Restaurants

Fuddruckers serves second helping in Woodbridge

Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.

Years after closing a location on Prince William Parkway in, Fuddruckers reopened Tuesday in Woodbridge.

The hamburger joint is famous for their large beef patties and fresh baked buns. They’re most famously known for the toppings bar that allows customers to pile high lettuce, tomato, onion, and several other toppings onto their freshly cooked hamburger.

At dinnertime on Tuesday, customers, in a line that stretched from the register to the front door, all waited to place thier order. Nearly all of the restaurant’s 41 tables were full with hungry diners munching on burgers and fries.

The new Fuddruckers sits inside what was Cheeseburger in Paradise, a restaurant built under the Jimmy Buffett brand name. It and a similar Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant in Fredericksburg closed.
This new Fuddruckers location is 6,523 square feet of space. Because it was retrofitted from an older restaurant, It is slightly larger than many of the new Fuddruckers being built from the ground up, said restaurant spokeswoman Rebecca Conner.

The restaurant offers bottled beers and is looking into the possibility of adding beers on tap. The eatery hopes a kids night, where children’s meals sell for 99 cents and a 20% military discount with ID, will bring in customers. The restaurant also advertises its catering business good for office parties and children’s sports teams.

After Fuddruckers, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the old Fuddruckers location that opened in the early 1990’s, located on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge, closed. The building was demolished, and a McDonalds built in its place. 

Shortly after Fuddruckers filed bankruptcy, a new company, Luby’s, purchased the Fuddruckers brand and began expanding the chain.

Mission BBQ opens in North Stafford

mission bbq stafford

There’s a new barbecue joint in town.

Mission BBQ opened in the North Stafford Shopping Center on Monday. The chain restaurant with locations in Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, saw a line form with hungry customers form outside their location off Route 610 in North Stafford.

Jacqueline and Mark Dickenson took their family to the restaurant for opening day. They said the pulled pork was delicious.

At noon on opening day, employees treated customers to a live rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. The grand opening followed a week of special fundraising events for the Stafford County Fire and Recuce Department, Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Here’s more in a press release:

The restaurant known for its traditional American BBQ with a hefty side of patriotism opens its 17th location in Stafford on June 15. Now Stafford County can experience traditional favorites done the MISSION BBQ way. Menu items include Texas Inspired Beef Brisket; Jalapeño and Cheese Sausage; and the bestselling North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich topped high with Cold Slaw accompanied by an array of homemade BBQ sauces. The opening of the Stafford location is part of MISSION BBQ’s expansion plans, with a targeted goal of 40 restaurants throughout the East Coast by 2018. MISSION BBQ currently has restaurants in five states: Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida. 

Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House a fun experience

Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House
Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House
Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House

My and wife and I went to Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House for the first time.

She had been before for a workplace party a few years back. For me, it was my first time. But not my first time dining at a Hibachi-style steakhouse.

The morning before we went, I called to make reservations, as was recommended by my wife. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. (a half-hour later than we made our reservation for — thanks, traffic jam) and the hostess welcomed us as if we were right on time. She showed us to our seats at a U-shaped table that surrounded a flat-top grill where our food would be prepared.

Two other women were already sitting down at the table and were enjoying their conversation. My wife and I took the time to catch up after what had been a long and busy week for the both of us.

Our drinks came — my wife ordered a plum dessert wine, and I had water. Then, in walked a family two children who sat down at our table. Now with a full house, it was for our onion soup ( broth with thinly shaved mushrooms and other spices) and house salad topped with ginger dressing. I ate about half of each.

For dinner, my wife ordered combination platters. Hers was a mix of chicken and shrimp and my filet mignon and chicken.

“OK, it’s showtime,” said the chef as he drizzled oil on the flat, hot cooktop. After a flash of flame to heat things up, he began to prepare the rice and vegetables — carrots and zucchini, and onions —  that would make up the foundation of our plate. Of course, we were treated to the classic onion volcano that is always impressive to see, and is something I wouldn’t try at home.

