Capitol Steps event and welcomes you to join them on their work sites as a volunteer!

To learn more, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website at habitatpwc.org.

Mark your calendars for Laughs & Love benefit February 21 at 7 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Not only are we having the hilarious Capitol Steps come to the beautiful Hylton Center, but our Rotary Club has proudly partnered with Casa, Habitat for Humanity, Rainbow Center Therapeutic Riding, Calling All Souls and Transitional Housing Barn as the beneficiaries this year.

The goal?

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors. These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place we can be proud of.

They cannot do it alone!

To order tickets go to Hyltoncenter.org or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event, please contact Steve Chapman, steve@washmydeck.com by Feb 10.

The preceding post was sponsored by Rotary Club of Bull Run.

ANU students take MLK Day, register to vote in Prince William County

Vote, MLK day, election

In recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday and a day of service, Medical Assistant students from the Northern Virginia Campus of American National University collectively registered to vote in Prince William County. 

Their inspiration came not only from Dr. Martin Luther King, but also from the ANU Mission Statement, which states, “Graduates of American National University should understand and practice their responsibilities to their families, their fellow men and their communities by becoming effective and contributing citizens.”

Led by their instructor, MJ Williams of the Roanoke Campus, the students committed to volunteering in the community and becoming informed voters.

Work stalls on new Fuddruckers in Woodbridge

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Fuddruckers will occupy old Cheeseburger in Paradise

The “world’s greatest hamburgers” will once again be served in Woodbridge – eventually.

Fuddruckers, a restaurant chain known for their burgers – some made of one pound of beef – still has plans to open a new location inside Foulger Square in Woodbridge. It’ll be located at the old Cheeseburger in Paradise, which has sat dark and dormant for more than a year.

The exterior walls of the restaurant have been painted red, and signs hung are hung in the parking lot with the Fuddruckers logo on them. Inside, some signature décor hangs on the wall including a marquee that states “100% fresh.” Blueprints for the restaurant were seen sitting on a table.

But it’s clear work on this new restaurant has halted. And, there’s no indication from Fuddruckers as to when the first hamburger will be served here.

“Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t have any projected opening dates, nor any projections as yet as to when construction will begin,” said restaurant spokeswoman Toni Neice.

Fuddruckers, or Fudds as its known, has served Woodbridge residents before, in an old restaurant nearby on Prince William Parkway next to Chuck-E-Cheese. When it closed, it was later demolished, and a McDonalds was built in its place.

Fudds is now under different ownership than the original company that owned that location. The hamburger joint falls under the same corporate ownership as Cheeseburger in Paradise.

In addition to Woodbridge, the Fuddruckers used to have locations in multiple towns in Virginia including Fredericksburg. Today, Fudds locations at Regan National Airport, Dulles Airport, in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, and one in Newport News are all that remain in Virginia.

Used tires are mysterious. New Cooper Starfire Tires cost about the same

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Cooper Starfire Tires offer superior life and performance for just a few dollars more than the cost of a used tire

Instead of buying a used tire that you might have to replace sooner than later, consider a new Cooper Starfire Tire.

It’s a great option for someone looking for an inexpensive tire that will help keep their vehicle on the road longer and their occupants of the car safe.

Cooper Starfire Tires are available for multiple makes and models of vehicles. They’re manufactured in Asia and designed in the U.S. to compete with premium brands without the higher price tag of comparable tires.

The tire offers high-performance ability, improved grip and road handling, with an improved overall tire life.

Cooper Starfire Tires are great for drivers who may have purchased a vehicle that is more costly to maintain than first thought, but are still looking for a quality tire that delivers great handling and a quiet performance on the road. With the Starfire option available, drivers should think before purchasing a used tire.

Typically, drivers have no idea what type of life the used tire had before they obtain it. Used tires could be six to eight years old, perhaps older, and have spent the majority of their life as a used tire strapped to a vehicle. While used tires may look good, the rubber can be worn down or degraded after years of sitting idle. Some used tires may also be missing tread and show signs of wear.

