Lyon Hall Answers the Call When a Customer Pops the Question

by ARLnow.com October 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm 4,314 33 Comments

Local Realtor Laura Rubinchuk and her now-fiance Mitch Schwartz went to Lyon Hall on their second date. When Mitch popped the question over the weekend, the popular Clarendon eatery came to them.

“I came up with the idea because Lyon Hall has great significance in our relationship and I wanted it to be a part of our proposal,” said Schwartz, who teaches high school English for Loudoun County Public Schools. “Lyon Hall… was where I fell in love with her.”

While proposing at the restaurant itself may have seemed like a natural choice, Mitch had bigger plans. He wanted more privacy, more intimacy for the big moment. He wanted to spread flower pedals around the room, light candles, put on their favorite song and surprise Laura without two dozen people gawking at them. But he still wanted Lyon Hall to be a part of it. So he talked to manager Mark Fedorchak.

“I went in to Lyon Hall and spoke with Mark and asked if he would be open to doing a dinner in our condo which is next door” to the restaurant, Schwartz said. “He loved the idea and asked if he could have some freedom in planning it.”

“Thursday night I sat down with Mark and he had drawn up a menu for me to look over and it was an amazing five course meal with all of our favorites on there,” he said. “We discussed wine options and agreed that I would come back on Friday… to give him a key and let them set up.”

When the big night arrived, Fedorchak, a waiter and another manager delivered silverware, place settings and ice buckets, which Schwartz hid just before Laura arrived home. After she got dressed for what Mitch said was going to be a date night to celebrate a recent anniversary, he gave her a series of envelopes with clues that sent her around Arlington to places with special meaning to their whirlwind, five-month romance.

In the meantime, Schwartz went about setting up the room. With the condo now looking like their own private restaurant, Laura returned and Mitch greeted her at the door.

“I asked her to dance and immediately asked her a question I always ask: ‘What would you say if I asked you (to marry me) tomorrow?’ She responded with her usual response of ‘Why don’t you ask and find out’.  I said ‘okay’ and got down on my knee.  She, thankfully, said yes.”

Then, with a phone call, the meal started.

“Every 30-40 minutes they would politely knock on the door, bring in the next course, fill our water, wine and champagne glasses then quietly take the dishes from the previous course and leave,” Schwartz said. “The meal was outstanding as everything was hot and cooked perfectly for us.”

“While this was not free, it was way above and beyond” the call of duty, Schwartz said. Lyon Hall told them they had never done anything like it before.

“Clearly they were happy to be able to make that memorable night even more memorable,” he raved. “Their excitement level included letting the whole staff know and telling customers that night about what they were doing for us.”

Rubinchuk, who met Schwartz on Match.com in April, said she wants everyone to know the extent to which Lyon Hall went out of their way to make their night special.

“I just really want to do something great for them since they went so far above and beyond for us,” she said.

The evening’s menu, according to Schwartz:

First course- mussels frites in this insanely good broth (pernod, garlic and parsley) and fresh bread

Second course- Pork belly with an amazing apple/rutabage puree, classic kraut and cider jus

Third course- Poached lobster in a brandy and tomato cream sauce

Fourth course- Filet with a shallot marmalade, potato-parsnip puree, caramelized endive, watercress salad and fried salsify

Dessert- Fromage Blanc Pumpkin -Persimmon, Squash, Pumpkin, Pecans, Brown Butter Crème Anglaise, Candied Sage and another plate of 5 different homemade chocolates

  • shirley

    ewww. I’d rather have political shilling on here than a free advertisement for this restaurant.

    • I’m always happy to highlight local businesses that are doing good things in the community. It’s nice to be able to write about something other than political fights and tragic events once in a while.

      • shirley

        Ok. I’m not sure that qualifies as “good things for the community” as much as “good print for Lyon Hall”. But it is your blog, so have fun!!

        • krissyarl

          i agree that this was a great story. it’s not like it was the outback or cheesecake factory or some other chain. this was a fun thing that a local business did for a couple in our community. i think that’s great to know that our local businesses are so willing to go above and beyond even for individuals!

          • rob42

            what is the relevance of whether or not it was a chain that did this for them? This story would not be OK if Cheesecake Factory did something nice for a customer who felt Cheesecake Factory was a sentimental place for him and his fiancee?

      • bennynojets

        I think it is a nice story and appreciated seeing it.

      • david

        Agreed – well done Arlnow.

    • Dear Shirley the Downer

      I’m going to guess your in the age bracket of 50-65 and have probably never married, or if you did it was because you settled. Just because your miserable doesn’t mean you have to rain on everyone else’s parade. This happy couple might want to print out this article and there will be your gleaming remark posted on top.
      Some people see the trees for the forest, I bet your the type that can find the one dead leaf on the tree.
      Congrats to the happy couple, keep bitter Shirley off the guest list!

      • shirley

        to: “Dear Shirley the Downer” — I think you are projecting a bit too much with your story about my life. (plus it is mostly wrong). (and a bit mean).