As they cooked up, the chef placed a portion of rice on our plates and then portioned out the vegetables. Some at the table were clearly hungry and started eating right away. My wife and I waited until we had our full place in front of us.

When it was time for the meats, the shrimp seemed to cook up faster than anything else. The chef diced the chicken breast, and he made sure the steak was cooked to order. Mine was medium well and prepared just right.

Just as it was time to dig in, the chef played a little game. He cut up some remaining chicken and offered to play catch, and used his utensils to toss food toward the guests and see who could catch it in their mouths.

A few at the table made it look easy. It wasn’t for me as I was zero for two tries. My wife, ever the consummate lady, opted out of the food-tossing competition.

As we ate, the chef thanked all of us, and we all clapped in appreciation of the show we had seen. He poured rail vodka on the cooktop and quickly cleaned it and then went into the back.

The food was delicious and required no seasoning or sauce though two kinds of sauce are provided to you — a ginger dipping sauce and an orange sauce referred to as “yum yum” sauce.  

Or bill for the two of us was about $70 with tip. While it is something my wife and I would do together again, this place would also be fun to share with friends and family.

Why you should expect new apartments, food trucks at The Town Center at Aquia

Aquia Towne Center
Aquia Towne Center
Aquia Towne Center
Aquia Towne Center
Aquia Towne Center

Part 2 Read part one.

Aquia Towne Center may finally be rescued from the eyesore it has become. North Stafford residents have been waiting for years for Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust to fulfill its promise to rebuild it. Ambitious plans for a mixed-use town center were put on hold not long after the recession hit in 2008. Since then, the center has consisted of old one-level buildings, vast spaces of asphalt, gravel and dirt, and one modern five-story office building.

Ramco is the company that owns most of the property, which is now known as The Town Center at Aquia. At this time, Ramco is keeping the office building, which also requires about 400 parking spaces. But much of the rest of the property may be going to two companies that plan to revitalize the dilapidated shopping center. If all goes well, the new town center will provide some desired retail establishments, host brand new apartments and improve property values for nearby subdivisions.

APARTMENTS

The Franklin Johnston Group of Virginia Beach has purchased the southeastern portion of the shopping center where it plans to build apartments. 

Stafford County Supervisor Jack Cavalier (I-Griffis-Widewater) said the residential component is likely to happen before the commercial component. Jeff Harvey, director of planning and zoning for the county, agreed and told Potomac Local News that the developer plans to break ground in two weeks.

“The proposed development includes 256 apartment units in eight multi-story buildings [that] include an in-ground pool with a community center,” said Harvey.  

The residential portion of the development is expected to take more than a year to complete.

FOOD TRUCKS

“I just built relations with the developer to allow food trucks in [The Town Center at Aquia],” declared Steven Cook of Steve-O’s BBQ, Burgers & Bacon, a mobile restaurant. Cook made the surprise announcement online May 13. “I will be coordinating a rotating schedule of trucks… during construction,” the post said.

Speaking to Cook via instant messaging, he shared that he has an agreement with Issac Pretter of Mosaic Realty Partners of Maryland to station food trucks in the town center at least until construction is complete. Mosaic plans to redevelop a large portion of the shopping center for commercial use.

TAXES

The Stafford Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $6.25 million in tax breaks to Mosaic Realty Partners, according to county documents. The tax breaks are an effort to get The Town Center at Aquia project out from under the rubble. 

“The Town Center at Aquia… has long been a key commercial gateway to the county,” stated the supervisors’ resolution for the tax break. “The board believes that an active and vibrant major commercial gateway located adjacent to Interstate 95, Route 1 and Garrisonville Road is in the best interest of the citizens of the county and that attractive mixed-use properties significantly increase the potential of attracting much-desired high-end retail to the county.”

It goes on to say the county worked hard to attract an investor for the property and that the board determined that incentives were necessary for the town center to be revitalized.

EASEMENT REQUIREMENT

The most anticipated component expressed by nearby residents is the possibility of a grocery store in the shopping center. 