Purchasing a Starfire Tire costs about $30 more than what a used tire might cost, but a new tire, on average, will provide three times the life of a single used tire. The price of a Starfire Tire is up to 30% less than other newer tires.  There are many Starfire Tires produced for SUVs, trucks, and the popular Honda Civic and Toyota Camry models.

Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge, Virginia is now an authorized Cooper Tire dealer and offers a full line of Starfire Tires.

Teen wins NYC trip with “Say I Won’t” video with Manassas City Police Department

#SayIWont, manassas city police department

Captain Trey Lawler and Chief Doug Keen stand behind Mark Johnson.

In December, City of Manassas resident Mark Johnson had an idea for the #SayIWont video contest put on by Grammy Award winner Lecrae Moore and Reach Records. The video contest asked participants to make a 15 second video showing how “you’re not scared to be different.” Mark’s video featured members of the Manassas City Police Department.

Mark Johnson had the idea, in light of current happenings in other areas of the country, to show a positive relationship between the Manassas City Police Department and a City resident. His video shows him coming into MCPD Roll Call and encouraging the officers about to go out in the field.

Mark went to Osbourn High School in the City of Manassas. After a rocky start, including being expelled from school, Mark went back to Osbourn to finish high school with an advanced diploma. When asked why he chose the Manassas City Police Department to feature in his video, Mark said he remembered the great conversations he had in high school with Officer Cahill and he used that contact to make the video happen. 

On Dec. 12, while attending the Manassas City Police Department holiday luncheon, Mark received a phone call from Reach Records saying he had won the national video contest and had won a trip to New York City to accompany Lecrae Moore to a Brooklyn Nets game.

“We are honored that Mark chose the MCPD to feature in his video,” said Chief Doug Keen from the Manassas City Police Department. “Mark Johnson’s video sheds a positive light on relationships with police officers and those relationships are something we want to promote in the City of Manassas. We congratulate Mark on his award winning video.”

Johnson traveled to New York City in December.

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

City of Manassas Citizen Satisfaction Survey results are in

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Manassas ranks above average in 8 Citizen Satisfaction categories surveyed

In a survey conducted by one of the nation’s leading community-based market research firms, results showed that citizen satisfaction in the City of Manassas is significantly above national and regional benchmarks in a number of service areas. Overall, three categories stood out: the overall quality of citizen services provided; the overall quality of water and sewer utilities; and the effectiveness of communication with the public.

Categories where the City of Manassas scored significantly higher than the national and regional benchmarks include:

  • Maintenance of streets
  • Sidewalks and infrastructure
  • How safe residents feel in their neighborhood at night, in commercial/business areas of the City and in City parks
  • Maintenance of neighborhood streets
  • Cleanliness of City streets
  • Access to information about City services
  • Opportunities to participate in local government 
  • Satisfaction with residential garbage collection and residential curbside recycling

The percentage of residents satisfied with customer service is 15 percent higher than the national average. Survey participants responded more than 20 percent above the national average when asked how satisfied they were with customer service in regards to response time and customer service experience.

“Having worked with City staff for the last year, I know how our dedicated staff goes above and beyond to provide services to the community,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate. “I am extremely proud that resident opinions show that City of Manassas staff are significantly above the nation in customer service.”

City Council and staff are pleased with the results, not only because they highlight what the City is doing right, but because the survey shows what priorities the community has in coming years. Major services that were recommended as top priorities for investment over the next few years include: overall flow of traffic and ease of getting around; overall quality of public education; and overall quality of economic development.

ETC Institute used a random sample of households within the City of Manassas for this survey. They had a goal of 400 completed surveys being returned to provide this data and received 405 surveys from all areas of the City of Manassas. To read the survey results presented by ETC Institute, visit manassascity.org/CSS.

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

Chipotle opens to smiles in Stafford

Stafford, chipotle, virginia
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Chipotle Mexican Grill opened its doors at Stafford Marketplace on Monday.

It’s the first Chipotle to open in Stafford County, and the opening was celebrated with a line of hungry fans standing outside the door.

