By Bob Tagert
Wow, how things can change in thirty days. Last month we wrote about a new Irish restaurant for our March issue. At the beginning of March we had already been to our next restaurant, Sweetbay, in Leonardtown, Maryland, and then all hell broke loose. The Coronavirus came on the scene and – according to some, was to only last a few days – our whole world changed.
In that short time, all restaurants have been instructed to close with only delivery and curbside pickup allowed. In some cases the restaurants realized that staying open under these conditions would not work in the long run. They would just lose more money. This is the case with two of the most successful restaurants in Old Town – Landini Brothers and the Fish Market. They have chosen to close until this is over. They are not only two of the most popular but are also two of the largest restaurants in town and it would be prohibitive to remain open considering the costs of doing so. River Bend Bistro on Fort Hunt Road provided carry out until inventory ran out. Union Street Public House has closed in hopes of being able to open in mid-May. Our friend and advertiser, Eric Faughnan who owns Kingfisher Restaurant in Solomons, Maryland closed a few weeks ago considering that pickup service “was a slow death!”
Some restaurants have closed for the same reasons but are also looking to preserve cash for their hourly and tip employees. They have established GoFundMe efforts for their employees. A patron brought the idea to Stephen Mann of Fat City Restaurant Group, owners of Ramparts, Shooter McGee’s, City Kitchen and T.J. Stones, that “we are all in this together” so a GoFund Me effort was created for the staff of each restaurant. Landini Brothers has also started a GoFundMe page for their employees. We are hoping that each of these restaurants loyal patrons chip in to help keep these families afloat during these troubled times.
We are fortunate, however, that a good portion of the eateries in Old Town and the surrounding area have made the decision to provide curbside pickup and use several available modes of delivery – Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grub Hub. Most of them are offering limited menus and the times of availability vary from restaurant to restaurant. Your best bet to check out “who’s doing what” is to log on to the Alexandria Visitors Association website at visitalexandriava.com/alxathome or go to #AlxatHome. These mediums are updated on a regular basis.
The restaurants that are remaining open for curb pickup or delivery will need our help by ordering out. It is still the same great food you enjoy at the restaurant, it is just the ambiance that will be missing. You can still get the famous Cajun fare and seafood from The Warehouse (warehouseoldtown.com) and Mackies (mackiesbarandgrill.com) will be offering a steak dinner for two as well as other specials and several choices from their menu. A number of the pizza shops in town will remain open. If you are looking for good Irish comfort food, Murphy’s (murphyspub.com) has curb side service as well as delivery through Door Dash. In the west end delivery and take out on Duke Street is available from Tempo (temporestaurant.com) who will be providing delicious dinners for folks throughout Alexandria. If you are looking for some extraordinary French fare, a meal from Bastille (bastillerestaurant.com) on North Fayette Street is in order.
The whole market is in such flux that all of these details are subject to change as the situation changes on a daily basis. In the meantime, please pick up or have a nice dinner for you and your family delivered at least once a week to your home. The choices are no longer unlimited, but there is still much to choose from. Let’s work with what we have and help each other get through this.