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Society Fair, Old Town - Mini-Eataly from the Owners of Restaurant Eve

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I walked by and Cathal/Meshelle Armstrong's new food market and it just began construction. The 7,000 sq foot bakery, butchery, wine bar and "studio kitchen" on Washington Street is supposed to open this summer. Missy Frederick has more on it in the Washington Business Journal. They are busy with Virtue Beer & Barley concurrently under construction.

Here is the permit that includes a description of the project and some mock-ups.

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Saw this listed in the fine print of the Virtue Feed & Grain menu. Anyone know what this venture will be?

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Saw this listed in the fine print of the Virtue Feed & Grain menu. Anyone know what this venture will be?

Think: Eataly.

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At what scale?

25%

Regarding the Eataly reference, it must be said that the concept is still evolving - it will be more intimate, and perhaps could best be thought of as a 'social market.'

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There's a big sign that they're hiring and seems to be lots of activity inside. While driving by the other day I saw people wearing what appeared to be Chef's jackets milling around inside. Is the opening in a matter of days? Weeks?

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This article says they hope to open around Christmas. I've heard (and don't remember where) dates in early December mentioned. I'm looking forward to it whenever the opening winds up happening!

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Dropped my knives off for sharpening at La Cuisine last Friday, in line behind me was Todd Thrasher, who told the cashier he expected to open as soon as they got their liquor license which he thought would be December 28.

He was buying pate knives, in case you were wondering.

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Drove past Society Fair this afternoon and noticed that the windows were no longer covered in paper so parked and wandered in to see what was going on.

I may have actually snuck in under the radar, as they were getting ready for a soft opening for the friends and family of the owner. They let me look around but I could not buy anything, and when I left they locked the doors behind me. They won't be open until this weekend.

Impression -- on the left side an appealing place to sit and eat and drink, I did not linger there; on the right side an upscale market with meats and cheeses and baked goods and spices and other gourmet groceries and goodies.

Of all the places around here I have wandered into it reminds me most of Market Salamander in Middleburg.

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The official opening is tomorrow, but I believe they are open today for anyone who wants to stop in and check things out. The bread selection is impressive - and the ones I've tried (brown bread, batch loaf, and crack fruit and nut) are quite good - not a surprise, knowing the time and effort Nathan has put into learning the craft. The meat case is filled with lots of tempting cuts, as is the prepared food case - several components of Todd Thrasher's cocktail concoctions are available for purchase. The wine bar/demo kitchen area is plush, yet cosy, with the banquette area reminding me of a French bistro.

In my opinion, this is a very exciting, and long-anticipated, addition to the neighborhood.

Congratulations and much success to Cathal, Meshelle, Todd, Maria, Nathan, Dan, John, and everyone else involved!

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I wonder if it is just a very strange coincidence that Society Fair is across the street from the United States Bankruptcy Court, while Virtue Feed and Grain is across the street from the United States Bankruptcy Trustee's office?

(I notice these things because I am a bankruptcy lawyer. One of the growth industries of the recession.)

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I can't find a website or a phone #, so can anyone tell me what the hours are? I'm thinking of going early Sat. to check it out. Or... maybe tomorrow if I can wait until Sat.

Thanks.

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I wonder if it is just a very strange coincidence that Society Fair is across the street from the United States Bankruptcy Court, while Virtue Feed and Grain is across the street from the United States Bankruptcy Trustee's office?

(I notice these things because I am a bankruptcy lawyer. One of the growth industries of the recession.)

I thought it was more that they wanted to get my business all over town- by my office, by the charity I volunteer for and by Alexandria Courts :) And then a couple up the street in case I actually get a chance to wander further.

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Website (703) 683-3247

I believe they're still in the soft open phase, so aren't operating with regular hours. When they are running normal hours, they will be open early (7ish?) for coffee, etc. until around 10, maybe later on Fri/Sat. Eater reports that they'll only be open in the evening for the first few weeks; they opened around 11:30 today according to their Facebook page. The Facebook page seems to be the best source of information, at least for now.

ETA: FB update from a few minutes ago:

The lions are still in training! The hours are evolving. Bakery open this week 11:30am. Wine bar, 6pm to the public Saturday. Open seating.

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They opened up the market side this week. Stopped in to grab a sandwich for lunch today. Wine bar is not open.

Here is the sandwich menu: http://www.urbandaddy.com/uploads/assets/file/pdfs//85934109ab66e7625e64ea7e218d33e4.pdf

Tried the Soprano - had a nice proportion of meat to bread and bread was very fresh. Little too salty for my taste and at $11 a little pricey to make it into the regular rotation.

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Was in La Cuisine in Old Town today and Todd Thrasher came in to buy an ice pick. He said the market had a soft opening last night, but I think he mentioned the official opening is this coming Wednesday (25th)? The place opens at 11 on weekdays, I heard. Please be aware I didn't actually speak to him directly and might have heard things incorrectly. Heh.

Apologies to Todd Thrasher and his friend for not-so-subtly eavesdropping on the conversation...I was trying to peruse the spices, I swear. :)

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stopped by yesterday and had the DQMW sandwich. braised short rib with horseradish sauce and pickled leeks. don't remember the bread...except it was perfect. the sandwich as a bit messy but quite tasty with a grat tang from the horseradish and leeks. someone in front of me ordered the Bayou sandwich, andouille sausage smothered in étouffée. I was a little sorryI hadn't ordered it too.

the space is beautiful with seating at high tables for 12 or so people. the cooler was stocked with a lot of unusual pre-made items. the in-house loaves of bread were flying out the door and definitely will be bringing me back for more. lots of desserts were displayed. I got some house-made cookies which were fine; but nothing truly spectacular.

the wine bar section wasn't open butI can't wait to give it a try! society Fair looks to be a nice addition to Old Town.

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Wine bar is now open, 6pm-ish. Demo kitchen is up and running, 7pm-ish seating, reservations required.

Bollinger and bugey by the glass, yumm.

On the market side, simple syrup for sale. Would be funny but I saw several people cough up the $4 for the magical potion..

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Wine bar is now open, 6pm-ish. Demo kitchen is up and running, 7pm-ish seating, reservations required.

Bollinger and bugey by the glass, yumm.

On the market side, simple syrup for sale. Would be funny but I saw several people cough up the $4 for the magical potion..

Can't wait to check it out; will walk over and report back soon.

Re: simple syrup, I would not be surprised if that became the next fad. Between prolific sodastreamers, at-home baristas and mixologists, "hand-crafted simple syrups" in unconventional flavors might just become the new cupcake.

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First visit today and the market was crowded. Everyone's eyes were huge as they carefully perused the goods, Mark Warner was inconspicuously buying coffee, and the kitchen was putting out cakes and prepared foods.

I picked up demi glace and a jar of Caesar's salad dressing.

A visit to the Demo Kitchen is on the short list.

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Does anyone know whether you can sample the olive oil? If not, where else in the area can you? I'm looking for a good, fruity olive oil to use in a chocolate dessert. The stuff up in my cabinet just won't work for that.

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Does anyone know whether you can sample the olive oil? If not, where else in the area can you? I'm looking for a good, fruity olive oil to use in a chocolate dessert. The stuff up in my cabinet just won't work for that.

Olio Tasting Room on King St. in Old Town:

https://www.oliotastingroom.com/

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Does anyone know whether you can sample the olive oil? If not, where else in the area can you? I'm looking for a good, fruity olive oil to use in a chocolate dessert. The stuff up in my cabinet just won't work for that.

Olio, on King Street in old town Alexandria. They will let you sample stuff.

I should have known someone would beat me to it.

Edited by Fishinnards

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