In addition to several Chipotle employees, Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Va. 1) attended a ribbon cutting for the business, as did Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Cavalier.

The new restaurant faces Garrisonville Road and is part of a recent addition to Stafford Marketplace. A Verizon Wireless store will soon join Chipotle as its next door neighbor.

Chipotle employees spent the weekend getting ready for the big opening, however, no menu specials or discounts were planned for the event. A new Chipotle restaurant opens every two days, according to the company’s website.

First Chipotle in Stafford Opens Monday

Chipotle, restaurant, virginia

Chipotle opens new restaurant every two days

Employees on Saturday night were putting the finishing touches on Stafford County’s very first Chipotle restaurant.

The popular fast-food restaurant chain that allows customers to walk up to the kitchen and choose what they want in their oversized burritos, bowls, and salads will open its doors at 11 a.m. Monday. Devoted fans of the restaurant chain and Stafford County officials are excited about the grand opening.

The restaurant, like most new Chipotles, is small. Lines of customers can stretch from the order counter to the front door. A lot of customers take their food and go.

“It’s great food, its great tasting, and its food with integrity. It’s food that you can you trust to eat with no antibiotics, it’s organic, and it’s a fresh taste made in here,” said Delmis Carcamo, of Springfield, who is the restaurant’s general manager.

For those new to Chipotle, they have a very limited menu of nearly football-sized burritos filled with rice, beans, chicken or pork or steak. The customers say what vegetables, salsa, and the restaurants coveted guacamole.

Fans can also get those same ingredients put into a “burrito bowl,” a burrito minus the tortilla. It’s the most popular item on the menu, said Carcamo.

It’s $7.21 for a burrito or a bowl with chicken, $7.95 with steak. There’s also a salad for those who don’t like rice.

The new Chipotle is the latest addition to Stafford Marketplace shopping center on Garrisonville Road. The restaurant faces Garrisonville Road, and it’s located next to what will be new Verizon Wireless store.

Chipotle is so popular and sought-after in Stafford that a Facebook page was created by restaurant fans who wanted the chain to open a location in the county.

Today, the restaurant will hold an invitation-only preopening party that will give employees a chance to learn the ropes with customers inside. On Monday, it’ll be business as usual with no grand opening menu special planned.

The restaurant chain is undergoing a massive hiring spree. According to the company’s website, a new Chipotle is opened every two days.

Malones Restaurant Readies 2nd Floor for Opening

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Come January at Malones of Manassas restaurant, it’ll be formal downstairs and a party upstairs.

The Old Town Manassas eatery at Main and Church streets will open its long-awaited 2nd floor bar and lounge on Jan. 1. Construction crews are now hard at work on the expansion.

New fixtures for the bar and dining area were delivered prior to Thanksgiving. The 2nd floor will hold a total of 82 people on the 2nd floor. In addition to a bar, the room will include 12 cocktail tables and will have several TVs mounted to the wall.

It’s taken about two years for the restaurant – which is located inside an old church – to reach a point where it can open the top floor to customers.

What is the reason for the delay?

“A little bit of this, a little bit of that… it’s expensive,” said Kathy Saylors, who was overseeing construction of the second floor.

Saylors is the sister of restaurant owner Kevin Malone.

When it opens, the second floor will also feature live music. The downstairs portion of the restaurant also has a bar, as well as dining tables.

On its menu, Malones features steak, as well as a mix of seafood and pasta dishes.

“Cuisine de Commerce” Stirs Manassas Lunch Rush

Zandra’s Taqueria  makes gourmet tacos for thier customers in Manassas, Virginia.

Who says there’s not anything good to eat around here?

More than 10 area restaurants that put out their best eats Thursday at the Continental Event Center in Manassas for “Cuisine de Commerce.” And, more than 100 people came to the taste of the town event.

Offered to event goers was samples of everything from barbecue to sushi to great desserts. Some of the samples were generously portioned, and that made for some pretty full plates at lunch.

Crab cakes, bowtie pasta and Sausage Rustica were just some of the offerings at the table for Travinia Italian Kitchen, a restaurant located at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge.