        I think it is wonderful for the couple — my comments aren’t about them. I just don’t think it is very newsworthy. And the point is proven by someone saying that if it were Cheesecake Factory they wouldn’t have been interested in hearing the story. That proves my theory that it is about the business and NOT the couple.

        • LP

          Once again, you’re wrong.

          It’s not a business story, it’s a LOCAL business story. If it was Cheesecake Factory (which is a national chain) it wouldn’t be Arlington specific, whereas Lyon Hall, Liberty Tavern, Northside Social are all Arlington only establishments.

          • shirley

            Dear LP: a little tolerance would be nice. “Once again, I disagree” would still get your point across. You have no right to tell me I’m wrong anymore than I do to tell you. We disagree. Are you incapable of disagreeing with someone without insisting they are wrong?
            Seriously, maybe you need a little love in your life??
            I know that they are a local business. and i know that they are taking over the Alpine and I bet their annual tax bill to Arlington is greater than the Cheesecake Factory tax bill. So a local business is very successful and makes tons of money. great. they should also pay for their advertisements on blogs.

          • Clarendude

            I’d say that even if it was the Cheesecake Factory and they went to lengths like this they would deserve a story. Free publicity is a fair reward for good deeds IMHO. Point though is mostly it is the LOCAL businesses that do these kind of go-the-extra-mile things. And, Mark Fedorchak and Lyon Hall deserves cudo’s and Laura and Mitch deserve Congratulations !

            My ONLY reservation is that this sets up unrealistic expectations for the rest of us bachelors! :0

    • SD

      Then choose to skip over the story and read all the political “shilling” to your liking. In your words “have fun!”

      It’s nice to see what LOCAL restaurants are doing, and so what if it’s good free advertising. I’d rather support a local business than Cheesecake Factory. This blog is about Arlington, afterall.

      I personally loved the change of pace in this blog entry.

  • Captain Obvious

    Their first date was six months ago and they’re already engaged?!

    • G. Clifford Prout

      Takes even less time in West Virginia.

  • Melissa

    I think this is wonderful to share a positive story in a time where good “news” seems rare. It’s great that love can inspire such thoughtfulness! If this is what he does after six months, imagine how wonderful the rest of their lives will be!!! Way to go guys!

  • James in EFC

    Great story – don’t let the haters get to you.

    • Bluemonter

      Totally agree…

      The haters will always hate and the lovers will always love.

  • MikeyinCrystalC

    I appreciated the story as well. But man, folks are getting married quick now days!

    • JamesE

      They get divorced in the same amount of time.

  • a’town

    he can afford to live next door to lyon hall on a teachers salary?

    someone must be skipping mortgage payments to payoff his diners club card

    • anon

      He lives with the girlfriend, now fiance, a realtor.

  • Susan

    What a great proposal, so thoughtful!

  • YTK

    When the Moon hits your eye like a Mussels Frites, That’s AMORE!!

    • el fat kid

      and when a snake swims like a fish… that’s a Moray.

      • Native

        Haha…good one, El Fattie!

  • RestonRunner86

    I appreciated reading this story, ARLNow. Great job! It gives hope to long-standing singles such as myself that maybe we, too, can find someone wonderful like this someday! 🙂

  • Jon

    Pedals are found on bicycles. Petals are found on flowers and may be scattered across the tables of romantics.

    • rob42

      there is always one

  • I asked before whether the negativity in comments as typical. I see now it is.

    Laura is a nice person, a good real estate agent and runs a highly interesting and useful blog.

    Mark Fedorchak and his partners are great people and run great restaurants.

    People lighten up, this is a nice story about nice folks and thanks for sharing!

    • el fat kid

      it is a nice story… definitely happy for them. a little light on what i’d consider newsworthy but this is the kind of stuff people should appreciate about local blogs and overall there’s a significant amount of ‘important’ content generated here.

      you can go to drudge, cnn, huffpost, nyt, washpost, etc. for headline news type stuff if that’s all you want, but it’s kind of nice reading bits & pieces of fluff stories that make up the community.

  • Explained

    To: shirley:
    I think the point everyone is trying to make to you is that, by definition advertisements are not articles. When you read an article in the Washington Post about a new local business in the area and what they are doing for the community, that local business didn’t pay for that article. They don’t pay for that, because the local business doesn’t ask the Washington Post to write that article. Just because this blog mentioned what restaurant served the dinner, doesn’t make this article an advertisement. They didn’t mention the restaurants address, menu, or hours of operation. They also didn’t mention what all this set the couple back. These are all things that would appear in an advertisement. This article simply gives the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. The restaurant is part of the Who, and would leave too many readers questioning what restaurant did this if it was left out. While I understand why you believe this is an advertisement, it just isn’t. There are testimonials in this article, but that is still different than an advertisement.

  • what a great story. Congratulations to the newly engaged couple. The restaurant did a great job helping make the evening memorable for the couple.

    I feel terribly sorry for all of you who have nothing else to do in life but complain and show your negativity and bitterness. What a sorry bunch. Hopefully one day you’ll find happiness and have others with whom to share it. Must be a sad and lonely existence if you feel compelled to ruin someone else’s happy day.


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