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Fire Works, Wood-Fired Pizza on Harrison St (Leesburg) and Wilson Blvd (Courthouse)

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Fire Works/Arlington/Courthouse New Cocktail Menu:

The Grand Opening,

The Cocktails

The Traffic and Effectiveness

The Advertising Effort

Besides the food aspect I always find the business effort of any business let alone a restaurant fascinating.   On Wednesday, 9/24 Fireworks in Arlington at Courthouse had an "event" introducing its new cocktail menu as described here in Arlnow.  More on the business aspect later.

Fire Works did a sort of "quiet" but not totally quiet effort.  They had a story done in ArlNow, announced the event through FB and twitter, (may or may not have used their E-Mail list (I don't know)), Put a Red Carpet out front for visibility, and had a jazz band along with staff and party goers encouraged to wear Roaring Flapper outfits.  Unfortunately weather was bad that evening with rain and the music and staff were all indoors, limiting visibility to folks walking by.

The entire cocktail menu was newish, different, and showed a different direction for Fire Works which is probably better known as a beer and wine place as per SeanMike's comments above.

To spur business and visibility they offered some free hors d'oeuvres plus discounted the new cocktail list.

As to the cocktails I ordered the Ward 2.0 and I believe my friend had the Peruvian 75, far more appealing, tastier, on target and a light refreshing drink, IMHO.   The Ward 2.0, a rye with citrus juices and house made grenadine just didn't hit the right flavor connection in my opinion.

Along with that we had house lamb meatballs and a marisco pizza.  I think both are quite good, if not earth shattering.

Now as to the business side, and the effort to promote.   Fire Works was not trying to set the house on fire or make this the blast of all blasts.  The cocktail menu was entirely new, the staff had practiced with these drinks on a minimal basis, and they had to test out how it would affect operations, delivering service and drinks, etc.   I suspect they were pleased with the results.

The place, which is evidently often busy during HH was possibly slightly busier including waits for tables.  The bar was crowded although it wasn't several deep.  It was busy but certainly not crushed.

Fire Works as mentioned did 3 major "marketing steps" to announce the new cocktail menu:  FB, Twitter, and they purchased a "sponsored story" on ArlNOW.  (I'm sure they have a largish email list, but they evidently mostly use it for announcements about changing beer menus.

The ArlNow effort is interesting, but also unique to Arlington.  Clearly there are other media in different jurisdictions and specifically relevant to DC, but ArlNow offers one different and interesting twist for the advertiser.  Like all media with advertising it has a "media section" with rough statistics as to periodic traffic and demographics of its target audience.  ArlNow is somewhat more descriptive.  It tells you how many visits each story get!!!.  hey I like that.  Overall stats are good for regular showing ads.  This is very helpful and interesting.  Fire Works paid for a "sponsored story".  They got about 1200 visits (and you can check the media guide for the cost of a "sponsored story").  I like the fact ArlNow offers that.

I really like ArlNow as a local advertising source.  It works.  It actually has a sterling reputation nationwide among something called "hyper local social media" as a very local news source that works for local readership and works on an advertising basis.    Forget the local essence, it seems to often work in this market.  Its very local and spurs social interaction and news in a way all those that use social media for business purposes want.  While its advertising media kit suggests 200,000 unique viewers every month, I like the fact that they publish how many views each article gets.  Nobody else on the web does that.  They should, if they want to convey believability to advertisers and users of social media.  If you want to figure out what works, simply monitor all of ARLNow's articles over time and you will get a sense of it.

I did that for the several days around the Fire Works piece, which got just under 1200 views.  The most read article around that period was about a fire at Whole Foods with almost 4000 readers.  Some articles about crime at Ballston and some other slightly hair raising topics got a lot of traffic.  Others were in the hundreds of viewers not thousands.

Frankly it seems to be a great place to list real estate.  Those sponsored stories get over 1000 visits, (assuming ArlNow isn't fluffing the stats.).  If I were selling units or homes in Arlington, that is where I'd go.

Overall I enjoyed one of the two cocktails.  Others would have to taste the Ward 2.0  and make their own assessments.  Meanwhile Fire Works continues to perform at a very nice level.  Unfortunately the bartender wouldn't take my bs line that another staffer was treating us, so we paid the bill, left what I think was a nice tip, and went off after taking advantage of their little party.