Eron Sodie of Mosaic wouldn’t say which grocery store the company plans on bringing into the site, but he gave a few hints and let it slip that the grocery chain was based in North Carolina. Residents of Aquia Harbour, the neighborhood located behind the town center, have come up with a number of possibilities, but most seem to think Sodie was referring to Harris Teeter. 

But there’s a small hiccup. According to Cavalier, the grocery store that is expected to come into the center requires an easement that it will use to create a second entrance on Washington Drive, which is the road that leads into Aquia Harbour from Jefferson Davis Highway. Cavalier said the second entrance would sit approximately 400 feet outside of the Harbour’s front gate. Such a transaction would have to be made between Aquia Harbour and Mosaic since the Harbour owns that portion of the road. 

Supervisor Paul Milde III (R-Aquia) said the second entrance being proposed is supposed to be only for traffic in and out of Aquia Harbour.

Sodie said a traffic study will be done. He added that delivery trucks will not be allowed to use Washington Drive, though it’s unclear how that promise would be enforced.

According to site plans, the new grocery store would be built where the movie theater is currently located, at the rear of the shopping center. As for the businesses at the front of the shopping center, they are independently owned, according to officials. 

 

HighGrain Bread rolls out unique baked goods, lunch fare

The bakery is located in Manassas.
They have a bread and baked goods menu that changes every month.

HighGrain Bread Company, a locally owned bakery, is making a presence in Manassas with their “from scratch” philosophy and unique menu.

The store, which just opened about a year ago, is nestled in the Bull Run Shopping Plaza area, off of Sudley Manor Drive.

They offer standard lunch fare, including sandwiches, salads, soups and sweets. Some of their top items include the chicken gyro, hummus wrap and their Caesar salad.

One thing that makes this location unique is their baking. They offer a monthly baking schedule that constantly offers up new items and their menu staples – that customers can order for their own homes or events.

They also have a weekly schedule available for customers, so they can see the breads and different baked goods being baked on-site each day. From their challah bread, to their tea loaves and other baked goods, they try to keep their goods high quality and interesting, said an employee.

HighGrain Bread Company is closed on Mondays, and open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Hard Times Woodbridge to become Prince William’s first brewpub

Ornery Brewery will open its doors in July.
The restaurant was hit by a vehicle, which caused a large hole in the wall.
They expanded their space to include a beer garden area.
The project has been in the works for more than a year.
The brewery will have 8 to 12 beers on tap.

The Ornery Beer Company is another brewery that will be opening in Prince William in July – but they plan to stand out for their offering of beer and food.

“We will be the first brewpub in Prince William County – meaning it is a restaurant with a brewery. The others ones that are in the county that are under construction – they’ll bring in food trucks…but they don’t have on-site restaurant services,” said Randy Barnette, the owner of the brewery.

Barnette, who is also the owner of the Hard Times restaurant locations, will put the brewery in the current Woodbridge Hard Times location – which has been open since 2001.

“The business has changed, the clientele has changed, and it was time to do something different…the lease came up here at the [Woodbridge] location of Hard Times, and it was either time to relocate it, close it down or make it something new and different,” said Barnette.

The brewery will have six beers to start, including the Ornery Blonde and the California Dreamin’ IPA, with plans to have 8 to 12 beers on-tap at all times in a few months.

According to Barnette, a chef announcement will be made soon, and he hopes to have a menu with dishes primarily made from scratch, including flatbreads, shareable appetizers, sandwiches and entrees.

“[We want] a non-standard menu that says ‘this is created by the chef’. That it changes every month, and is handmade…original and comfortable to eat in a community setting,” commented Barnette.

Additionally, Barnette acquired the space next door to the former Hard Times, and will be using that to expand and create another bar space.

Recently a vehicle crashed into the front of the location, but Barnette stated that the incident was not the reason behind the move from Hard Times to Ornery Brewery.

“This has been in the works for almost two years. We signed the lease with the landlord to make this transition a year and four months ago…all the accident did was to make a hole in the wall where we can bring in brewery equipment – it actually helped us out a little bit,” said Barnette.

