mom and pop

Brewing Beer, Building Community at the Lake Anne Brew House

Lake Anne Brew HouseCraft breweries — the American version of a neighborhood pub — are as hot as coffee shops, and I’m thrilled to have a new one at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston. The LAKE ANNE BREW HOUSE embodies everything that is romantic and wonderful about a small business. It has a product the community has been craving; it has committed owners who want to create the best brew house possible while fostering community; it is sited in a place that needs more of both of those things.

What they do: LAKE ANNE BREW HOUSE sells its small-batch, hand-crafted beers directly to loyal customers from our nano-brewery taproom. You won’t find this (delicious) beer anywhere else… unless you take a growler home with you.

Since the day the LAKE ANNE BREW HOUSE opened in May, Restonians have made sure they have a difficult time keeping the brews in stock.

The owners are a husband and wife team — Jason and Melissa Romano. Jason is no newcomer to this craft — in fact, he has received accolades for many of his signature recipes. The BREW HOUSE is a way to scale production to meet the demands of a growing craft beer drinking market.

Melissa is an Architect and designer, and that is obvious the minute you walk through the front doors. The space is beautiful.

Jason and Melissa have a shared goal: to provide an inviting location for the community to gather and appreciate a hand-crafted selection of exceptional beers.

And what, exactly, are those beers? Their flagship brews are Live-Work-Play IPA, Reston Red, Brown’s Chapel Brown Ale, Lake Anne Skinny Dip Kolsch, and Simon’s Stout. Due to their small capacity, they may run out of a listed beer before they have a chance to update their website or Facebook page. So, really, you just need to be there when they open on Thursdays to make sure you can get what you want.

Did I mention the patio? Yes, they have a great one right on the lake. There are few nicer ways to spend a gorgeous summer evening that with friends supporting a local, small business.

Their hours of operation are Thursdays 4pm – 10pm, Fridays 4pm – 11pm, Saturdays 10am – 11pm and Sundays 12pm – 5pm. To find it, use your GPS to 11401 North Shore Dr., Reston, VA 20190. Then just walk to the plaza and head toward the sound of laughter.

Maybe I’ll see you there?

Red's Table at South Lakes Village Center

Red's Table Reston. Photo by Astri Wee

I love eating out, and so when locally owned Red’s Table opened up in South Lakes Village Center, I was thrilled. The restaurant space is one of the best in Reston—from the covered patio, diners have a view of Lake Thoreau. It is magical.

What I also love about Red’s is that they are committed to using regionally grown produce, meat and dairy. We have access to so much great quality food in the mid-Atlantic region, and it makes me happy when chefs embrace that and create seasonal menus focused around it. I knew I would like Red’s when I saw that their goal is “to stand out by use of quality ingredients in fresh and simple preparations. We will always offer the highest quality food we can source in the region. We will never offer factory farmed meats and all of our proteins are traceable to the source.”

From baking their own bread to making their own mustard, Red’s Table pays attention to the details, and it shows in the food. Oh the food is so tasty! Owners Matthew, Patrick and Ryan Tracy are Reston locals—they actually went to South Lakes High School, and like spent many a day down at the dock by Red’s patio. When they had the opportunity to take the space over and create their dream restaurant, they knew they needed the right chef to bring it all together. Enter Chef Adam. He also grew up in the area, and then traveled a bit while attending culinary school and cooking in some great kitchens. He brought together everything he learned to create the menu that Restonians have quickly come to adore.

As the weather starts to cool, spending an evening on the patio is definitely something to put on your to do list. Red’s Table is open daily from 11 a.m. until Midnight. They take reservations, which is always a good idea because this place is rocking! Click here to reserve your table.

PHOTO CREDIT: This photo is courtesy of the amazingly talented Astri Wee, a Reston local who specializes in family portraits and food photography. 