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As of this Monday, Fireworks/Arlington will have an extensively new menu.  Pizza and possibly a few dishes from the existing menu will remain but beyond that it will be completely different.  Had noticed a while back they had rehired an old cook who had moved on to get a culinary degree and then had worked at several restaurants in DC in ever more prominent positions.  Fireworks rehired this person to be chef on site.   On Sunday morning the staff will be trying out and learning the new menu.  The person I spoke to had no idea what to expect but promised me it was going to be great.  (Hmmm what else would he be expected to tell me???  )

Fireworks, one neighborhood removed from Clarendon, looks busy most evenings if I happen to walk by.  It certainly has one of the more expansive beer menus in Arlington, and its food has been "okay" never outstanding....but with all the turnover in Clarendon it appears they were smart to move "close but not too close" to Clarendon.  Fireworks remains up and running and seems to do well, while there has been restaurant havoc in Clarendon itself.

 

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1 hour ago, DaveO said:

As of this Monday, Fireworks/Arlington will have an extensively new menu.  Pizza and possibly a few dishes from the existing menu will remain but beyond that it will be completely different.  Had noticed a while back they had rehired an old cook who had moved on to get a culinary degree and then had worked at several restaurants in DC in ever more prominent positions.  Fireworks rehired this person to be chef on site.   On Sunday morning the staff will be trying out and learning the new menu.  The person I spoke to had no idea what to expect but promised me it was going to be great.  (Hmmm what else would he be expected to tell me???  )

Thomas Harvey as reported in this Arlington Magazine article last month?

 

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28 minutes ago, cheezepowder said:

Thomas Harvey as reported in this Arlington Magazine article last month?

Thanks cheesepowder.  Much better more interesting and substantive details than I had.  The Arlington Magazine article makes the changes sound more promising.  

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On January 27, 2017 at 8:53 PM, cheezepowder said:

I've wondered when/if the menu will change.  I'm interested to see it!

Me too.  Probably ate through much of their menu in the past.  At one point they had a roast chicken w/roasted and sauced root vegetables that I considered their best main.  Time for a major change. Thanks for sourcing the article cheezepowder.  It informs us this change is for Loudoun and Arlington and is system wide

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I have enjoyed the food there (beyond the pizzas, which I like a lot - hope they keep the Tartufo). But this sounds promising, as I've heard very good things about the Partisan. Hope it has some good vegetable offerings as well, since I know the Partisan was very meat-focused.

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21 minutes ago, Genevieve said:

I have enjoyed the food there (beyond the pizzas, which I like a lot - hope they keep the Tartufo). But this sounds promising, as I've heard very good things about the Partisan. Hope it has some good vegetable offerings as well, since I know the Partisan was very meat-focused.

Their new menu is on the web  Haven't tried anything yet.

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On 2/2/2017 at 2:40 PM, Genevieve said:

I have enjoyed the food there (beyond the pizzas, which I like a lot - hope they keep the Tartufo). But this sounds promising, as I've heard very good things about the Partisan. Hope it has some good vegetable offerings as well, since I know the Partisan was very meat-focused.

I had a small tartufo for lunch today; I believe the first time I've had it.  Very enjoyable.  I'll order that again!!!  

Meanwhile the day bartender is currently the beer manager.  I was sitting next to two salespeople from a Va brewery as they extolled their brews.  The beer manager never needs to buy another beer for as long as he holds that job.  Nice gig if you are into craft beers. :rolleyes:

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Went here 2 weeks ago - as we do whenever we venture to Leesburg - had a great special pizza that included a Caesar Salad on the top as part of pizza - actually sounded wacky but turned out to be very good.  One of the better pizza places in the area and they accommodated a party of 8 without issue.

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5 minutes ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Went here 2 weeks ago - as we do whenever we venture to Leesburg - had a great special pizza that included a Caesar Salad on the top as part of pizza - actually sounded wacky but turned out to be very good.  One of the better pizza places in the area and they accommodated a party of 8 without issue.