More breweries, distillery plan to open in Prince William

Growling Bear Brewery is opening in July.
The brewery will serve 12 craft beers made on site.
MurLarkey Distilled Spirits is opening this month.

In the next few months, a brewery and a distillery will open their doors in Prince William County.

Growling Bear Brewery

The microbrewery, Growling Bear Brewery, will be located at 14051 Crown Court in Woodbridge. The owners plan to open in the beginning of July.

According to the brewery owner, Mike Blivens, the idea to open the brewery came from his own experience with brewing at home.

“I’ve been a home brewer since 1998. I kind of got sick of my corporate job and figured I was going to go into something where I would enjoy going into work that I have a passion for,” said Blivens.

Growling Bear will offer 12 craft beers that are made on site, using equipment shipped over from Germany.

Blivens said that they plan to offer 4 core beers that they carry year round, 4 seasonal beers and 4 experimental beers.

“We are going to specialize in dark beers, and try to have at least four dark beers on tap all year long. A lot of breweries don’t do that for some reason – people stay away from dark beers until wintertime. But we tend to see that a little differently,” commented Blivens.

The brewery will offer a small menu, and they will be looking to have different food trucks come to the site during the weekends for customers looking to have some food with their beverages.

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits

On 7961 Gainsford Court in Bristow, co-owner Tom Murray is opening MurLarkey Distilled Spirits that will open its doors this month.

The distillery is located in the former Ferguson Electric building just off Wellington Road.

For Murray, the thought of opening up a local distillery was one that he had for a long time.

“I’m a former technology executive. My cousin and I founded the company [for the distillery] in 2013…it’s something that we’ve always been interested in…and it’s something we’ve been considering for a while,” said Murray.

At the distillery, they will be making hand-crafted vodka, as well as three varieties of infused whiskeys.

“We are using some traditional recipes that our grandparents brought over from Ireland,” Murray said.

Murray stated that while there is currently no ability to serve food, they would be working to do so in the future. There will also be a tasting area and special events on site.

More on the way 

Growling Bear Brewery will encompass 2,150 square feet of space inside the Prince William Commons business park near BJs wholesale club.

Mularkey Distilled Spirits will have 4,322 square feet of space when it opens.

In Woodbridge, county records show a Hard Times Café located in the Potomac Festival shopping center across from Potomac Mills mall applied for county permits to become Ornery Beer Company Public House. That’s a change from its usual fare of chili macs and billiards.

The new breweries and distilleries join similar businesses in Manassas that opened their doors for the first time or expanded their operation. BadWolf Brewery chose to expand in Manassas after Prince William County officials halted a possible expansion at the Tackett’s Mill Center in Lake Ridge due to rules on still on the books last fall.

County officials later changed their rules to allow craft breweries and distilleries to open in popular shopping centers.

KO Distillery in Manassas held its ribbon cutting this past winter, and several new breweries opened in Stafford County, too.

Here’s the scoop on Cinco de Mayo festivities

11149356_882783895113745_4902485986083669719_nTo kick off the evening’s Cinco de Mayo festivities, there are several restaurants in the area with food and drink specials.

Prince William

El Charro – 2893 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge, VA
El Charro is offering any two of their bottled beers for $5.

El Paso – 3031 Golansky Blvd, Woodbridge, VA
El Paso will be offering drink specials all day.

Manassas

Zandra’s Tauqueria – 9114 Center St, Manassas, VA
Zandra’s will be hosting a Happy Hour until 7 p.m. with a Tequila Tuesday theme. They will also be offering drink specials and beef tongue tacos all evening.

Don Lencho – 9116 Mathis Ave, Manassas, VA
Don Lencho’s will be having a drink special for mimosas, and a Taco Tuesday with taco’s al a carte for $1.50.

El Cactus – 9406 Battle St, Manassas, VA
El Cactus is offering half-priced appetizers from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., 50 cent chili con queso from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a sombrero contest. There will also be drink specials.