Mom and Pop: Potomac River Running

Reston is a runner or walkers paradise — with miles and miles of trails, you can go pretty much anywhere by foot. And if you’re going to use the trails, you need a good pair of running or walking shoes. Potomac River Running is not only the best place around to find them, it’s a locally owned shop, and I love that.

 

Just because they’re a mom-and-pop shop doesn’t mean they aren’t insanely successful—they have eight locations throughout Northern Virginia, with the Reston shop located at Reston Town Center. All that since opening their first store in 2003! In that short time they have also been voted one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America for the past eight years. Each year, Competitor magazine and Running Insight® identify the 50 Best Running Stores in America®.

A True Family Affair

The stores have four owners, all of who are related somehow. Cathy and Margie are sisters who grew up in Fairfax County. Their husbands Ray and Brendan joined them in making this dream a reality. No surprise, before opening the store, they were each heavily involved in the local running community in one way or another. They all ran track and cross country through high school. Cathy, Ray and Margie enjoyed successful running careers in college. Cathy and Ray met while running for the same professional post-collegiate racing team. Margie continues to race triathlons professionally. Brendan is proof that being a “middle of the packer” is okay too.

One of the things I most admire about Potomac River Running is their commitment to the community. It’s not just about selling running gear to them. They want people to walk and run together, to feel the joy of being surrounded by people who will always root for you. The offer training programs and fun runs from the store, and their races are a blast. Not only do they support charities throughout the region, the participants eagerly await each race simply because they are so much fun (costumes play a major roll in this).

As our world gets bigger, finding connection in community is so important. And Potomac River Running is a model of how to do that in a small specialty store. No, not every person in Reston has a reason to shop there. But the people who do are very loyal. If you run or walk, I suggest wandering over to Potomac River Running and saying hi. The staff will love to spend some time chatting with you.

So Grateful for All of You This Thankskgiving

Thanksgiving in RestonThanksgiving is upon us, and I have so very much to be grateful for this year. A little over a year ago, my family purchased the Lake Anne Coffee House and embarked on the adventure of our lives.

When I say adventure, I am not exaggerating. We completely renovated the space, and that was no small task. We encountered problems along the way (as anyone who has ever opened a retail business could have predicted), and that kept pushing our opening date back. And then the day came when we were ready.

In early November, we opened our doors. It’s a soft opening—we’re still playing with the menu and getting the finishing touches in place. But we are open and we are blown away by the support we are receiving from the community. Truly, it makes me cry. I am blessed to know so many wonderful people, and now to get to see them every day.

My daughters will be running the operation—Erin is an experienced restaurant manager and Megan is an exceptional chef. The Lake Anne Coffee House is in good hands.

My real estate office is located on the second floor (behind the wine bar), and I expect to meet many clients in the coffee shop or the wine bar. We’ll be launching our website soon. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Urban Pop Brings Spark to Reston Station

urban popDrudgery is a good way to describe the afternoon commute. That is unless you have something fun to look forward to at the end of your metro ride.

For those who are using the Silver Line to commute these days, there is something to look forward to when you get off the train at Reston Station — Urban Pop. This is a brilliant concept. Urban pop is a collection of tiny shops on the plaza. By tiny, I mean maybe 100 square feet. They’re only open during the afternoon commute and they offer high-quality gifts for people who may not have time to go shopping for a bottle of wine for dinner, a good book to read, a chocolate treat or a nice, calming tea.

The Urban Pop website describes this fun concept as “a fresh retail revolution packed with talent, innovation and attitude that puts creativity and energy where it belongs — in the neighborhood, on the plaza, and accessible to everyone. A unique mix of food, fashion, lifestyle and entertainment.”

These shops are great. I also love that these small retailers have an opportunity to test their concept without committing to a big lease in a retail center. Really, everyone benefits. And the shops are adorable. I know people who shop at them even when they’re not riding the metro. If you find yourself by Reston Station in the afternoon, drop by. And in the summer, there is live entertainment and family movie nights. It’s a fun and festive place.

Urban Pop Retailers

urban pop shopsOPEN: Monday-Friday 3-8 PM