Blend 111 is shaping up to be a little different than many restaurants in Vienna.
It isn’t the latest branch of some regional or national chain. Instead, Blend 111 is a food and wine bar for Vienna by local Vienna residents.
Signs are up on the front of the restaurant under construction at 111 Church St., but there’s still a lot of work still to do inside before it’s ready for its first customers. Michael Biddick, principal owner and CEO of Blend 111, says construction will start the first week of January and is scheduled to take 8-12 weeks with an opening in mid-spring 2019.
But when it does open, Biddick says the restaurant will be a blend of the taste and regional dishes of the four different Vienna families coming together to support the project.
“We wanted to bring something you normally find around D.C. or Logan Circle, an upscale restaurant experience that’s accessible for the community,” said Biddick. “We wanted a special place to go on a night out.”
Biddick said the idea for the restaurant came as he was commiserating with neighbors that they all loved going into the city, but with kids and jobs with long hours it was difficult to make the hour drive and get a babysitter.
“A lot of people around here just go somewhere else, like a chain or somewhere in town, but they make do with convenience,” said Biddick. “We wanted to give people a great restaurant to go to for wine and a special night right here in Vienna.”
Around April, Biddick said he sold the last of the tech startups he’d been working on and had extra time on his hands. Wine and food was a hobby for Biddick and he began to take a serious interest in turning that into a local business.
“I started on my own, but as we shared that with neighbors they got really interested and wanted to come in on the project,” said Biddick. “So now there are four families in Vienna investing… They’re mainly neighbors, just people on the street who want to be involved.”
The restaurant will offer a blend of cuisines from Venezuela, France and Spain, three culinary cultures Biddick says were important to the families involved.
“We took those three regions and tried to create some menu concepts off the things we saw when we were traveling,” said Biddick. “Like we really loved this menu dish from Spain, so we made a note to bring that back with us.”
While there are options for meat eaters like grilled quail or duck, Biddick, a vegetarian, said he was also mindful to offer equal portions of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options in the menu.
The restaurant’s origins come from a community need, and Biddick says he aims for that community focus to continue after the restaurant opens. The types of food served and hours the restaurant runs are all planned to be flexible based on what the community responds to.
“The localness of Vienna, and the lack of a lot of the larger restaurant chain environments directly in downtown Vienna, makes it unique,” said Biddick. “I think this is showing that you can do something unique and super high quality that isn’t part of some big chain. That’s something that’s important for us to prove.”
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