MetroWest residents no longer need to cross I-66 or Route 29 to grab a bite to eat.
With developers’ plans for retail south of the Vienna Metro station still pending, the first dining options in the mixed-use community come from a more unusual source: The Providence, a 154-unit assisted living and memory care facility that opened in March at 9490 Sprague Avenue.
While the facility’s casual dining-focused Wolf Trap Bistro & Lounge is currently only open to members, The Providence recently launched a fine-dining takeout program for the general public that it hopes to eventually turn into a full-fledged restaurant called Great Falls.
Available between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, the menu features salads, pizza, and sandwiches as well as more high-end entrées like beef filet, shrimp and mushroom marsala, and salmon with chimichurri rojo sauce.
“Creating this all-day menu was an option for us to not only give our members here…more restaurant-like type of food options, but also to incorporate in the restaurant project and have that be available to the public as well,” The Providence Dining Services Director Sabrine Marques told Tysons Reporter.
Previously the general manager of the now-closed PassionFish in Bethesda, Marques developed the Great Falls concept with Executive Director Annamarie Mariani-Huehn at the behest of Silverstone Senior Living and Watermark Retirement Communities, which respectively own and operate The Providence.
Juggling a publicly accessible restaurant with a private assisted living facility has brought a variety of challenges, from meeting state guidelines for both uses to developing a menu that’s affordable to The Providence members and fits their dietary requirements.
The team had hoped to open Great Falls by the end of this year, but that timeline proved impossible due to the additional complications introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the supply chain and staffing issues that have upended retail and service industries across the country.
“I’d rather not do something that is not going to be the way we envisioned and wait until we’re actually ready to do that,” Marques said. “I mean, we want a fine dining experience for people that will be coming here the same way that we’re trying to provide that to our members who live here.”
Given that it serves an older population, bringing heightened COVID-19 risks, The Providence decided to initially limit food service to its residents and those living in The Atrium at MetroWest, which has condominiums for adults aged 55 and older.
When no issues arose, the facility rolled out the Great Falls menu to the public on Oct. 11 as the first phase of its project to establish a full restaurant.
Takeout orders for food and coffee can be placed by phone at 571-396-0500. Orders are made available via curbside pickup within 30-45 minutes, according to The Providence.
While slow at first, Marques says business has started to pick up, including from one neighbor who has already ordered takeout on three different occasions. She hopes the program will find a customer base not just in MetroWest, but also in the wider Fairfax and Vienna area.
“It’s definitely an exciting and challenging project that we have put in place,” she said. “We will continue to work towards [the restaurant], and we are hopeful that we can get that project up and running by next year.”
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