“We make everything fresh from scratch using American-inspired Italian ingredients,” said Liana Bilicich, who manages Travinia’s catering operation in Woodbridge.

Zandra’s Taqueria is a newcomer to the area restaurant scene. Just opened in Downtown Manassas, the eatery does not define itself as a Tex-Mex or Mexican-style restaurant.

“This is gourmet tacos,” said Nick Cowalewski. “We do everything from duck tacos, to Mahi Mahi, to beer battered, to barbecued pork; it’s made to order.”

Keeping with that made-to-order theme was Café Rio, a Mexican restaurant in Sudley Manor Plaza in Manassas, offered chicken enchiladas with cilantro lime rice. The restaurant’s motto: Fast, friendly, with flair. 

“When you walk into the restaurant, you create your own masterpiece. People are able to pick and choose what they would like in their food and we’ll walk you down the line, and that when you leave you are happy with your meal,” said Brittany Boudfuehrer.

Thursday’s “Cuisine de Commerce” is one of the several events held by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

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Secret Garden Cafe Donating to Charities in Nov.

Starting in November, Occoquan’s Secret Garden Cafe is beginning a donation program where 10% of sales on a particular evening go to a deserving nonprofit organization in the community.  

On Friday, November 7, the Secret Garden Cafe will donate 10% of the evening’s proceeds to Rolling Thunder’s Wounded Warrior Program.  Then, on Friday, January 2 and Friday, February 6, 10% of sales will go to the Occoquan Historical Society.

The Secret Garden Cafe is located at 404 Mill Street in Occoquan and is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

The restaurant’s website posted this to describe their menu:

When asked to describe our menu, after many attempts to describe it, we are left simply saying, “well, its food we like.” From the far east of the globe to the far west, we are not afraid to be adventurous.

Cuisine de Commerce Encourages Professionals to Dine Local

Cuisine de Commerce is an event from the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. [Photo: Potomac Local]

15 restaurants to participate in Cuisine de Commerce

 

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce is preparing for one of its most popular events, the Cuisine de Commerce, sponsored by Internet Ad Management, Inc. Taking place at the Continental Event Center, 9705 Liberia Avenue in Manassas, 11:30 a.m. on November 6, this “taste of the town” will feature samples from 15 area restaurants and caterers.

A toy drive will also take place, with donations accepted at the event and at Burke & Herbert Bank locations throughout greater Prince William.

 “We encourage everybody in the community to come out, discover new restaurant favorites and bring something for the toy drive,” said Chamber President and CEO Debbie Jones. “This event is all about our community: highlighting and supporting local businesses. With all that Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park have to offer, we want members and guests to see that there is plenty of reason to stay close to home when going out to eat.” Jones encourages employers to consider recognizing their staff or clients by inviting them to join you for this luncheon, where a table of ten is just $375 for members or non-members.

“Burke & Herbert Bank is proud to be the Toy Drive Sponsor of the Cuisine de Commerce. As a local community bank and the oldest bank in Virginia we believe it is important to support the communities in which we do business,” said Burke & Herbert Bank Senior Vice President Terry Cole. “We are excited about working with the Prince William Chamber to help bring holiday joy to less fortunate children in our neighborhoods and pleased to have our branches serve as locations for the collection of toy donations.

“I’m proud that so many of our members are glad to give back to the community that supports their business,” said Bruce Moore of Internet Ad Management, Inc., the Main Event Sponsor and a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. This is the third year that his company has sponsored the luncheon. Over the last two years, the event has featured a food drive where members brought in close to 500 pounds of food. This year everyone is asked to bring a toy, which the Continental Event Center, in partnership with local churches, will distribute to local families in need of help this holiday season.

