Veteran chef Antonio Burrell wants to make Eventide one of the best restaurants in Northern Virginia. He plans on doing so with some Southern charm.
By Evan Milberg
Veteran chef Antonio Burrell is looking to make Clarendon’s Eventide Restaurant relevant again. “Unfortunately because of all of the other openings in the area like Lyon Hall and Liberty Tavern that have more an of every-day-of-the-week atmosphere, those places are doing a little bit better than we are. We want to start bringing those people back,” says Burrell.
Burrell is first revamping the first floor, Odd Bar, with cider glazed pork belly sliders, pimento cheese deviled eggs and housemade pretzels. (Burrell posted the full menu on Don Rockwell, where he first discovered the opening.)
Raised in North Carolina, Burrell will bring a Southern flair to the restaurant. “I grew up eating succotash. I grew up eating black eyed peas. I remember family dinners and Sundays were some of my favorite times, seeing who could eat the most. [Eventide] won’t be so crazy that people think they’re in North Carolina, but there are going to be things that say ‘South,’” says Burrell.
And that means lots of fried chicken. “When you eat the fried chicken, you should think, ‘Wow, this is good fried chicken,’ but it should remind you of your mother’s fried chicken. I have a lot of good memories with fried chicken back home. I want [customers] to recall those same feelings. It’s big in this area, but it’s also big in my life,” Burrell says.
Burrell, who started little more than a week ago at Eventide, brings experience from Aquavit in Minneapolis and local restaurants such as Vidalia, Bistro Bis, CommonWealth, Masa 14 and most recently from Agua 301. Burrell says the restaurant was a great fit for him because he no longer feels he has to “color people’s pictures for them.”
“I wanted to cook what I want to cook,” Burrell says. “So I was looking for something that would really fit, that would give me 100 percent freedom in the kitchen within some very small, reasonable accommodations. I get to establish the vision for the kitchen and run things how they’re supposed to be run.”