When he opened Randy’s Prime Seafood & Steaks on July 30, 2019, Jon Norton, CEO of Great American Restaurants, never could have imagined the year ahead. But GAR has held fast and even grown through the madness of the pandemic. Even better, Norton’s father, Randy Norton, the founder of GAR for whom the steakhouse is named, was announced this year’s winner of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington‘s Duke Ziebert Capital Achievement Award, an honor that will be officially bestowed in September. We asked Jon Norton to tell us more about what this year has meant for one of Northern Virginia’s favorite restaurant groups. See highlights from our conversation below.
How has the recent landscape changed since you opened Randy’s last year?
We could have never imagined what the ensuing first year would bring since opening Randy’s last July. However, with all the changes in the landscape, restaurants continue to be pillars of the community. Restaurants still play such an important role, both culturally and fiscally in our neighborhoods, and remain essential to recovery.
How has Randy’s itself changed in that time?
Randy’s colorful atmosphere, attentive service and the finest seasonal American fare is unwavering; however, we’ve also expanded the dining experience to conform to the current situation and now offer spacious al fresco seating. Additionally, Randy’s is also available for takeout and delivery through the free GAR mobile app. Through this new style in offering Randy’s cuisine, we continue to uphold the highest standards when it comes to health and safety, which is our utmost priority during this time.
How is Great American Restaurants dealing with the pandemic?
Throughout the changed times, we have always maintained a focus on those in need. We are particularly proud of our community-kitchen initiative, which provides free meals to those on the front lines of this pandemic. We started this program at the onset of the pandemic and continue to make this an important part of how we contribute to the community.
Has the pandemic changed your plans for future restaurants?
The future is hard to predict—I will share that in Sterling, we are the landlord of a restaurant space, and the occupants turned in their keys back when the pandemic started. We have a very talented chef, Ascary Rivera, who had previously expressed interest in presenting a taco concept. We knew the building was going to be empty and decided it was an opportunity to create more jobs and bring more employees back. It was crazy at the time, so we decided to call it Taqueria Loca. It’s been popular in Sterling, so we have expanded—it is also distributed through some of our existing Great American Restaurants, including Ozzie’s in Fairfax Corner and Best Buns in Vienna/Tysons, as pickup only. When I think to the future, we are hopeful it will be a popular concept for many years to come.
What do you have planned for the anniversary?
We’re toasting to Randy’s one-year anniversary with an all-day happy hour of sparkling and white wines, as well as half-priced oysters. This will be available starting on our actual anniversary, Thursday, July 30 and through Monday, Aug. 31, Sundays through Thursdays. All are available on our patio, in our dining room or cocktail area with purchase of an entree. Reservations can be made at randysprime.com.
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