Trummer’s has something new up its sleeve — again.
Nearly three years ago, the decade-old, highly acclaimed restaurant Trummer’s on Main completed a major renovation and menu overhaul to reopen as an American bistro, hoping to pivot from its reputation as a special-occasion spot to something more approachable.
But the pandemic threw a big wrench in the plans and, like so many other restaurants reliant on dine-in customers, Trummer’s co-owners Victoria and Stefan Trummer quickly shifted to survival mode, hitting pause on their intent to return Trummer’s to its roots as a neighborhood restaurant.
Fast forward two-and-a-half years and Trummer’s is completing what it set out to do, led by a new executive chef, Zack Ridenhour, who is re-envisioning the menu as we speak.
“Finally, I feel like we can get back to that change we started two-and-a-half years ago,” says Stefan Trummer.
Long-time fans of Trummer’s may recognize Ridenhour’s name. He’s a Trummer’s alumnus, having worked under the restaurant’s first executive chef, Clay Miller, who helped put Trummer’s on Main on the map. Ridenhour rejoined at the helm this summer in what he feels is a full-circle moment for him as a chef.
“I feel like I had my beginning in this restaurant. It felt like a good circling back,” says Ridenhour, recalling how Miller convinced him to quit culinary school to come work for him at Trummer’s full-time.
Ridenhour is excited about the opportunity ahead at Trummer’s. And what chef wouldn’t be? While Trummer’s is an American bistro, throughout the menu are nods to Stefan’s native Austria using ingredients local to Northern Virginia, which Victoria has called home for much of her life. Combined with Ridenhour’s touches of southern Virginia cuisine, customers can expect some intriguing dishes on the new menu once it fully rolls out in September — like a rockfish served with sauerkraut, redcurrant jus, and fennel slaw.
“[Trummer’s is] giving me the opportunity to really come out and shine a little bit more than I have been able to,” Ridenhour says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, you saw some form of schnitzel on the menu — of course with my low-country, Southern twists on it.”
For the Trummers, it’s great to have Ridenhour back in the kitchen, too, to shake things up.
“We are a chef-driven restaurant and it’s great to have fresh eyes, fresh ideas, and new food,” says Victoria Trummer. “We’ve been open 13 years and we continue to try to never be complacent and stand still. We needed to keep it exciting and be creative, and have new ideas and new inspiration and new motivation.” 7134 Main St., Clifton
For more stories like this, subscribe to our Food newsletter.