Grape and Bean, a great coffee and wine shop in Alexandria, VA where I worked a couple years ago, is the subject of a new video by Caleb Brown:
The video is part of a contest highlighting free enterprise; vote by liking it here, and if you’re in Old Town drop in to visit David and Sheera at Grape and Bean. (Also, I’m glad to see that the Clover is still brewing good coffee!)
When David Gwathmey and his wife opened their coffee and wine bar in Alexandria, Va.’s “Old Town” section, he defied a ban on sidewalk signs to try to steer customers their way. Now that the city has eased its restriction, what Gwathmey did surreptitiously, he can do in the daylight. Already, he has seen the difference.
“It definitely drives foot traffic,” says Gwathmey, 38, noting that the sign may have boosted the number of weekend visitors to his shop, Grape + Bean, by 20%. “This is a very strong statement and action that supports (the city’s) claim to want to support small businesses.”
Alexandria is one of several communities that have lifted or are considering loosening restrictions on sidewalk signs and banners to help shore up businesses struggling to survive a recession that has slowed consumer spending and depleted municipal tax revenue.
Grape and Bean is one block off the main strip of King St. in Alexandria, so it was easy to miss without the sidewalk sign. Check them out if you’re in the area.
If I were still in Virginia I’d be all over this. Amanda reports on an upcoming dinner in Alexandria:
Jackson 20 will host its first bourbon and boar dinner — an event the restaurant hopes to make a monthly feature — at the chef’s table this Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 6:30 p.m. The six-course meal will be paired with bourbon cocktails, like the pictured Boartini, made from bacon-infused Blanton’s, Chambord, bitters and fresh raspberries. The cost is $75, not including taxes and gratuity.
Chef Jeff Armstrong’s menu for the evening includes various boar cuts like barbecued shoulder on carrot and cayenne slaw, cider-braised belly with roasted peaches, blackberry and sherry syrup, and grilled loin with sweet potato mash, juniper and onion relish.
I got to Jackson 20 for lunch once before leaving town. It has good food, a well-stocked bar, and is right around the corner from Grape and Bean and the newly opened Lavender Moon Cupcakery. If you’re one of those DC people who never heads into Virginia, you’re missing out.