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 received Honorable Mention in the Nature and Landscape category and will receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Hollenbach 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Potomac Local Leaders
The owner and chef of Pizza Spot in Manassas Park first got his hands into the dough at just 16 years old.
After completing culinary school, Rajeev, who prefers to go by the last name “C,” pursued a Bachelors Degree in hotel and restaurant management. Upon graduation, he quickly moved up to fine dining and service learning from renowned chefs at several leading hotel chains in Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia including The Omni Hotel and The Four Seasons Hotel, all while completing an MBA.
After 15 years, he was eager to return to the fast pace of restaurant work. Being inspired by a family of great cooks and a successful catering business, he knew he was born to cook. On July 4, 2010, he realized his life long dream and opened Pizza Spot in Manassas Park. As a resident of Manassas with his wife and daughter, the location and timing was perfect.
Vickers: Why is your pizza so good and can you describe your top three selling pizzas?
Rajeev: As authentic as pizza gets, we are not your average pizza joint. Offering the best in ingredients, we make our own dough and sauces fresh in the restaurant. We serve lunch and dinner seven days a week. Many of our regular customers call ahead for take-out or take advantage of free delivery (within 3 miles). Pizza Spot is known to have something for everyone. Our menu consists of a large variety of signature pizzas, calzones, pasta, salad, Panini and our wings. Our handpicked colossal wings range from sweet chili to fiery hot. Our chicken wings are prepared with a homemade seasoned marinade and feature several unique sauce flavors.
We offer 20 toppings for you to create your own pizza – hand tossed, deep dish or thin crust. Our top-selling Signature pizzas include:
Pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, bacon, green peppers, onion, mushrooms and olives
The Greek Macedon
Pesto sauce, chicken, green peppers, onion, olives and feta cheese
Fresh basil, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella
The Hawaiian Hercules
Pineapple, ham, chicken and bacon. Topped with chef’s special sauce
As a chef and food critic, I take pride in making each pizza as it is my passion. All my pizzas are creatively inspired by international flavors and cooked the traditional way on brick stones. My secret recipe comprises of 3 key factors – Ingredients, Temperature and Touch.
Vickers: What type of community work have you done in the past?
Rajeev: Over the past few years, the ManassasPark community, residents and local businesses have been extremely supportive and in return, we take pride in providing delicious food as well as friendly service to everyone. As a local family owned restaurant, we are active in the Manassas community supporting several events and charities – Manassas Park National Night Out, local sports teams and bands, student discounts etc.
Vickers: who are your best costumers?
Rajeev: We also participate in several marketing programs to keep our customers informed of new menu items, coupons and other specials. We encourage our entire customer base to join our Loyalty Program – The Pizza Spot Rewards, for additional savings and free food items.
Vickers: what’s your vision for your business based in the Manassas park community ?
Rajeev: As we grow, we would like to attract and serve crowds from well beyond city limits. It is my simple philosophy that food should be fresh, fun and easy to prepare and healthy to fit the American lifestyle. Our food is sure to keep our customers coming back for more.
Want to go?
9107 Andrew Drive,