Rosslyn’s Restaurant Scene Begins to Emerge: Our Discussion with Mary-Claire Burick of Rosslyn BID

18 Aug
Heavy Seas Alehouse in Rosslyn

Heavy Seas Alehouse in Rosslyn

For many years Rosslyn has been defined primarily as a large office area without any real population after 5pm. Its dining scene was similarly defined: many takeout lunch spots that were open for breakfast and lunch but closed around 3pm. Over the last year or two, that image has begun to change with the announcements and openings of several new restaurants in the area. We caught up with Mary-Claire Burick, President of Rosslyn BID, recently to discuss those changes and to look ahead towards the future of Rosslyn’s dining scene.

Mary-Claire Burick, President of Rosslyn BID

Mary-Claire Burick, President of Rosslyn BID

Ms. Burick came to Rosslyn BID last fall and says that when she took over Rosslyn’s dining scene was on the brink of emerging. While she agreed with our assessment that Rosslyn has long been known primarily for all of its office buildings, she pointed to ten different restaurant openings in the last year as a sign that change is on the way. The primary driver of this change is the growing residential population—now at 11,000 residents—with many more buildings scheduled to break ground in the coming years. As more people begin to live in the Rosslyn area, they are demanding dining options that stay open past 5pm and that are open on the weekend.

Rosslyn has many features that should attract both additional residents and new restaurants. Burick described it as a “premiere urban center” with easy access to downtown D.C. and all areas of Northern Virginia. She said that one of the greatest strengths of the area is that the major developers who are opening or planning buildings in Rosslyn are completely dedicated to investing in the neighborhood and creating a real community feel. The BID is working to develop the community by planning neighborhood events ranging from the existing outdoor movies to a jazz festival to fashion trucks to other popup events that will incorporate food.

She pointed to the success of Baltimore based Heavy Seas Alehouse, which opened last year in the upper section of Rosslyn, as a prime example of how a full service restaurant can thrive in Rosslyn. Heavy Seas has “surpassed all expectations” and has helped to create energy on its street that is helping to attract other restaurants to the area. In the past couple of months, Sip Wine Tasting and Tapas, Secret Chopsticks, and SpinFire Pizza have all announced that they will be opening locations in Rosslyn. Even restaurants that are typically viewed as lunch spots, such as the Capriotti’s that will open soon on Wilson Boulevard, are working to attract an evening crowd as well by offering drinks as well as food. Burick told us that an exciting new concept from North Carolina is planning on opening in Rosslyn and is in the final stages of negotiations.

We asked whether Burick considers downtown D.C. or other Arlington neighborhoods like Clarendon or Ballston to be Rosslyn’s bigger competitor in terms of its dining scene. She says that it really is “a little bit of both” as Rosslyn is squarely in the middle of the two areas. In the last year, Rosslyn has developed a happy hour scene, largely due to the opening of Heavy Seas. Burick hopes that over the next couple of years Rosslyn will develop such a vibrant dining scene that the happy hour scene will continue to extend and people can spend an entire night in the area.

Finally, we noted how Clarendon has come under increased scrutiny for bar crawls that have gotten out of control and is increasingly getting a reputation as a place for people right out of college who like to party, perhaps a little too much. We asked if Rosslyn was hoping to capitalize off of this negative reputation for Clarendon. Burick noted that they were very aware of Clarendon’s reputation and were hoping to portray Rosslyn as the slightly more polished alternative to Clarendon. She noted that right around Rosslyn (and throughout Northern Virginia) there is an unmet demand for fine dining that is one step up from the bar scene. She hopes that Rosslyn can successfully position itself to attract more restaurants that will fill this demand and develop the neighborhood’s restaurant scene further.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: