WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




IKEA remodels Woodbridge restaurant

Reginald Thomas looks forward to his breakfast.

A bus driver for PRTC, the hot meal is a chance to take a welcome break and put fuel in his tank to keep going for the rest of the day. The price of his meal at a newly remodeled IKEA Restaurant at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge is easy to swallow, too.

“It’s 99 cents. By far, this is the best breakfast deal in town,” said Thomas, of Lake Ridge, who is a regular here on workdays.

With a plate piled high full of sausage and potatoes, Thomas poured himself a drink from a self-serve beverage station that sits in the middle of the floor and then he found himself a seat.

“I don’t eat the eggs here,” he said. “For some reason, they’re not cooked the way I like them. I like my eggs cracked, and they don’t do that here.” (more…)

Lines form for Bar-J reopening

A woman walked into the new Bar-J restaurant in Occoquan and quickly came right back outside.

“Do you have a takeout menu?” she asked, opting to get her lunch to go due to the scores of people inside.

The storied chili parlor and restaurant’s return to the area brought out big crowds for its opening day in Occoquan. The restaurant is a 30-year-old tradition in the area, as the business once had locations in Lorton and at Gordon Plaza on Route 123 in Woodbridge, which closed in 2004.

“It’s just the same as it’s always been. It’s the Bar-J,” said Jeff Grooms, who drove from Fredericksburg to eat Texas chili mac. (more…)

Valentine’s Day Events: Chocolate walk and couples art class

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Valentine’s Day weekend is the perfect opportunity to spice up a regular date night.

Our area lot to offer to make your Valentine’s Day weekend a success. From special restaurant deals, couples painting sessions, and chocolate tasting.

Historic Occoquan Chocolate Walk, Saturday, Feb. 13, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The third annual Chocolate Walk is taking place this Saturday in Occoquan. While strolling through the historic district of Occoquan you’ll be given the opportunity to sample chocolate goodies.

Over 40 shops and restaurants will be participating in the annual Chocolate Walk. You’ll be given the opportunity to register for a chance to win a prize, no purchase is needed to enter. This event is sponsored by the Business Guild of Occoquan. (more…)

Manassas eateries hope for successful NOVA restaurant week

Eateries in Downtown Manassas hope this year’s expanded restaurant week will spur new business.

The March 7 – 14 event has been dubbed “Northern Virginia Restaurant Week,” as several area chambers of commerce to include the Prince William Chamber banded together to promote this event as a regional event.

“By doing this, the hope is to get some national attention,” said Historic Manassas Inc. Director Debbie Haight.

Historic Manassas, Inc. partnered with the Prince William Chamber to allow all restaurants in Downtown to participate in the upcoming event without having to pay the $250 per restaurant participation fee. (more…)

D.C.’s Matchbox opens at Potomac Mills

Matchbox in the process of a national expansion.

The Washington, D.C.-based Matchbox American Kitchen + Spirit plans to open at least six new restaurants per year, with eyed locations in Richmond, Colorado, and Florida. The eatery got its start on H Street, near Verizon Center in D.C. and later expanded to Maryland and Northern Virginia.

It’s the newest location at Potomac Mills mall opened Thursday. The setting of this two-level restaurant is cold-weather cozy, with two fireplaces inside and three fire pits on an outside patio.

Reclaimed wood was used to make the walls, and steel and brick round out the industrial feel of the restaurant. The second floor is complete with tables that overlook the bar, and two “floating” booths that offer a cozy space for group dining. (more…)

Jirani Coffeehouse merging arts with downtown community

Downtown Manassas will soon welcome a new, quaint little coffeehouse to its collection of stores. Located across the train tracks in Old Town Manassas, Jirani Coffeehouse plans to open its doors to locals in mid-February this year.

The coffeehouse will offer live music, shows, and entertainment that’s easily accessible right in the Manassas community. This will be a major perk for locals as it allows them to skip the drive to D.C. and grab a quality cup of joe at a live event.

The thing is, this isn’t any old coffee shop. In fact, it’s not a “coffee shop” at all.