The two FireWorks are a little different.  Lots of overlap but differences.  I found the crust miserable and inedible when the Arlington branch opened some 6-7 years ago.  They made a big change....years ago and the pizzas are quite good imho.  The toppings have always been excellent.  The tartufo referenced above has an excellent mix of white cheeses topped by an overabundance of mushrooms and is superb.  My long time favorite in Arlington is the Marisco with shrimp and some spicy elements.  Still on the menu in
Arlington, not on the menu in Leesburg.   The Arlington beer selection is immense.  Frankly though I'm not knowledgeable about craft beers, but the friendly bartenders have guided me to a few I favor.  Generally the bartenders have good service and are well schooled in the beers they carry.  More power to the management...they have done a good job educating their staff.  I can't speak to the depth of the wine list but I understand their buyer staff works hard at it to keep it diversified and full.  The current Arlington menu is already outdated with regard to their "square plate" lunch special.  Don't depend on the website.  If you want to know what is available on a particular weekday ask. 

Arlington recently upgraded their specialty cocktail menu.  The first time they did this maybe a little over a year ago, the choices were simpler.  The focus was on creating specialty drinks that could be made without much muss, fuss or took too much time.  This newer list appears to be more sophisticated and I know it was created by someone steeped in some of the best attributes in creating quality mixed drinks.  Must admit though I haven't tried a single new cocktail. 

The one thing I miss was a personal favorite in Arlington, a delectable 1/2 roast chicken with root vegetables.  For a period it was my favorite roast chicken in Arlington and priced well to boot.  None of that $38, $48, or $58 nonsense and at teen pricing was well worth the value.   Oh well, pizzas are still quite good.   Frankly haven't been to the Leesburg branch in several years.  Its similar enough to Arlington that I'd rather eat elsewhere when in Leesburg...but my recollection of it was that it also was quite enjoyable.

 

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There are times when I'm a sucker for a promo. Yesterday was one of them.  I follow fireworks on FB and they ran a brief promo. It was their 7th birthday in Arlington.  Be one of 50 people that walk in and say "happy birthday" and you win a "prize".  Why not?  I'm around the corner.  I went over for a late lunch after 2, gave a "happy birthday" to the bartender, and got a free app or snack to be used in the next month.  Bravo!!  It worked.

Sort of funny.  At that hour virtually the entire restaurant was barren.  Possibly 3 tables had customers and I was the only patron at that long bar.  Started to laugh.  To the bartender I said, "Hey look!!  Its me and all my best friends.   I feel like Trump at a Hillary convention" and quickly added "..or Hillary at a Trump convention".   We ended up chatting about the current pres.....

To the food!!!   I ordered their Belgian mussels dish for $12.  Wow.  The fries/frites were crisp and excellent.  Frankly best part of the dish.  In the world of happy hour mussel dishes this is NOT the largest dish by any imagination.  Frankly the broth was comme ci, comme ca.  There is much better imho.  But between plump mussels, delicious crisp frites and ample bread for dipping the meal worked and the upcoming free app or snack will make it so worthwhile. 

Its an okay dish.  They do far better with pizza and some other meals.  Its still a worthwhile local place, though not one worth driving a long distance to visit for the food.

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They no longer have the salad I loved (there are several others, though). But they kept my favorite, a delectable sandwich:

3 G's Grilled Cheese
Gouda, Goat, Gruyere, plus Tomato Jam
+1.50 Bacon
+3 Prosciutto
 
I need to try the wild mushroom tacos, since the wild mushrooms on the Tartufo pizza are so good.
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We have always found the happy hour menu in the bar area to be satisfying and affordable.  In fact, this circumstance has caused this to become our go-to spot to eat and drink before taking the metro to Caps games.

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On 2/2/2017 at 2:40 PM, Genevieve said:

I have enjoyed the food there (beyond the pizzas, which I like a lot - hope they keep the Tartufo). But this sounds promising, as I've heard very good things about the Partisan. Hope it has some good vegetable offerings as well, since I know the Partisan was very meat-focused.

Just tried their Barcelona Pizza off the menu.  Nice spicy toppings.  An olive tapenade gives it a dark appearance and it was an excellent combination of flavors between the tapenade, chorizo, and some other items.  Fireworks does a consistently good job with pizza toppings imho

Also while I was there a duo came in hoping to reserve some space for a party this evening.  Two parties of some size were already booked.  The MOD added that he didn't think they were staffed to handle a third party.

More power to them on both levels.  They are popular enough to get these reservations and they were honest with this pair of people.  It maintains the level of service the restaurant can reliably provide.  Kudo's on both levels.

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After reading recent comments and seeing  pictures of the All Purpose pizzas I stopped at Fireworks/Arlington for a pie.