Stafford

El Gran Charro -2834 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Stafford, VA
El Gran Charro will be offering a taco special, with $1.25 for hard shell tacos and $1.50 for soft tacos. They are also offering nachos for $2.99. Their Cinco de Mayo drink specials include $2.99 lime margaritas and Corona’s for $2.50.

Haymarket

El Vaquero West – 14910 Washington St, Haymarket, VA
El Vaquero West is offering drink specials including a 32-ounce draft for $6.85 and all bottled beers for $2.85. They will also be offering their medium lime margaritas for $4.25.

Get home safely

To ensure that participants in the Cinco de Mayo festivities get home safely, special ride programs will be available for area residents.

SoberRide
The SoberRide program, run by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, is available to all Washington D.C. area residents from 4 p.m. today, until 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.

In order to use the free ride program, you must 21-years and older.

To use the service, you need to call 800-200-8294. SoberRide will pay for the first $30 of the fare, and anything over this amount all riders are responsible for.

The participating cab companies are Alexandria Yellow Cab, Barwood, Inc., Fairfax Yellow Cab, Loudon Yellow Cab, Northern Virginia Checker, Red Top Cab Company, Silver Cab of Prince George’s County, Yellow Cab of the District of Columbia, and Yellow Cab of Prince William County.

Brush fire extinguished in Stafford shopping center

Google Maps

Google Maps

A small brush fire endangered some structures in the North Stafford Plaza shopping center at around 3:15 p.m., today. According to initial reports, someone at Alliance Physical Therapy called the Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department. Fire fighters discovered some mulch burning. It took only minutes to extinguish the fire.

The shopping center is located on Garrisonville Road near Doc Stone Road. It hosts Aldi, Power Kix Martial Arts, Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, Cardinal Bank, Tony’s Deli & Pizza, Dollar General and more. A Mission BBQ is currently being built in the center.

The cause of the fire is unknown as of press time.

“Toby Keith’s” Woodbridge plays final note

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill opened back in 2013.
The bar and grill closed it's doors for the last time on Saturday.
The site has a handwritten closed sign on the door.

On Saturday, the Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill closed its doors for good at their Woodbridge location at the Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center shopping area.

The bar and grill had been open for less than two-years, following delayed construction of the site, leading up to its opening in 2013.

Both the location’s website and Facebook page were removed this weekend.

According to Alicia Gerald, a Woodbridge resident, the closing of the bar and grill came as somewhat of a surprise.

“It was the only place around here for mid to young adults…I guess there wasn’t enough people that wanted to actually go there…I feel like it sucks, because I’m not going to have anywhere to go on Saturdays with my friends in Woodbridge,” Gerald said.

Gerald stated that while she enjoyed the entertainment there, she didn’t enjoy the location’s food and service.

“The atmosphere in there was nice. I never ate the food, because I heard mixed reviews…and the waitresses and servers…they weren’t the best…Woodbridge isn’t a big place and this was the only happening thing to do where you could dance, but it was way too large,” commented Gerald.

For Kyran Wallenhorst, a manager at the nearby Soma Intimates location, it was a relief to see that the restaurant had closed down.

“On Saturday I walked by [the restaurant] and there was this big handwritten ‘closed’ sign…I don’t think anyone was that excited about [the location]. It was always loud – there were people always outside. It made me nervous for my own employees when they left at 10 o’clock at night. We’re an all-girl staff – so we started having everybody park together, everybody walk out together,” said Wallenhorst.

Mum Mum opening at Hylton, offers regional Thai cuisine

mum mum

The restaurant scene outside the Hylton Performing Arts Center continues to grow.

Mum Mum, a new Thai eatery will open its doors this month across from the center. The idea is to create a relaxing atmosphere and an upscale environment where show patrons can grab a bite to eat and a drink before seeing a show.

Kris Yoo is part owner of the restaurant. Creating an authentic bistro, from everything from the interior to a menu of inspired mash-up recipes of Thai food with border influences, is what Mum Mum is all about.