“This is not just a coffee shop. We call it a coffeehouse because our little tagline is that we’re a third space. You have home, you have work, but it’s another place you can go. It’s the third space,” said Connie Mosemak, the Manager of Jirani Coffeehouse. (more…)

Most Virginians don’t know they can bring wine bottles to dinner. What about beer?

Bad wolf brewing company, manassas, virginia, beer, drink

Do you have an expensive bottle of wine you’ve been holding onto – one that you’d love to uncork at your favorite restaurant on a special occasion? What about a special case of beer or cider?

In 2011, the General Assembly passed a law allowing Virginians to bring a bottle of wine into a restaurant and have it uncorked to be served with their meal, usually for a fee at the restaurateur’s discretion. Now legislators are considering a bill to expand the corkage law to beer and cider.

“Beer seems to be the new thing if you will, and cider is the excitement of what the future will bring,” said the bill’s sponsor, Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News. “Virginia is in a great position because we have outstanding apples, and we’ve got young people that are really excited about the possibilities that beer has.” (more…)

Brew Republic will be Stonebridge’s brewery in Woodbridge

brew republic

What do you get when you mix a “recovering politician” with alcohol?

Woodbridge residents will find out this spring when Brew Republic Bierwerks opens in Potomac Town Center in Stonebridge.

Co-owner Jeff Frederick said his new establishment will be the first and only brewery in the shopping center known for Wegmans. The Brew Republic is one of many new breweries that have or will soon open their doors in Prince William County after leaders changed a zoning rule allowing such establishments in retail centers.

Frederick once represented Woodbridge in the Virginia House of Delegates. He served three terms in Richmond, and he also served as the head of the Republican Party of Virginia.

He announced in 2009 that he wouldn’t seek a fourth term and bowed out of politics. Other than endorsing other local political candidates for office, Frederick has remained low key since his departure from the General Assembly.

As it turns out, Frederick’s father-in-law was an executive at the Yuengling Brewery. After he passed away in 2013, he and his wife Amy met with executives at Pennsylvania-based Yuengling and learned the company once owned a brewery in Richmond.

Frederick agreed to work with the company to bring back the old Yuengling brewery to Richmond. He spent months learning about how beer is made, and about the business side of how breweries get paid.

Yuengling eventually decided they didn’t want to move forward on the Richmond project, said Frederick. So he partnered with Darcy and Ryan Heisey, of Montclair, and they agreed to open their first brewery in Woodbridge. The Heisey’s will brew the beer, and Frederick will manage the shop.

“We wanted to do it at Stonebridge because it hasn’t been done before,” said Frederick.

Ornery Public House in 2015 became Prince William County’s first brewpub, pairing homemade brews with freshly prepared cuisine. Growing Bear Brewery also opened the same year, of Golansky Boulevard.

“We wanted to be a little bit higher end, but not pretentious,” said Frederick.

The Brew Republic has 24 recipes on file, and plans to have eight to 10 beers on tap at any given time when they open in late spring 2016. A Belgian lager, an amber ale, and an IPA are just a few of the brews that will be offered.

Of all of the new craft breweries popping up around the area, Frederick said he doesn’t see them as competition.

“There’s this thing that we’ve learned in the craft brewing industry — a rising tide helps all boats,” he said.

Fresh, hot, glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts coming to Manassas

Krispy Kreme

The red light will soon shine in Manassas, meaning hot and glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts are ready to go.

The City Council last night approved the addition of a fourth pad retail site at the Davis Ford Crossing Shopping Center at the corner of Prince William Parkway, Liberia Avenue, and Wellington Road. A Krispy Kreme will be built between the Exxon gas station and Arby’s restaurant there.

This will be the first Krispy Kreme in Manassas, and the Prince William region. Other Krispy Kreme stores are located in Alexandria and Fredericksburg.

“It’s always exciting when we welcome a new business to the city, but particularly fun when it’s a brand with such a following” said Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy. “I join many Manassas residents in eager anticipation of this project’s completion.”

