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Take the chill off your weekend in downtown Historic Manassas where new casual eateries add to the upscale vibe of longtime favorites, creating a Northern Virginia dining hot spot.
Make friends with the new coffeehouse, Mexican Tequila bar and casual pub, but don’t forget the old favorites. We bring you both below, as you plan your weekend visit to this charming historic town, with fresh offerings.
Expected to open along the railroad tracks any day now, according to owner
Ken Moorman, this new coffeehouse intends to become a community hub, with Mommy Time, Art Nights and live music centered around coffee, tea, homemade pastries and light fare like soup, salad and sandwiches.
“We want to be your third place. You know, other than work and home, where you go, that comfortable place? Yeah, that’s Jirani,” Moorman says. Special events planned include storybook readings and puppet shows, live entertainment and open mic nights, while a meeting room will be available for business gatherings. With staff hired, training underway, the custom interior brick wall complete, and barista aprons in the house, Jirani seems poised to open any day. Check their Facebook page for the opening date.
In the meantime, stop by Grounds Central, which opened in May 2010 and has become a staple in the community–hosting poetry slams, book clubs, open mic nights, and more. The warm, friendly atmosphere, with its large window on Main Street is always peppered with locals reading, writing or meeting up for a comfortable chat, casual chat or imported coffee.
Set to open this month in the former City Square Cafe at 9482 Battle Street, this family-owned restaurant will feature authentic Mexican cuisine in one of Old Town’s coveted locations, wrapping the corner along the railroad tracks and facing Battle Street.
Local restaurant expert Tony Escamilla and partners Primo Castelan and Rafael Martinez own Mariachi. Tony worked at the City Square Café for five years and at nearby Okras restaurant for 11 years.
While Mariachi is finalizing opening-day details, walk over to Zandra’s Taqueria at 9114 Center Street . Soak up the energizing atmosphere, fresh tacos and a margarita made with Espolon Reposado tequila, among other craft cocktails. With an atmosphere that feels fresh like Clarendon but familiar like Manassas, Zandra’s is ideal for a late afternoon happy hour. Opened in November 2014 by buddies and local restaurateurs Nick Kowalewski,, of Okras, and Miguel Pires, of Monza and Carmellos, it is already a favorite lunch and casual lunch and dinner spot for locals.
The Church, (upstairs Malones)
The Church is the laid-back upstairs option to the downstairs formal dining room in Malones, at 9329 Main Street. It opened early last year after a long renovation process that transformed the space.
Take a seat at the enormous marble bar commanding the room, or in a comfy corner banquette and enjoy the birds-eye view of Old Town from the plentiful windows of this Civil-war era former church.
Locals favor the tasty bar menu, highlighted by slew of small plates including pulled pork on mesa chips, truffle fries, beef brisket Panini, cinnamon-sugar dusted sweet potato waffle fries and the daily homemade soup options. Friendly bartenders and happy hour appetizer specials will have you returning often.
The restaurant is owned by Kevin Malone, who brought 30 years experience in the food industry back to his hometown with the 2013 opening of Malones, the upscale steakhouse below. He is almost always present, and can often be seen chatting with fellow alumnae of Osbourn High School.
Save another weekend to visit the nearby Monza Restaurant, but go early, as this Italian bistro is famously popular with locals. With the “longest and best happy hour in town,” according to owner Alice Pires, this contemporary, warm outpost features wood-fired flatbreads and pizzas, homemade pasta, salads, sandwiches, cocktails and over 100 craft beers!
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