From a new bagel shop in Alexandria to food holidays worth looking forward to, here’s what’s happening in the NoVA food world this month.
1. Bagels + Bistro
Nicole Jones is talking about hydration and fermentation and microblistering. She’s thinking about smoked whitefish, beet-cured salmon and how tahini mixed with oil, garlic and zaatar would work as a vegan cream cheese substitute.
She’s thinking about her bagel shop.
Jones, the owner of Stomping Ground, teamed up with Chad Breckinridge to reopen Bagel Uprising in the former Happy Tart space. Bagel Uprising started as a sensation at Four Mile Run Farmers Market when Alexandria was starved for the doughy breakfast staple.
Bagels have since sprung up all over Alexandria: Baked by Yael is sold at various farmers markets; Pendleton Carryout Co., in the Parker-Gray neighborhood, sells bagel sandwiches; and Genuine Water Bagels operates out of Old Neighborhood Deli in Old Town.
Because Breckinridge, a full-time lawyer, used to bake out of his house, and for a short time, popped-up in the Dairy Godmother space, Jones swept in to take his base recipe and give it restaurant-worthy consistency.
Where Jones calls Stomping Ground “Southern-ish,” tapping into her years in Georgia, for this project she says she will, “unearth the Lithuanian side” of her family tree. Leaving the cult of bacon-egg-and-cheeses behind, Bagel Uprising will instead showcase Eastern European fillings like smoked fishes and lingonberry jams. It’s expected to open in August.
When Stomping Ground first opened, the coffee shop turned into a bistro at night, serving vegetable-forward, seasonal, modern American fare with global influences. It was a true neighborhood spot: affordable food, sensibly portioned. The menu was both ambitious in its sourcing and beauty, but also on the amount of time it took to create that type of restaurant. At that point, Jones was still the one getting up in the morning to roll out biscuit dough and staying until dark to close service.
It was too much.
This time, Jones hired a chef to run the kitchen (Jamie Knight of Hank’s Oyster Bar on Capitol Hill) and a GM (Raquel Burbano of Captain Gregory’s) to spearhead the new beverage program, this time flush with spirits, plus beer and wine.
The plan, says Jones, is “opening in a terrible month and get all of our jitters out of the way,” aka July.
In a strip of restaurants full of burgers, tacos and bar food, the second coming of Stomping Ground dinner is a refresher to Del Ray, and another milestone for Jones’ burgeoning brand. “We’re gonna be a big girl restaurant and do it right this time.” // Bagel Uprising: 2307 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; Stomping Ground: 2309 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
2. Beer Hall
Loudoun County’s bar maven Nils Schnibbe, known for MacDowell Brew Kitchen and SideBar, launched More Better, a restaurant and beer hall in little-trafficked Round Hill. A native of Germany, Schnibbe will serve schnitzel, wurst, pretzels and his grandmother’s potato salad, plus burgers and steaks. // 35246 Harry Byrd Highway, Round Hill
3. Oyster House
After two years in the making, Whiskey & Oyster, by Mike “Mango Mike” Anderson (Shooter McGee’s, Pork Barrel BBQ) opened in Alexandria’s emerging Carlyle neighborhood. // 301 John Carlyle St., Alexandria
4. (Fake) Food Holidays
July 6: National Fried Chicken Day
July 13: National French Fry Day
July 20: National Ice Cream Sundae Day
When living in Germany for five years, Bonnie Branding says she “fell in love with the natural calm of breweries there.” In fact, her baby’s first public outing was at a beer garden to meet friends. After plotting the opening for a decade, Branding, with husband John, opened Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery.
Almost 20 acres on the estate are dedicated to growing wheat for the beers, with another couple set aside for fruits and vegetables. The mostly German lineup includes a pilsner, wit, bitter, alt (a traditional German red) and, of course, an American IPA. This fall, expect coolship beers, a European-style of spontaneous fermentation, thanks to the open vat in the upstairs of the property’s barn. // 38506 John Wolford Road, Waterford
6. Food Hall
We’re squarely in food hall mania, and Centerville’s Streatside is the newest to open with five stalls: Deep Kachu for Japanese-style katsu; Berry Green for poke and acai bowls; The Zert for shaved ice, honey bread, waffles and ice cream; Noodle Road for ramen, udon and yakisoba; and Two Sons for coffees, smoothies and bubble tea. // 6345 Multiplex Drive, Centreville
Does three make a chain? Beloved Fireworks Pizza, with locations in Leesburg and Arlington, opened a new shop in Sterling’s Cascades Overlook. // 21475 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling