One of Alexandria’s oldest restaurants now boasts an expansive bar and entire room dedicated to founder Joe Theismann.
Throughout the summer, Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) has been remodeling the interior of Joe Theismann’s Restaurant, officially unveiling the entirety of the changes Monday, Sept. 9, to coincide with the end of Metro’s Summer Shutdown.
From the floor to the ceiling of the 7,800-square-foot space, every surface diners see and touch is completely new, showcasing a sleek, modern look ARP has envisioned since the company purchased the site in March 2018. Renovations are now complete, right in time to celebrate the NFL’s 100th anniversary and founder Joe Theismann’s 70th birthday this fall.
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“Theismann’s continued success has evidenced its strength here,” says one of ARP owners, Scott Shaw, referencing a consistent increase in revenue over the years. “We knew if we bought it, Joe Theismann had to stay involved or we weren’t interested. And the third thing was, we knew the restaurant needed a makeover.”
While the original restaurant opened in Falls Church in 1975 by former Redskins Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Theismann, the Old Town location has thrived for nearly 33 years.
Before the renovations began, the ARP team and Joe Theismann agreed on three key goals: strip the entire interior to create a new feel within the restaurant, expand the bar significantly and reincorporate Theismann himself into the site.
“Over the years, they turned it into an all-purpose sports bar with oversized pictures of all kinds of athletes, but we thought let’s get back to the roots, which is Joe Theismann and what he stands for,” says Shaw. “Out with the polo players on the wall and in with Joe.”
While the front of the restaurant is memorabilia-free, the back now pays homage to Theismann, with mementos from his life in football, including original jerseys from high school, college and NFL teams framed on the walls, as well as trophies and photos from his days on the field.
As for the food, ARP saved Theismann’s classics, such as the French onion soup, Joe’s spiral chicken, lollipop lamb chops and Joe’s all-American burger and added Cuban sliders topped with Dijonnaise, blackened fish tacos, tuna poke salad, 26-ounce rib-eye for two and an Impossible Burger. For the new brunch service, find apple-cinnamon doughnuts, a bacon-sausage-homefries scramble and avocado toast.
“One of the goals of doing all this work is to recognize Theismann’s next 30 years,” says Shaw. “While we are looking to keep our regulars, we also hope to bring in our next generation of regulars.” // Joe Theismann’s Restaurant: 1800-A Diagonal Road, Alexandria