Yoo spent $80,000 to import original teak wood to the restaurant. The wood hangs over the bar and makes up some of the bench seating in the restaurant. It is engraved with a poem of a man who is professing his love for a woman.

The menu has some of the “usual suspects,” as Yoo described them, such as pad Thai. But there’s also northern Thai curry – a spicy dish full of Indian influences. It’s just a sample of the regional influences built into Yoo’s menu. The restaurant will also attempt to feature locally sourced food from our area.

What’s behind the name? “Mum mum” is slang in Thailand for food. So, when someone tells a child to get something to eat they say “mum, mum,” not “num, num,” explained Yoo.

The venture is a partnership between Yoo and the owner of Zabb Tahi Restaurant in the Bull Run Plaza shopping center off Sudley Manor Drive. Mum Mum is the first restaurant Yoo has operated.

Mum Mum will have a soft opening in two weeks in an effort to establish a bar crowd. A ribbon cutting with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for May 29.

Food Truck Fest comes to Woodbridge May 23

11100078_1092926597389678_3393976510698528099_n

On May 23, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. there will be the first annual Woodbridge Food Truck Festival at Gar-Field Senior High School on Smoketown Road.

The festival will feature local vendors, and some of the area’s best food trucks, said a release.

The event is free for all residents, and there will be food and drinks available to purchase on site.

This festival signals a growing trend in food trucks in Prince William County, and the greater Northern Virginia area.

Photo contest honors historic local resource

Joy Cox's winning entry in the photo contest.

Joy Cox’s winning entry in the photo contest.

The first ever Government Island photo contest, called “Picturing Government Island,” just concluded. The contest, run by Tour Stafford Virginia via their Facebook page, features five winners.

The photo contest was judged by photographer Buddy Secor of Ninja Pix and historian Jane Conner, who is the author of book about Government Island called “Birthstone of the White House and Capitol.”

Stones from an old quarry that used to be on the small island inside Aquia Harbour in Stafford, Virginia, were used to build the White House and Capitol. Government Island is now a park with hiking trails.

Maria Cannata's winning entry.

Maria Cannata’s winning entry.

Maria Cannata received Honorable Mention in the Nature and Landscape category and will receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.

Laura Stoffel's winning entry.

Laura Stoffel’s winning entry.

Laura Stoffel received Honorable Mention in the People category and will also receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.

Joy Cox received Honorable Mention in the Animals category. She, too, will receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.

An entry by Alyssa Douglas.

An entry by Alyssa Douglas.

The Fan Favorite, with 346 votes, is Alyssa Douglas. She won a $50 gift certificate to Zibibbo 73 Trattoria Italiana & Bar.

The Grand Prize Winner and recipient of a $50 gift certificate to Zibibbo 73 Trattoria Italiana & Bar is Brant Stevenson.

Brant Stevenson's grand prize-winning photo.

Brant Stevenson’s grand prize-winning photo.

‘Wings Pizza N Things’ opens at George Mason University

wings-pizza-things

Students at George Mason University’s Beacon Hall have a new dining option.

Wings Pizza N Things will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday, April 2, 2015. The new restaurant joins a Subway restaurant located on the ground floor of a new residence at the Prince William Campus, or soon to be known as Science and Technology Campus of George Mason University just outside Manassas.

Novant Health also plans to open a Bull Run Medicine inside the ground-level retail area near the new restaurant.

Special discounts will be offered following a ribbon cutting ceremony that will feature locally elected officials, according to a press release. The restaurant is a sports bar and grill that serves up American food, according to the release.

Beacon Hall sits across from the Hylton Performing Arts Center. It’s dubbed a mixed-use development center that has student housing, educational space, as well as spaces for additional retail stores.

In all, the 105,000 square foot facility provides 152 beds for students enrolled in the university’s medical education program, according to the release.

Constructional Beacon Hall was completed in 2012, the release stated.