According to Jones, this luncheon is a great way to treat office staff, clients or friends to a special lunch. Attendees will have the chance to sample foods and treats prepared by:

Zandra’s Taqueria

P.F. Chang’s

Bahama Breeze

Travinia Italian Kitchen

A La Carte Catering and Event Design

The Piedmont Club

UNO Chicago Grill

Dyvine BBQ in Motion

Café Rio Mexican Grill

Cakes by Happy Eatery

Not Your Average Joe’s

‘The Bone’ Holding Ribbon Cutting on Monday

the-bone-manassas

Join us in celebrating our successful opening of The Bone in Historic Old Town Manassas.  The ribbon cutting will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday at The Bone, 9420 Battle Street. 

Representatives of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and Historic Manassas Inc. will be on hand to assist with the ribbon cutting, as well as Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish.

Before and after the official cutting of the ribbon there will be social time with complimentary BBQ sliders and drink specials and all attendees will enjoy 10% off dine-in and take-out orders from 4 to 6 p.m. 

While you’re here, grab a 6-pack of craft brew to kick off the after-party. Those who purchase two six packs get a free t-shirt.

RSVP’s are not necessary, just show up for the party. For more information, please contact Chase Hover at 703-330-3820 or email at chase@thebonebbq.com.

Blue Arbor Cafe Celebrates 10 Years, Rolls Back Prices

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OCCOQUAN, Va. – The Blue Arbor Café has spent 10 years in Occoquan, and after all of that time the restaurant has never used an oven.

“It’s all soups, salads, and sandwiches,” said owner Steve Power. “We don’t even have a flattop grill or microwave.”

As part of their anniversary celebration, the eatery will roll back prices of all of their sandwiches this weekend to what they cost 10 years ago – $7.50, including a side dish. That’s a $1.75 less than what they cost today.

And there will be music, too, from The Prince William Youth Orchestra, The Back Alley Blues, Mike Soule, and Ray Sheehan. And giveaways from small businesses in Occoquan, including an introductory scuba lesson from Patriot Scuba.

The tiny town has been a good home to the restaurant, and is home to a score of friendly shop owners.

“It’s kind of isolated from the rest of the sprawl and crawl of the rest of the area. It feels like a family here… all of the merchants are friendly and there is no fighting or competition happening amongst us,” said Powers.

He has, however, outgrown his small restaurant space and would someday like to expand to serve more customers.

“We can seat 28 people inside but if there is inclement weather we can’t keep up with the amount of people who want to eat here,” he said.

While Powers admits it’s a nice problem to have, he says he’d rather have a space that could accommodate about 70 guests.

For New Owner, Montclair Family Restaurant a Home of His Own

071414-leoneDUMFRIES, Va. – Since coming to the U.S. more than 15 years ago, owning his own restaurant is something Francesco Leone has dreamed about.

Leone lives in Woodbridge with his wife, a his daughter, 6, and two sons ages 2 and 4, and recently made his dream come true. He purchased the Montclair Family Restaurant on Va. 234 outside Dumfries.

After spending the past 13 years working under this father-in-law at Armetta’s Restaurant on Minnieville Road in Dale City, getting an eatery of his own was the next logical step.

“Little by little, if I put a lot of hard work into this we will continue to be successful,” he said.

Hard work is something Leone is no stranger to. I worked with him, in what seems like another lifetime, at Tony’s Pizza on Va. 234 in 2001 (Armetta’s and Tony’s Pizza are under the same ownership). Leone was often behind the grill, taking orders, and making them in the back of the restaurant helping to ensure the place never ran out of food.

At Montclair, he says he’s thankful to inherit staff that has worked at the diner for years and a customer base of familiar faces that come almost daily.

Leone says the previous owner was hesitant to sell, but he eventually brought Leone in, showed him the books, and then he agreed to sell.

Those who come and sit at one of the 19 tables inside the diner shouldn’t expect too many changes on the menu. Rooted in Greek and American fare, the gyros here are very popular and come loaded with feta cheese and thick shanks of lamb, beef, or chicken. Burgers are popular here, and Leone also takes pride in the rotisserie chicken and the green beans freshly prepared here. Breakfast is also a big hit with regulars.

“When I went into the kitchen for the first time I had to ask the cooks where the microwave was. It was so small and hidden,” said Leone. “We have one,’ they said, ‘but we don’t use it that much.’”

