How to Infuse Local Flavor to Your Meeting Through Off-Site Dining Experiences

How to Infuse Local Flavor to Your Meeting Through Off-Site Dining Experiences

Today’s delegates expect more from meetings. To ensure record-breaking attendance and a memorable experience for attendees, meeting planners must seek locations that bring more to the table than simply ample space and good service. Delegates demand local experiences that venture off property and provide them with a true taste of the destination. Alexandria, Virginia, located just minutes from Washington, D.C., provides the perfect recipe for your private event, offering some of the region’s best dining experiences infused with authentic American history and topped with local flavor.

Old Town’s historic streets are lined with quaint, colonial-style buildings. Inside its 80+ restaurants you’ll find a wide and diverse selection of private spaces accommodating groups of up to 300. Keep reading for a tour of some of the best spots to hold a private (and semi-private) event in Alexandria.  Many restaurants are also available for buyouts so you can enjoy the entire space exclusively for your group.

Historic Hot Spots

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Founded in 1749 and with the third oldest locally-designated historic district in the country, many of Alexandria’s restaurants tucked in to 18th– and 19th-century architecture still intact from the city’s days as George Washington’s hometown have storied pasts. Here are some of the most unique historic hot spots:

Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant: Brimming with historic charm and serving up a presidential-themed menu, Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant allows delegates the unique opportunity to dine where Washington and America’s founding fathers once did.

Jackson 20: Adjacent to The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection, Jackson 20, takes its name from President Andrew Jackson and sits on the site where the Marshall House, a historic hotel of significance during the Civil War, once stood.  Today, groups can enjoy an American tavern experience and regional cuisine with a “Southern accent.”

Magnolia’s on King: Set in a 200-year-old historic building, Magnolia’s on King serves Southern immersion cuisine and offers three floors of dining venues, each with its own unique ambiance and experience.

Mount Vernon Inn: Here, guests can savor the flavors of early America. The Inn offers six intimate dining rooms, two with fireplaces, and all with colonial charm, colonial servers, and delicious regional and colonial cuisine. Make the night an experience by tacking on a candlelight tour of George Washington’s Mount Vernon  before or after dinner.

Vermilion:  Located in a historic brick building on King Street and with an unforgettable ambiance created by the restaurant’s flickering gas lamps, Vermilion offers modern American cuisine and the chance to dine where the Obamas once did.

Waterfront History & Views

Image Credit: C. Davidson for Visit Alexandria

A busy seaport since colonial times, one of the biggest appeals to having your meeting in Alexandria is access to the Potomac River and bountiful waterfront dining options.

Fish Market: Located at the foot of King Street in a renovated warehouse more than 200 years old, Fish Market serves fresh seafood like Chesapeake oysters, Maryland crab cakes and fish ’n chips.

The Warehouse: Originally a warehouse for the Torpedo Factory, The Warehouse now features caricatures of local gentry on its historic walls and some of the best steaks and freshest seafood in Old Town.

The Wharf: Dating back to the 1790s, guests at The Wharf can enjoy traditional Chesapeake fare in a building that still has its original column and beans that carry a trace of a Civil War era fire.

Dozens of other restaurants dot Alexandria’s Marina and riverfront. For the best views of the Potomac, head to Blackwall Hitch, Chart House, Hummingbird, Vola’s Dockside Grill and Virtue Feed & Grain.

Local Roots, Global Flavors

Image Credit: Korean Husband Hong Kong Wife 

Minutes from Washington, D.C., Alexandria benefits from the region’s rich collection of global perspectives and flavors. Here are just some of the many go-to spots for international dining experiences in Alexandria.

Bistro Sancerre: New to the Alexandria dining scene, Bistro Sancerre is a farm-to-table grassroots style French bistro and steak house with locally-sourced produce and fine cheeses.

BRABO: For Belgian cuisine and unparalleled service, head to BRABO, located adjacent to the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa.

Landini Brothers: Family owned and operated since 1979, this local’s favorite shares the cuisine and culture of Tuscany with their guests.

Mia’s Italian Kitchen: Inspired by one of the owner’s great-grandmother from Naples, Mia’s offers house-made pasta, Italian sandwiches, charcuterie and square pizzas in two elegantly-decorated levels.

Sunday in Saigon: Combining Vietnam’s rich regional diversity with the modern urban atmosphere of Saigon, Sunday in Saigon will transport your delegates to post-colonial Vietnam while the food will take you on a journey across the world.

Vaso’s Mediterranean Bistro: For an authentic taste of the Mediterranean, head to this family-owned and operated bistro.

Bars & Pubs

Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

From upscale lounges you can buy out to pubs with live music, Alexandria is home to more than 35 bars and pubs that cater to any occasion.

Captain Gregory’s: Hidden behind a secret sliding door inside Sugar Shack Donuts, Captain Gregory’s serves handcrafted cocktails and donut-inspired bites in true speakeasy tradition.

Chadwicks: Offering waterfront views and a classic American menu, Chadwicks is a favorite of locals and is one of the oldest continually-running restaurants in Old Town.

Daniel O’Connell’s: For a taste of Ireland, consider this modern Irish restaurant in an ancient setting constructed with materials salvaged from monasteries and castles.

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub: This authentic Irish pub was opened by friends and family with a passion for their Irish heritage and the desire to bring traditional Irish food and entertainment to their community at affordable prices.

Union Street Public House: Housed in a restored colonial warehouse and serving a menu of locally-sourced steaks, chops and seafood, Union Street Public House is a go-to spot for groups seeking a pub atmosphere.

Insider Tip: With so many restaurants to choose from, the easiest way to find the ideal off-site dining property for your group is to contact the sales team at Visit Alexandria. They live, work and eat here, making them the ideal experts to assist!

Header image by K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria