Just a few years ago, the words “winter” and “outdoor dining” rarely found a place together in a single sentence. COVID changed that, and this winter, there’s a new option in Tysons, complete with industrial heaters and fire pits. Shipgarten opened in July, prime time for gathering alfresco, but founder Matt Rofougaran is an industry vet who has planned well for his extended pop-up.
Rofougaran’s goal, he says, is to utilize space in Tysons that would otherwise be left vacant in the wake of the city’s constant redevelopment. In the case of Shipgarten, he’s moved a small village of shipping containers covered with tents into a lot flanked by office buildings and the Metro. “It will become a large office building or large condo space in three to five years, but until then, we go in there and try to open up a restaurant,” he explains.
Actually, several restaurants: Each shipping container is home to its own concept, all staffed by Rofougaran’s own Creative Bar Concepts. Using tablets, guests order from any or all of the four kitchens.
Tysons Biergarten is the place to get German pub fare like schnitzel and bratwurst. RollBär makes poke and sushi burritos to order, flavored with everything from pickled ginger to hot Cheeto dust. Salamati Grille serves Persian wraps, rice bowls, and salads, while Waffles & Tacos specializes in precisely what’s in its name. Drinks, from Lost Rhino Brewing Co. root beer to Suntory whisky, are available at the individual restaurants or in the expansive bar tent.
In that same heated tent, jewel-toned velvet couches beckon diners to relax while they sip a yuzu-flavored hard seltzer or bite into a Japa Dog, a hot dog covered with nori, caramelized onions, Kewpie mayo, and eel sauce. Or, they can do that while watching their pooch or kids enjoy the dog park or playground. After all, Shipgarten proves that the delicious fun doesn’t stop when the weather turns cold. 7581 Colshire Dr., McLean