Leone came to live in the U.S. in 1998 and married his wife at a ceremony back in his native Italy a year later. His family has been supportive of him stepping up and running his own business, and he says his children are the light of his life.

“If I can do this job for someone else for so many years, I know I can do it for myself,” he said.

Montclair Family Restaurant is located at 17001 Dumfries Road near Dumfries and is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Reservations, walk-ins, large groups are all welcome and take out is available.

Before he was a news reporter, Uriah Kiser was a restaurant server at several area restaurants. He still values many of the friendships made while working in the restaurant business and still likes to go out to eat.

Los Toltecos Serving Up New Menu, Authentic Mexican Atmosphere

Lopez

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – A Mexican restaurant in Lake Ridge is under new management and has a new colorful way of welcoming its customers.

Los Toltecos in The Glenn Shopping Center has completely redone its dining room with new light fixtures, tables and chairs, as well as new art – from life-sized giraffes, murals, and oversized masks – all are bright and colorful, authentic items imported here from Mexico.

There’s a real tropical feel here… I literally tried to bring back the feel of the real Mexico,” said general manager Alejandro Lopez.

Since taking over in February, Lopez has made making the Los Toltecos in Lake Ridge a viable, successful restaurant. He drives to Lake Ridge each day from his home in Frederick, Md. to work at the eatery, and he says daily drink specials from 3 to 8 p.m., World Cup games on TV, and a newly revamped menu have brought in customers willing to give the place a second try.

Lopez says turning around the restaurant hasn’t been easy. The corner eatery in 2009 had developed a reputation as a nightclub and was often the scene of late-night parking lot fights, said Lopez.

Since then, a glass partition was erected to separate the non-smoking bar from the restaurant. It keeps out the noise of sports on TVs and loud music from the dining room while allowing bar guests to enjoy a fun atmosphere filled with salsa music.

The restaurant manager says he printed menus and took them to area businesses and schools and asked people to give his restaurant a second try. He said the push has won over a few new fans.

One of the best new dishes on the menu is the Toltecos Parrillada – two pieces of carne asada, chicken, covered in cheese and chorizo sausage, served with rice, beans, and corn or flour tortillas for $15.95. It’s one of over 50 menu options all made with fresh ingredients that cost more but taste better, said Lopez.

While Lopez is from Mexico and returns every few months to see family and brush up on recipes, he comes Northern Virginia from Wisconsin where he says there is fierce competition in the Mexican restaurant business.
“You go to Chicago and Wisconsin and there are Mexican restaurants on every corner,” he said. It’s not like that here in Northern Virginia, he adds.

There are five Los Toltecos locations in Northern Virginia including Lake Ridge, one in Winchester, and one in Maryland. The restaurant hopes to expand into the fine dining market with a new concept called “Senor Tequila’s” and into the fast-food market with their take on something like Chipotle called “Mr. Burritos.”

Los Toltecos in Lake Ridge is located at 4120 Merchant Plaza.

DAKS Grill Closing, Owners Promise New Location

DALE CITY, Va. – DAKS Grill on Minnieville Road will close today.

The owner of the business in a statement to Potomac Local News noted the restaurant will reopen soon in another location, but did not state why this location of 23 years would close.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the closing of our Dale City location,” the statement read.

The restaurant has come to be known for its American fare and its outdoor patio. In recent years the size of the establishment’s parking lot grew smaller as new businesses, including a car wash, opened next door.

The location in an old stone house dates back to when much of Woodbridge was a rural farming community. A historical marker next to the restaurant denotes the old stone farm house as being common architecture of Northern Virginia during the early to mid part of the 20th century. Originally a hog farm, the farm was converted to dairy in the 1950s. The buildings were later torn down in 1991 ending the life of the last major farm in eastern Prince William County, the marker states.

Next to the old the spot as the location of the old Russell General Store, this was at the center of commercial life for the farming area then known as Bethel, Smoketown, and Hoadley, and Agnewville, the marker states. Before it was demolished, it served as the home for Ernie Sullins Outlet – a discount clothier known for their outrageous local TV commercials.

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