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Large Party in Alexandria


The Doctor
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OK, here I have a rather tall order. I’ve got a group of relatives — who also happen to be foodies — staying at a hotel in Old Town Alexandria this coming Saturday night. I am charged with finding us a place to eat. In total, there will be 7 adults and 4 young children (ages 17 months, 22 months, 3 years, and 4 years). The kids are well-behaved so probably the bigger concern is finding a place that can take a large party.

I’ve done some googling for “kid friendly restaurants in Old Town” and have a few names, but I have no idea if they’re good choices since I’ve never been to them. These include Overwood, Red Rocks, Southside 815 (I haven’t been in about 7 years), or Columbia Firehouse. And some places that don’t take reservations, like Pizzeria Paradiso and Faccia Luna. Would Virtue Feed & Grain fit the bill by any chance?

Right now I’m thinking of BGR as a default since I know it will work, but it would also be nice to showcase some of Old Town’s better offerings.

Thanks for looking.

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Southside can withstand the noise and the food is pretty comfort food style. I have attended a large party of 7 adults and 5 kids at Jackson 20, but they messed up brunch pretty good for me. I heard Jackson 20 at other times isn't so bad.

I had in mind Fontaine on Royal Street because it's an intimate setting but good variety. Space is sort of small, so you would have to call ahead, but can fit 7 adults and 4 young children. They have outdoor seating, so if the weather is nice, then perhaps it can be a nice outdoor picnic like thing?

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Overwood is okay -- basic American, not what I would think of as a food adventure, but solid and straightforward, and they've always been good with the fryer. Sometimes they set up a table in the atrium for a large group, but I've eaten in the atrium there and it works well as long as your server is good about coming out to check regularly -- and I've never had a problem with service there.

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You would have to nab a reservation at Virtue. I've been there on a Tuesday night and the best I could get was a bar seat.

Columbia Firehouse has one of the nicest looking dining rooms in Old Town. Seating 11 might be a challenge, maybe a booth and two nearby 4-seat tables...?

The courtyard at Taverna Cretekou might have a lamb roast going on, which the kids might enjoy, but I don't recommend the food.

Jackson 20 is hit or miss. I like the $20 bottles of wine and the appetizer menu.

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First choice: I'd give Majestic a call and see if they can work with you.

I'm a big fan of A la Lucia. It might be tough to get a reservation there for 11, though they do have outdoor seating that might work for a group. They do have a private dining room that may be an option if they don't have an event booked.

Purely based on your space requirements, Union Street Public House comes to mind. Southside 815 is decent and, as noted above, isn't terribly quiet. TJ Stone's may be another option in the north end of Old Town. None of these three offer haute cuisine (or even OT's better offerings), but they are convivial spots with broad menus.

Layla's and Pita House (both on King Street) might be less crowded options for Lebanese cuisine.

If Del Ray is a possibility, Los Tios has lot of space and is very family friendly.

Good luck!

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I second Union St. Public House because they do well with groups. The food would especially be enjoyed by the kids and seafood lovers.

Chadwick's works for a group and has good apps.

Both are not elegant cuisine by any means. That's more Majestic.

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Thanks for the input so far. I will try to make some calls tonight and tomorrow. One thing I didn't initially consider is the place having something the kids would be able to eat. I suppose everywhere could do buttered noodles or something.

I just looked on Opentable and it looks like Overwood would accept an 11 person reservation at 7 pm on Saturday.

Was heartened to see a kid's menu right on the Majestic's website, though. I'll call them and see what they can do.

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Virtue Feed and Grain also a no-go. Leaning toward Overwood at this point, but the DR thread on it isn't very inspiring. How does Overwood compare to Southside 815 or Columbia Firehouse? Overwood has the better location (more convenient for everyone to take a walk down King Street by the water), but food quality is also a consideration.

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I'm not the best help, the only one I've eaten at is Southside 815 (several times, w/kids, always great), but the kids are the easy part-give them a heads-up, bring crackers, & tip well-you can probably get good food at any of these choices, hope you have a great dinner...