A total of 22 parking spaces at Davis Ford Crossing will be lost to construction. There are a total of 113 unused parking spaces at the site, according to city documents.

Officials will break ground for the new building in the spring.

Krispy Kreme is famous for glazed doughnuts served hot and fresh. The company first opened its doors in North Carolina and later began selling doughnuts to people on the street who walked up to the bakery after smelling the doughnuts cooking.

That tradition remains the same today. Krispy Kreme stores will turn on a red light in the window to notify customers that hot and fresh doughnuts are ready for purchase.

Earlier this year, Manassas officials joined Gov. Terry McAuliffe to welcome Paradise Donuts to its new location on Route 28.

Over 100 expected to camp out in Lake Ridge for free Chick-fil-A sandwiches for 1 year

Chick-fil-A is preparing for a “parking lot party” in Lake Ridge tonight.

The company’s newest location at Prince William Parkway and Old Bridge Road will open on Wednesday, December 16. That means a small crowd is expected to gather in the Chick-fil-A parking lot to line up to the first to enter the restaurant and to win a one-year supply of Chick-fil-A Food.
The fast-food restaurant is a popular destination for the region.

This newest store is the sixth in Prince William County. There’s also one in Manassas.

The Woodbridge Chick-fil-A off Interstate 95 near Potomac Mills mall was once the highest grossing Chick-fil-A in the company. Luis Hevia, the owner-operator of the Woodbridge location will also operate the new restaurant in Lake Ridge.

“With dozens of folks expected to line up at the restaurant 24 hours before the grand opening, the parking lot party often includes tents, flat screen TV’s recliners and more,” said Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Tiffany Simmons in a press release.

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The new restaurant is expected to create 80 new jobs. This is the third Chick-fil-A to open in the Washington, D.C area in six weeks.

Hevia will collect children’s books at his restaurant’s grand opening, and then he plans to give the books to Prince William County Public Schools.

“The books collected during the grand opening celebration will be placed in a nearly three-foot Book House and donated to the Prince William School System. The Book House serves as a free library exchange – allowing anyone to take a book after replacing it with one of their own. Created from old and thrown out wood, the Book House is one of several community programs made possible through the support of the Chick-fil-A Foundation,” said Simmons.

The interior of the new restaurant will look different than its predecessors in the area, and will feature a newly designed kitchen, and a dining room that includes subway tiles and metals in different colors. The restaurant will also offer a drive-through lane and free wi-fi access.

Of course, like all other Chick-fil-A restaurants, this one is also closed on Sundays. It will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Ornery children? Not at this Christmastime breakfast with police

There were some happy children who were anything but ornery, who went with police officers to pick out Chirstmas gifts and then to eat breakfast. It was all apart of the annual “Santa Cops” event in Prince William County.

Ornery Public House in Woodbridge sent us their story: 

The Ornery Beer Company Public House teamed up with the Fraternal Order of Police, Battlefield Lodge 43, and the Prince William County Police Department to help bring holiday joy and fun to at-risk children of Prince William County.

With the help from many police agencies in the area, children were taken on a shopping spree at Walmart then driven in a convoy of police vehicles, lights & sirens blaring, to the Ornery Public House in the Potomac Festival Shopping Center for a breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, juice and more while volunteers wrapped the presents. With holiday music playing and

Santa arrived in a helicopter at Walmart to greet the children. Law enforcement officers donate their time and to help the children have a Christmas to remember, taking them on the shopping spree then breakfast at the Ornery Public House.

The Ornery Public House donated the breakfast for the children, officers, and volunteers as well as the restaurant for the wrapping of the gifts. Participating police agencies included Prince William County Police, Prince William Adult Detention Center, Virginia State Police, Manassas City Police, Manassas Park Police, Haymarket Police, and Prince William County Sheriff’s Department.

