William Jeffrey’s Tavern, a new “eclectic American” restaurant and 16-tap watering hole on Columbia Pike, represents a huge bet on the Pike’s future by three successful local restauranteurs.
Wilson Whitney, Adam Lubar and Chris Lefborn — who own Rhodeside Grill (1836 Wilson Blvd), Ragtime (1345 N. Courthouse Road) and Dogwood Tavern (132 West Broad Street, Falls Church) — are plowing some $2 million into the elaborately-decorated, nearly 200 seat restaurant at 2301 Columbia Pike, on the ground floor of the Siena Park apartment building. They’re in it for the long haul, too, after signing a 20-year lease on the space.
“We’re really out there,” Whitney said of their investment.
The partners say they’ve been following the Pike’s redevelopment for some time, and decided to act now (after saving up for a few years) to grab “one of the better spaces” before the pace of change accelerates.
“We looked at this area for probably eight years, as a place to come and bring our style of restaurant to,” said Lubar. “But we didn’t really think it was ready for it until all this new development came down here.”
The partners are hoping to quietly launch the restaurant with a “soft opening” on Dec. 12, though that date is still in flux. Lubar said he is actually looking forward to the openings of the other two new restaurants on the block: Eamonn’s and Taqueria Poblano.
“We’re excited about that, we don’t want to be the only kids on the block,” he said. “We want this to be a destination. We want this area to be a place where we keep the residents here instead of sending them to North Arlington or across the river.”
The planned Columbia Pike streetcar was also a deciding factor in launching the restaurant.
“We’ve been waiting for it. I think it’s going to be really, really cool when it comes through,” said Lubar. “That was one of the selling points to this area, that that should be down here some day. I think connecting this area with Fairfax and making it a little more Metro accessible can only help develop this whole area.”
William Jeffrey’s will feature 16 beers on tap, including a “microbrew of the month,” and more than a dozen beers in bottles and cans. It will have “Prohibition-style” specialty cocktails, featuring fresh juices and homemade bitters and simple syrups.
The food menu includes appetizers, soups, salads and sides; seasonal entrees priced between $18 and $25; and wraps, sandwiches and burgers priced between $9.50 and $12. There will also be an emphasis on daily specials. Though the menu is pretty standard “American-style” fare, chef Sam Adkins — formerly of Jackie’s Restaurant in Silver Spring and Cashion’s Eat Place in the District — said there will be an emphasis on homemade ingredients, including homemade bacon, pickles, spice rubs, dressings and mayonnaise.
“People have gotten away from homemade food,” Adkins said. “We’re doing it with great ingredients… It’s going to be a lot healthier and a lot healthier and a lot more tasty.”
William Jeffrey’s is named after Lubar’s father, Jeff, and Lefborn’s father, William, who both passed away last year.
The restaurant will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., 7 days a week, with a happy hour from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eventually, the partners expect to add a Tuesday raw bar special, a Sunday brunch buffet and live acoustic music on certain nights.