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I'm not the best help, the only one I've eaten at is Southside 815 (several times, w/kids, always great), but the kids are the easy part-give them a heads-up, bring crackers, & tip well-you can probably get good food at any of these choices, hope you have a great dinner...

Thanks. I'm probably leaning away from Columbia Firehouse now (although I hadn't even called to see if they could take us), based on ktmoomau's post talking about how they have to give you a smaller menu with large parties.

Red Rocks is now a leading contender -- I spoke to a friendly gentleman on the phone who informed me that although they don't take reservations on Fridays and Saturdays, they could probably accomodate a walk-in party of that size with minimal wait if we came before 7.

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The only problem I have ever had with Overwood is their service, or getting backed up in the kitchen. The food quality should not be an issue at all. The fried green tomatoes are really good! Portions are large and the beer list is great.

Although, we usually only dine there for lunch or brunch, I can't imagine you should be concerned at dinner time. Go for it!

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I've eaten several times at Overwood and never had an issue with the service. And the food is solid -- just not adventurous. I've enjoyed what I've had there. Only quibbles are that I think their chopped salads are chopped a ilttle too fine, and their BBQ sauce is not a favorite of mine -- it's not bad, just sweeter than I prefer.

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It looks like we are going to attempt to go the Red Rocks route. (Although I might give thought to reconsidering if a lot people chimed in that the quality of food there was vastly inferior to Overwood.)

And should the need arise, who's serving the best ice cream in Old Town these days? Boccato Gelato? (I've never been.) Seems like every flyer they're handing out down there has a buy one get one free coupon for Ben & Jerry's.

Thanks for everyone's advice on this matter.

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I've been underwhelmed with both - Red Rock is far better of the two, but Pizza Paradiso (Old Town) and Faccia Luna (not Old Town) both make better pies than Red Rock .

Interesting. Is that the general consensus here, that Paradiso would be a better choice than Red Rocks? I don't know what their space is like, but showing up with a large party on the early side at Paradiso could be as successful as trying it at Red Rocks. The latter is walking distance from their hotel, but we could always take the King Street trolley.

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We just enjoyed a great meal for a party of 8 atThe Light Horse on King Street on Wednesday night. Unexpectedly well prepared food and a very varied menu which I think has some kid friendly options. Not sure if they could seat you all on a Saturday but worth a shot!

OK, here I have a rather tall order. I’ve got a group of relatives — who also happen to be foodies — staying at a hotel in Old Town Alexandria this coming Saturday night. I am charged with finding us a place to eat. In total, there will be 7 adults and 4 young children (ages 17 months, 22 months, 3 years, and 4 years). The kids are well-behaved so probably the bigger concern is finding a place that can take a large party.

I’ve done some googling for “kid friendly restaurants in Old Town” and have a few names, but I have no idea if they’re good choices since I’ve never been to them. These include Overwood, Red Rocks, Southside 815 (I haven’t been in about 7 years), or Columbia Firehouse. And some places that don’t take reservations, like Pizzeria Paradiso and Faccia Luna. Would Virtue Feed & Grain fit the bill by any chance?

Right now I’m thinking of BGR as a default since I know it will work, but it would also be nice to showcase some of Old Town’s better offerings.

Thanks for looking.

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Red Rocks rocked. What could have easily been a disaster turned into a major success. Route 95 was very backed up yesterday, causing my guests to be almost two hours late. So it's a good thing I didn't have reservations anywhere. We walked into Red Rocks at about 7:50 and I very humbly asked if they could seat a party of 11. Not only could they seat us, but they had availability in their upper room immediately. There was only one other party up there, and they left very shortly after we arrived. So basically we had a private room to ourselves. This was fortunate because due to the later-than-expected dining time, some of the youngsters went into semi-meltdown mode for a brief period. It also ended up being fun for the kids because of the openings in the wall that offer a direct view of the oven and pizza-making process. Furthermore, everyone (including the children) gave very favorable comments about the food.

Thanks again to all who offered advice this past week.

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