If you would like to help contribute, please send your donation to Fraternal Order of Police ~ Battlefield Lodge 43 Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 195, Woodbridge, VA 22194.  Battlefield Lodge 43 Charitable Foundation is 501(c)3  Not-For-Profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

Heritage Brewery, The Bone team up for new Verizon Center location

The Bone, a popular barbecue restaurant in Manassas, teamed with with Manassas beer maker Heritage Brewery to open a new eatery inside Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center.

It marks the first collaboration between the beer and barbecue makers.

Heritage Brewery told us this about the opening: 

The eatery opened on October 10, 2015- opening night for the Washington Capitals. The partnership was spawned over discussions with The Bone. Beer & barbecue are a perfect match, after all. Heritage plans to open other sports and entertainment venues with The Bone as its partner. 

Our CEO, Sean Arroyo, said of choosing the Verizon Center:  “We chose the Verizon Center because of the tie to the community in the DMV. We are all huge Caps and Wizards fans and it was the perfect place for us to showcase our beer and BBQ.”  We are the only local craft beer in the arena. 

It’s also the first location and currently only location that we are serving 16oz cans of American Expedition Honey Ginger Wheat Ale and soon Freedom Isn’t Free IPA.

Chuys will hire 175 employees for Woodbridge diner

Chuy’s will open inside the old Macaroni Grill in Woodbridge in January, and the Tex Mex restaurant plans to hire 175 workers.

Here’s more in a press release: 

Chuy’s Woodbridge, scheduled to open January 2016, will be located near Potomac Mills at 2641 Prince William Pkwy, Woodbridge, Virginia 22192.

“We are thrilled to expand our reach and bring authentic Tex-Mex to even more Northern Virginia residents,” said Skylar Bell, local Owner/Operator of Chuy’s Woodbridge. “We are looking for excited and motivated staff that are as passionate as we are about making and serving quality, fresh food.”

To support its vibrant and friendly atmosphere, Chuy’s will be hiring a variety of full- and part-time positions, including hosts, servers, bussers and bartenders. The authentic Tex-Mex restaurant is also looking for talented kitchen staff to help prepare its made from scratch dishes and signature sauces. Priding themselves on working hard and having fun at the same time, Chuy’s will be looking for new employees in Woodbridge to continue that trend.

Interested applicants can apply Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Chuy’s hiring office located at the future site of Chuy’s Woodbridge.

Chuy’s has locations in Springfield Mall and on Route 29 in Fairfax County. The company opened in 1982, and its restaurants serve Tex Mex food with recopies inspired by food consumed in border towns in south Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico.

MOD Pizza opens first Virginia location at Promenade at Virginia Gateway in Gainesville

The Chipotle of pizza restaurants opens at noon on Friday.

MOD Pizza will open in the Promenade at Virginia Gateway in Gainesville. It’ the first location the Seattle-based chain has opened in Virginia.

MOD Pizza (Made on Demand) offers nine different kinds of pizza with predetermined ingredients such as mozzarella, gorgonzola, and asiago cheeses, vegetables, and meats. Customers can pick one from the menu, and just as they would at Subway or Chipotle, walk down a line and tell the pizza maker what additional toppings they want on their pie.

Pizza prices range between $10.87, $7.87, and $4.87 for a large, medium (MOD size), and small, respectively. The prices remain the same no matter how many toppings you put on your pizza.

MOD Pizza also offers salads, garlic and cinnamon strips, and milkshakes.

The eatery will give away prizes to the first 50 customers in line when it opens on Friday. Friends and family members of employees were invited into the eatery on Wednesday and treated to menu items so employees could do a dry run prior to opening day.

Macaron Tart opens to fanfare in Haymarket

On the evening of Thursday, November 5th the Dominion Valley Market Square shopping center welcomed in a new small business with the grand opening of Macaron Tart, a French Pasterisse that specializes in naturally made sweets and baking classes. Owner Elena Hocking welcomed Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Corey Stewart and Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland as well as business, government and civic leaders to join the Macaron Tart in celebrating small business at this community event.

The evening began with an array of baked goods, both sweet and savory, as those in attendance marveled at the creations made by French trained pastry Chef and owner Elena. She welcomed the crowd to the Macaron Tart as she spoke of how excited she was to bring a taste of Paris to Haymarket to share with the community.