Manassas Restaurant Week is coming: 2-course meals for $25

restaurant, city, eat, festival

Have you been to Historic Downtown Manassas lately? Did you know there are numerous one-of-a-kind restaurants and shops?

To celebrate our culinary diversity, the Historic Manassas Restaurant Alliance is hosting Spring Restaurant Week.

What does this mean for you and me? It means that from March 22 – 28 diners can have two course meals for $25 and three course meals for $35.

Each restaurant will offer restaurant specific specials during the week as well. One-of-a-kind restaurants in the City of Manassas include Carmello’s, City Square Cafe, City Tavern, Deli Depot, El Cactus, Foster’s Grille, Ground Central Station, Katerina’s Greek, Mackey’s American Pub, Malones of Manassas, Monza, Okra’s, Old Towne Sports Pub, Philadelphia Tavern, The Bone and Zandra’s.

There’s something for every taste in the City of Manassas. This is the second Restaurant Week city restaurants have offered, the first being in September 2014. The Historic Manassas Restaurant Alliance was chartered to enhance the culinary experience of Manassas and to hold a Taste of Historic Manassas event every June and restaurant weeks in September and March.

The city’s newest restaurant, C.J. Finz is offering half a pound of shrimp or half a dozen oysters and a sandwich of your choice plus a glass of beer or wine for $25. Philadelphia Tavern is offering two Philly cheesesteaks and two microbrews for $25. Many of the restaurants are participation. To see all of the offerings during restaurant week, visit manassascity.org/restaurantweek.

This promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

Madigan’s offers American fare on the Occoquan waterfront

Madigans, occoquan, restaurant

The next time you’re looking for a waterfront meal, and you don’t want to leave the area, head over to Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant, a restaurant in Occoquan that’s been open for almost 10-years.

Cathy Madigan and her husband started in the restaurant business in Prince William back in 1997, before moving to their current location.

“We had Madigan’s Grille, which was up on Old Bridge Road…from 1997 until 2007,” said Madigan, continuing, “My husband always wanted to have a restaurant on the water. This is really his dream…we’ve lived in Florida and North Carolina for a long time, and we ended up settling at Madigan’s Grille, but when this location [in Occoquan] became available, then we jumped at it.”

Madigan said that their menu consists of American fare with a heavy emphasis on seafood, and many of their seafood items are among the most popular with customers.crab & avocado eggrolls.PNG

“The crab cakes. People love our crab cakes. The stuffed flounder – it’s wonderful – it melts in your mouth. It’s a filet of flounder that’s stuffed with crab meat and baby shrimp, Monterey Jack cheese and it’s topped with a little lemon butter sauce. And then also the Dirty Chicken – it’s kind of one of our signature dishes,” said Madigan.

They have inside dining space, patio seating in front of the Occoquan River, and an upstairs reception area where they host a slew of weddings and special events.

“We try to do special events every month,” said Madigan.

They offer themed dinners for the holidays, and one of their most popular special events is their wine nights.

“About once a month we do a wine glass painting, plus a half a bottle of wine or $35. People love that – they get to paint four wine glasses and enjoy a half a bottle of wine while they’re doing it with their friends,” Madigan said.

An upcoming event they’re hosting is ‘Shots Around the World’ which is run by Fireball Whiskey.

“We’re the only bar in this area that they’ve chosen to have it. This is our third year of doing it,” Madigan commented.

In their patio deck area, Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant has a Tiki bar that opens in April, which offers local entertainment every night and drink specials.

The Madigan family does community outreach for charities, using the restaurant to host charity events and donations of food and gift certificates to charities.

“We donate a lot of gift certificates to charity events. We’ve had different [charity] events here at the restaurant. We have a yearly event for leukemia – a golf tournament. We’ve had the Wounded Warriors, where they took over the whole downstairs [for an event],” Madigan said.

According to Madigan, a big part of their success in the community has been their employees.

“We’re very fortunate – we have wonderful employees, that are very loyal,” Madigan commented.

The restaurant will celebrate its tenth year anniversary this October.

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.

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.

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.

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