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New owner takes over Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington

Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington is under new ownership.

Viswanath Vasireddy, of Aldie, Virginia, tells ARLnow he finalized the purchase of the restaurant on Dec. 26, after learning the business was for sale from a broker with whom he had previously worked.

“I looked at it and it seemed like a good business,” he said of the New American restaurant at 4021 Campbell Avenue in the Village at Shirlington shopping center.

For now, just the ownership has changed and he retained the restaurant’s employees during the transition, he said. While the menu is the same, he has asked the chef to see if there are any new dishes to introduce.

Vasireddy says he is currently on-site 3-4 hours a day, applying for licenses — a liquor license application filed last week is currently pending, Virginia ABC records show — and transferring account ownership for various vendors.

The restaurant was formerly owned by Reese Gardner, whose Wooden Nickel Bar Company also owns Dudley’s Sport and Ale in Shirlington, Quinn’s on the Corner in Rosslyn and Brass Rabbit Pub in Clarendon. He has plans to open a new restaurant in Tysons while continuing to expand outposts of Greenheart Juice Shop.

“After 10 successful years with Copperwood, it was time to sell and move on,” says Gardner. “The industry has completely changed and the days of having two concepts within steps apart just isn’t realistic anymore. Cost of goods, staffing plus the annual rent increases make it tough enough with just one in each area.”

Wooden Nickel Bar also owned the now-closed Pinemoor in Clarendon, which opened not far from Brass Rabbit just a few months into the pandemic.

Gardner says he had also hoped for success with The Pinemoor and Brass Rabbit close together but the Pinemoor ultimately closed. He attributed this to a concept that did not quite connect with customers, the restaurant and landlord not coming to better terms, and being unable to sell.

This winter, Gardner aims to get his Tysons restaurant — Ox & Rye, next to the Capital One Hall — open soon and aims to open the Courthouse location of Greenheart Juice Shop in February.

Amid those new openings, he is also focused on his existing restaurants “and most importantly, being a dad.”

As for Copperwood Tavern’s new owner, Vasireddy, he already owns a trio of restaurants in Northern Virginia: New American spot Clarity in Vienna, pan-Asian place Inchin’s Bamboo Garden in Herndon and an Indian restaurant Bawarchi Biryanis in Ashburn.

He says he had experience in the restaurant business back in India, before immigrating in 2008 to the U.S., where he has since worked in information technology.

“I thought about pursuing my dreams a little bit,” Vasireddy said, starting at Bawarchi Biryanis in February 2022 and taking over Inchin’s Bamboo Garden and Clarity last year.

Around the time he was working to close the purchase of Copperwood Tavern, he quit his job at Capital One to focus on restaurant operations full time.

“Business is good,” he said. “I have some expansion plans for 2024 and 2025.”

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