“I’m really happy and honored to be a part of this community and bring Macaron Tart to the local market,” said Hocking “I wanted to bring the French experience to the locals […] and Macaron Tart is a place where you can have that experience.”

She emphasized how important the small business community in Northern Virginia has been and how they contributed to her ability to open the store of her dreams, and will be a part of her success.

Hocking then introduced Candland and Stewart to the microphone to say a few words before the grand ribbon cutting. In speaking about the importance of community in building up small business owners Candland stated that the opening of Macaron Tart, “Reflects us here in Prince William County, people coming together and lifting each other up making it possible for someone to start a small business like this.” The supervisor went on to discuss how designing a community and putting in place important structure is essential, “but it is places like [Macaron Tart] that make a community desirable for people to live.”

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Stewart took the microphone to discuss the growth and diversification of the Prince William County area how residents of the county are steadily interested in becoming more cosmopolitan, making Macaron Tart a little piece of Europe.

“Economic development helps with the big businesses and some of those issues, but at the end of the day it’s the small business people that are generating most of the jobs, contributing most to the economic growth of this community.” said Stewart.

Hocking, Stewart, and Candland gave thanks to Linda Decker and the Flory Small Businesses Center, Inc for their contributions in helping the Macaron Tart come to life, and for the assistance they provide small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in Prince William County.

The grand opening of Macaron Tart is only the first step towards making owner Hocking’s dreams come true. The store will hold baking classes monthly, as well as high teas for birthdays and other events, with an online store coming soon.

“We hope you come and make [Macaron Tart] a part of your world,” said Hocking.

Macaron Tart will be open to the public Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

Thai Peppers expands to Dominion Valley

Tasneeya “Tas” Gordon has always wanted to open a restaurant in Dominion Valley.

“My kids go to school here… we love the community,” she said.

Next week, that dream will become reality as Gordon plans to open the doors on the third Thai Peppers Restaurant in the Dominion Plaza shopping center next to Giant Food. Her other two Thai Peppers eateries are in Alexandria, and her Bristow location that opened in 2011.

The menu features curry fried rice, noodle dishes, spring rolls, and authentic Thai dishes. Thai Peppers will be the only Thai restaurant in Dominion Valley, she said.

People think of spicy, hot food when they think of Thai, so that’s why Gordon chose the name “Thai Peppers.”

“The name is easy to remember, and our food can be hot or mild,” said Gordon.

The new location will feature a darker interior than the Thai Peppers restaurant in Bristow.

“We used a lot of copper, gold, silver and brown while the other restaurant has a lot of red. There is more of an older crowd here while Bristow has more young families, so we didn’t want anything too poppy,” said Gordon.

The new restaurant will also feature a full bar. Gordon is still working through the permitting process with Prince William County, so she cannot yet offer an opening date.

Gordon’s new restaurant sits just doors down from the new Macaron Tart patisserie shop.

When it does open, Thai Peppers in Dominion Valley will be open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 Saturday, and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays.

Macaron Tart hopes Haymarket has a sweet tooth

A woman with a marketing background and love for French pastries will open a new bakery in Dominion Valley.

Macaron Tart will open in the Dominion Valley Shops next to Giant Food near Haymarket on November 5. Founder and president of the shop Elena Hocking said it will offer sweet treats and unique experiences for its customers.

“It’s just pretty pastries for your locals, really,” said Hocking.

The entrepreneur is hoping the community will embrace her bakery and place special orders for sweet and savory tarts, cookies, macaroons, and other treats for special occasions. The pastries also made great gifts for coworkers and friends, added Hocking.

The bakery will also offer a place to have tea with a friend. Baking classes will also be held here at least once a month where people can take two and a half hours to come and learn to make treats like crossaints, chocolate cupcakes, and cake pops.

“We plan to offer classes every Friday and Saturday as we grow,” said Hocking.

A baking class will cost $100 per person. Similar classes offered in the Washington, D.C. area range between $75 and $140 per person, said Hocking.

