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Foodie Moving to Manassas, VA

AmandaCA Mar 20, 2011 03:20 AM

Hi all! My husband and I are being stationed in Manassas and I have some foodie questions I was hoping you would be able to answer.

I saw that there is a Whole Foods in DC, do you have Central Market? Are there other less expensive gourmet/organic grocers?

How's the seafood out there? We have been in Hawaii for the past 3 years and I was wondering what type of fish we would get on the Atlantic coast?

Highly recommended CSAs? Organic? I saw a few posts on this but they mostly recommended against some farms. I also saw that most deliver to the DC area which is an hour away. Any closer?

Are there any butchers within an hour or two whom you can buy grass-fed free-range beef from? We are looking to buy a 1/4 to 1/2 a cow from a reputable butcher. Same with chickens.

Any other tips of must go to restuarants or things I should know about living in Manassas and surropunding areas as a foodie. I know I have to learn to make sweet tea being in the South now. Other tips?

Thanks in advance. We're really looking forward to spending some time with you all in VA.

  1. f
    ForFoodsSake Mar 20, 2011 02:55 PM

    Welcome to the area! I'm not too far from Manassas, we live just outside of Warrenton.

    There is a CSA called Smith Family Farm in Gainesville, VA which won't be far from you. A couple of my coworkers use them and have been very satisfied! There are also several farmer's markets in the area; I believe that the Buckland Farmer's Market on Rt. 29 has grass fed beef. I had a coworker go in on a cow last year, I will see if she still has the butcher contact information.

    I'm not too familiar with Manassas specifically, but there are a couple of good restaurants out in the Warrenton area -- Iron Bridge Wine Company is a personal favorite! Red Truck Bakery is also in Warrenton and has great breads and sandwiches. If you go in the other direction towards Centreville/Clifton, there are several good restaurants (I favor Trummer's on Main in Clifton).

    1. Bob W Mar 23, 2011 11:55 AM

      Welcome!

      Manassas can be rough if you don't like chains. The good news is there's a Wegmans in Gainesville, and if you've never seen the inside of one, it's definitely worth a visit. They have very nice seafood, meat, cheese, candy, bakery depts in addition to very fair prices on regular groceries.

      You should also check out the Home Farm butcher shop in Middleburg, which is the retail outlet of Sandy Lerner's Ayrshire Farm (in Upperville). It's incredibly expensive but for a meat lover it's a must visit. They'll likely sell you a whole cow, but you might have to take out a mortgage to afford one. Their Hunter's Head Tavern in Upperville is a nice spot for lunch.

      When in Middleburg a nice cheap treat is the homemade marshmellows at Mello Out.

      I will second the rec for Iron Bridge in Warrenton. Definitely explore the VA countryside. Some of the other (higher-end) restaurants to look into are the Ashby Inn in Paris and the Goodstone Inn in Middleburg. Take a ride down 29 to Charlottesville, which is a great food town.

      Finally, if you are into wine, Virginia has a fast-growing and fast-improving wine industry, and you will be fairly close to dozens of wineries out 66, up in Loudoun County, etc.

      -----
      Ashby Inn & Restaurant
      692 Federal Street, Paris, VA 20130

      Hunter's Head
      9048 John S Mosby Hwy, Upperville, VA 20184

      Mello Out
      19 S Madison St, Middleburg, VA 20117

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bob W
        AmandaCA Mar 23, 2011 12:50 PM

        Thanks, this is great information from both of you guys. We are looking at buying a house in Gainesville so I will definitely check out the Wegmans. We don't have those on the west coast.

        It's funny you mention the wine thing as my husband and I were originally stationed in WA and did a lot of wine tasting there. Then when we were moved out to HI, it was like wine desert as the only wines you get here are imported and prices reflect as much. I also just happened to read an article on Southern wine and spirits that said that VA is now the 5th state in wine production.

        1. re: AmandaCA
          Bob W Mar 23, 2011 01:53 PM

          Happy to help. Wegmans is fantastic; we're just a little too far from any of them (Gainesville, Fairfax, or Dulles) for it to be our regular market, which it would be for sure.

          The wines you should start checking out are things like Cabernet Franc and Viognier, which have done very well here. There is a ton of the usual Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Chardonnay, of course, but much is mediocre. Some wineries are also doing nice things with Italian grapes like Sangiovese.

      2. s
        sherriberry Mar 23, 2011 05:21 PM

        Welcome to Northern Virginia. As mentioned upthread, Manassas is full of chain restos, but Old Town Manassas is almost exclusively local, family run restos. Okra;s is good New Orleans, Carmello's and Panino both good Italian. In Gainesville, there is a hole in the wall seafood place that is pretty good.-Blue Ridge Seafood. They serve primarily fried seafood, but they have a good crabcake. If you have never had steamed blue crabs, this is a good place to try them. As far as farmer's markets, Manassas has one on Thuirsday and Saturday. You will find, however, that there are a lot of items brought in from elsewhere and baked goods, etc. and not a ton of local produce. Come July, however, the sweet corn is hard to beat. Virginia is also a big apple growing state and there are many places to go apple picking. As fotr the "southern flavor"-not so much. We are a suburb.of DC with a population from all over. You may get more responses if this thread was moverd to the Washington DC and Baltimore board. Another local treawsure is Tony's NY pizza-their pizza stromboli etc. beat the pants off the chain and I think they have the best steak and cheese sub in town. Four local location 2 in Manassas, 2 in Gainesville area all family owned.

        1. ktmoomau Apr 11, 2011 02:05 PM

          You might want to cross post on the Washington Dc Board for more recs.

          Down the road a little ways in Clifton, VA I love Trummer's on Main. I have had very good food there. I also really like American Flatbread, which is up 28 in Ashburn, but may not be too far away.

          -----
          American Flatbread
          43170 Southern Walk Plz, Ashburn, VA 20148

          1. l
            lemons Apr 11, 2011 02:09 PM

            We have family in Bristow, which is pretty much abutting Manassas. In 10 years of frequent visits, I think these folks mostly have it down for you. However, if you're addicts of Thai food, one of the local temples holds a July celebration/picnic nearby that was just astonishing in the amount of food and its authenticity. My DIL found it in the Washington Post food section, which, by the by, is very good. Anyway, we really felt like we were in Thailand again, between the heat, the humidity and the food. But worth it, including parking in a field and walking a quarter of a mile or so.

            1. AmandaCA Apr 15, 2011 12:07 AM

              Thank you all. This is great stuff. I can't tell you how excited I am to be moving to VA. It will be quite a shock moving in October since we are coming from Hawaii but that hasn't damped my spirit.

              Where do you guy go for baking supplies? Would specialty stuff (like Wondra flour, malt powder, variety flours and sugars) be available at the Wegman's in Gainesville or is there some place better?

              The same for international produce/pantry items?

              1 Reply
              1. re: AmandaCA
                Bob W Apr 19, 2011 06:23 PM

                I'm not the family baker so i won't even try to answer that part of your query, but for international produce, there are numerous asian/international markets around here with massive produce sections. Lotte, Super H. Mart, and Grand Mart are three of the big chains. Not only do these places have an incredible array of produce, the prices on many items border on the absurd vis a vis the same items at a regular supermarket.

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