Over Memorial Day weekend, Ovations by America Eats began serving Wolf Trap concert goers a buffet-style menu of American classics inspired by historic recipes. “It is an abbreviated menu that is served in action stations,” explains Eric Martino, COO of ThinkFoodGroup. “Everything on the menu is very indigenous to the America Eats menu.”
America Eats Tavern first launched in 2011 as a pop-up in collaboration with the Foundation for the National Archives in the former Café Atlantico space, and then evolved into a restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. The McLean location eventually closed, but ThinkFoodGroup has since revived the concept at Wolf Trap and at a second location in Georgetown, which opened this month.
The in-park restaurant is housed in an open-air, tented wooden deck that seats 300 people and overlooks the meadow. “That venue feels like it wants good, hearty American cuisine José-style, and it felt like it was the right fit for that,” Martino explains.
Favorites like mac and cheese, shrimp cocktail, hush puppies, short ribs and key lime pie are all served at various stations at Ovations. Meals start with a platter of cornbread, smoked country ham and assorted pickles delivered to each table. Then, guests can get their fill of appetizers like salads and gazpacho, vegetables like succotash and crispy Brussels sprouts, meat and seafood like roast chicken and salmon, and desserts like berry crisp and cookies. Dinner is $45 per person and beer, wine and cocktails are available a la carte.
The restaurant also offers picnic boxes for those who want to dine on the lawn during their concert. The boxes offer an assortment of dishes from the Ovations menu, including country ham sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, salads and dessert. Each box is $30 and serves two people.
Wolf Trap chose José Andrés’ restaurant group because of the celebrity chef’s local clout. “He’s well known. He’s got great concepts,” says Chris Faessen, the executive chef for Wolf Trap Foundation. “All of his other restaurants do so well and he’s got such a culinary impact.”
“We’re very humbled to be a part of Wolf Trap,” Martino says. “Our mission is to change the world through the power of food and I think we definitely do that by doing this—by being part of somebody who is celebrating something as special as going to a concert.”
“We’re really excited about this partnership. The group at Wolf Trap has been extraordinary,” he adds. “We feel like this is going to be a good way to be able to add value to their concert series.”
Ovations by America Eats is open for the summer season and guests can make reservations via OpenTable. // Ovations by America Eats: 1551 Trap Road, Vienna