Macaroon Tart prides itself on making nearly everything from scratch from natural ingredients.

“It’s good for you, and it looks pretty,” said Hocking.

The Flory Small Business Center worked with Macaroon Tart to help the business reach opening day. The center is assisting the pastry shop with a ribbon cutting Thursday, November 5.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart and Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland are scheduled to be on hand to cut the ribbon.

Opening the shop has “been a work in progress.” Hocking worked in business marketing in the corporate world before deciding to open her won shop. A passion for pastry and several trips to France fueled her desire to open her own bakery.

Stafford to celebrate county’s first ‘restaurant week’

Stafford County will celebrate its first restaurant week October 16 to 25.

This fall the Stafford County Economic Development & Tourism office is pleased to present Stafford County Restaurant week. During the week of October 16-25, eighteen locally owned and operated restaurants throughout the county will show off their culinary charms to area diners. To encourage further participation, diners who visit four of the listed restaurants will be entered into a drawing for a grand prize at the end of Restaurant Week. 

— Tramia Jackson, Stafford Economic Development & Tourism’s Tourism and Special Projects Consultant

Here’s a list of participating restaurants: 

Restaurant  Address Phone 
Amy’s Cafe 103 West Cambridge Street 540-373-3663
Before ‘n After Cafe 35 Wapole Street, $115 540-845-3373
Clubhouse at Aquia Harbour Country Club 204 Bow Cove 540-288-0091
Cornbread and Caviar 570 Celebrate Virginia Parkway #103 540-684-1300
Family Pizzeria  1924 Jefferson Davis Highway  540-288-3277
The Globe and Laurel Restaurant  3987 Jefferson Davis Highway  703-221-5763
The Grille at Leeland Junction  10 Leeland Road  
The Icing Baking Company  261 Garrisonville Road #110 540-659-895
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 261 Garrisonville Road #101 540-720-1935
Mainstreet Bar and Grill  315 Garrisonville Road #108  540-288-9277
Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge  2866 Jefferson Davis Highway  540-659-5500
Q Sub Cafe 11 Hope Road


Rheingarten Restaurant  3998 Jefferson Davis Highway 


Roma’s Cafe 736 Warrenton Road 


Vinny’s Italian Grill  397 Garrisonville Road 


Zibibbo 73 Italian Restaurant Trattoria and Wine Bar 2757 Jefferson Davis Highway 



‘Taste of the Town’ to honor NOVEC founder

The 15th-annual Taste of the Town will honor the man who is half responsible for the name of one of the area’s largest high schools.

J. Manley Garber is the founder longest serving board member at the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative. His last name also makes up half of the name for Gar-Field Senior High School in Woodbridge.

Garber, and another area family the Manderfields donated the land on which the currently sits at 14000 Smoketown Road, just across from Potomac Mills mall. The school building opened in 1972.

Garner will receive the Lily Blackwell Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to not only Project Mend-A-House, but to the community at-large. The award is named after Blackwell, who founded Project Mend-A-House in Prince William County 31 years ago.

“Mr. Garber played an instrumental role in making Prince William County what it is today,” said Project Mend-A-House Director Jennifer Shock Bolles.

The non-profit organization based in Manassas provides free home repairs to low-income families, as well as makes safety modifications to homes belonging to seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans for low or no cost.

The annual “Taste of the Town” is the organization’s annual fundraiser. More than 39 restaurants — from PF Changs to Bonefish Grill — will set up a table inside VFW Hall 1503 at 14631 Minnieville Road in Dale City, and will offer tastes of appetizers and entrees.

“You can have whatever you want. There’s tons of food,” said Bolles.

The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. October 28. Tickets for the event are $30 in advance, or $35 at the door. This year’s theme for the event is “love begins at home.”
Last year’s “Taste of the Town” raised $10,000 for Project Mend-A-House. The organization aims to surpass that mark with this year’s event.

Those who attend will also hear from volunteers, and from those who have benefited from Project Mend-A-House services during a brief program that will also be held inside the VFW hall.

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