Dammit, these are good.  They don’t fit into a “type” and they break the mold wherein their finest component is the topping combination.   I paid attention to the crust.  It’s not exceptional.  It’s completely acceptable and serves as the base for clever high quality well conceived topping combos.  I still enjoy the Marisco. It’s a nice spicy seafoody shrimp combo.  

Ah pizza!!!  It’s a worthy food group.

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We went for lunch today. Solid joint. We did not eat pizza this time but watched them come out of the oven. Looked good. 

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Fireworks offers a $6.95 “square plate” special lunch at the bar on weekdays.  They are themed by day but not specific.  I suppose the cooks/chef enjoy creating them.  I often try them. Some are winners and some appeal to others (hopefully) 😉

Today they had mashed potatoes with the “works”.  In this case the works were sautéed  spinach mushrooms and slightly sautéed carrots with a dark sauce with traces of mushroom and sweetness possibly from red wine.

It was pretty looking like an artful polenta serving with toppings.

Boy I liked that dish.  Tasteful and also filling for $6.95.  

That is a smart restaurant dish.  Cost of food—way below $6.95.  Plus I can make that and variations- all with items I use and enjoy.

Thanks Fireworks.  Great idea.

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6 minutes ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Looks like a Sterling location in the "works."  Taking over Coal Fire Pizza location that has not been open very long at Cascades Overlook.

FIRE WORKS PIZZA OPENING A STERLING LOCATION  by Chris Wadsworth, TheBurn

Do a find on "mecca." I'm not asking anyone to agree with me, but does anyone at least "get" what I'm saying?

One day, people will understand about 2010. :(

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I'm a fan of Fireworks Arlington.  Its a fine neighborhood restaurant/bar/pizza place.   OTOH I wouldn't travel long distances to dine there.

For beer fans it has an enormous beer menu...I dunno..way above 20 beers on tap with an enormous inventory of bottles.  I've been there at lunch and sat next to or nearby vendors bringing on new beers.  Fireworks takes on many new beers and is willing to experiment all the time.

The pizza is good.  The thin crust is reasonably good and the toppings are excellent, creative and tasty.  A very positive pizza.   On Mondays they offer 1/2 price mussels at $6 for a nice sized portion.  Between the mussels chorizo style, the chorizo and other interior ingredients and several slices of bread...that meal filled me up and left me ready for a noon type "happy feeling" nap.   I consider a nap inducing meal to be successful.   On the lunch they offer a square plate special at $6.95 wherein they allow the cooks/chef some creativity.   I enjoy most of these for a variety of reasons, one being they spur my creative cooking juices.   Last week I had a few pieces of shrimp and mussels over rice in a light brown lightly creamy sauce.

What a great idea; satisfying, easy to do and frankly inexpensive.  As with many of these creative ideas they do very little with creative seasonings which could elevate the dishes from mediocre to excellent...but I've tried a few at home and the seasoning and flavoring options are unlimited.  

Lastly it has a strong "local' /regular element and the staff encourages that.  Its no wonder they have many repeat customers.

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54 minutes ago, DaveO said:

I'm a fan of Fireworks Arlington.  Its a fine neighborhood restaurant/bar/pizza place.   OTOH I wouldn't travel long distances to dine there.

I have become partial to their goat cheese stuffed lamb meatballs with tomato sauce.  The duck spring rolls with peach duck sauce and curry mustard are also tasty and quite a bargain when on the happy hour menu.  Sometimes I make a meal around just those two items.  A small greek salad with salmon on top I have also found satisfying.  This also a reliable venue for friends and family from out of town.  There is just enough variety on the menu to satisfy the young folks as well as us geezers folks no longer so young.  I would agree it is not necessarily a destination restaurant, but if you live, or find yourself, in Arlington it is definitely worth toddling on over every now and then.  They also offer gluten-free pizzas.

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On 9/20/2018 at 2:36 PM, dcs said:

I have become partial to their goat cheese stuffed lamb meatballs with tomato sauce.  The duck spring rolls with peach duck sauce and curry mustard are also tasty and quite a bargain when on the happy hour menu.  Sometimes I make a meal around just those two items.  A small greek salad with salmon on top I have also found satisfying. 

I occasionally choose  those meatballs and the spring rolls.   Both good choices.  I like the idea of making an HH meal around them.  Thanks.   I'll have to try the greek salad.  Haven't had it yet.

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