West Coast meets East Coast at Clarendon’s newest restaurant, Bar Ivy (3033 Wilson Blvd.), which had a soft opening earlier this month and will host its official grand opening — and full menu rollout — on June 29.
Bar Ivy has been two years in the making and is the second NoVA restaurant for DC-based Blagden Hospitality Group. The first was Hei Hei Tiger in McLean, and the group also operates Tiger Fork, Calico, Fainting Goat, and Hi-Lawn in the District.
The seafood- and veggie-focused eatery will combine the cool, relaxed vibe of California with a Mid-Atlantic approach to ingredients, sourcing from local farmers and fishermen to showcase the best our region has to offer in a Cali-creative style.
Bar Ivy’s indoor-outdoor atmosphere, featuring a 125-seat outdoor garden plaza, transports diners to a colorful, coastal California hangout with its lush plants, murals, and midcentury décor. Floor-to-ceiling glass accordion doors connect the open and airy 3,500-square-foot interior with the equally stunning outdoor space adorned by mature crepe myrtles.
Bar Ivy’s menu is as vibrant and fresh as its décor, with a daily crudo, starters like crispy brandade and dandelion fritters, and shareable small plates that include spiceberry braised octopus. The entrée menu features vegetable-forward dishes such as pea and nettle soup and buckwheat pappardelle, while seafood plates include a snapper served with lobster sauce, roasted baby fennel, and cauliflower. But meat-eaters aren’t forgotten, with delicious options ranging from petite Amish hen served with milk and sassafras-braised white asparagus and sunchokes, and lamb “two ways” with loin and belly skordalia, sumac fiddleheads, and honey jus.
Co-owner and chef Nathan Beauchamp (formerly chef de cuisine of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria) leads the kitchen with the support of executive chef Jonathan Till (previously executive chef of Del Ray’s Evening Star Cafe).
“When I was 18 and working in the restaurant industry, I traveled through Northern California for the first time, dined at The French Laundry, Chez Panisse, met Wolfgang Puck. It opened my eyes to the West Coast approach of cooking, using fresh ingredients sourced locally, prepared simply but manipulating them just enough to create something so incredible. It always inspired a dream in me to open a restaurant in that realm,” Chef Beauchamp says in a press release.
The beverage program, led by Blagden Hospitality Group’s beverage director Ian Fletcher, focuses on seasonal herbs and produce and is split between “proper cocktails” and lower-proof “session cocktails,” like the Bark & Bite pairing Bar Ivy’s own homemade root beer made with locally foraged sassafras and Manzanilla sherry. The wine program features “eclectic” selections from around the world with a focus on low-intervention wines and diverse young winemakers.
Rounding out Bar Ivy as a new day-to-night destination in Clarendon is a casual walk-up kiosk serving coffee along with nitro iced green tea from Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Passenger Coffee. In the coming weeks, the kiosk will start serving morning pastries and savory breakfast breads, as well, with brunch and lunch coming later this year.
“For me, as a Northern Virginia resident who formerly lived in Arlington, I’ve been wanting to open something here for years. Clarendon was just the ideal option for us — you’ve got great surrounding neighborhoods, a diverse mix of single-family homes, condo and apartment buildings, businesses, families, and young professionals, all that enjoy the vibrant restaurant and bar scene, and are active supporters of their local community,” says Bar Ivy’s other co-owner, Greg Algie. “Our space in particular sealed the deal, with its large corner garden patio, right by the Clarendon Metro. Just in the short time during our soft opening, we’ve gotten wonderful feedback and support from the local neighbors, and we look forward to being here for a long time.”
Until the grand opening on June 29, Bar Ivy’s limited menu will be available Wednesday to Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. The coffee and tea kiosk is currently open Wednesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. New operating hours along with the full menu will be available online at EatBarIvy.com come June 29.
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