Looking to strip the place of its museum-like qualities, Jose Andres and ThinkFoodGroup have announced plans to reopen America Eats Tavern in Tysons Corner, an area better known for turning chef-driven restaurants into relics.
Andres said he will relaunch America Eats, his late pop-up homage to U.S. cookery, in the former Michel space at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. If you’ll recall, Michel Richard’s run in the hotel lasted only about 18 months before the chef pulled the plug. Likewise, chefs Bob Kinkead (Colvin Run Tavern) and Jonathan Krinn and Jon Mathieson (Inox) had failed to establish much of a long-term presence in Tysons. With an almost six-year run, Colvin Run enjoyed a longer stay.
So why does Andres think the revived America Eats will succeed?
“I wouldn’t go to Tysons if I wasn’t partnering with an institution like the Ritz,” said the celebrity chef, who teamed with the hotel chain for his Mi Casa by Jose Andres outside San Juan, Puerto Rico. “I have a very good relationship with the organization, and this is a way to expand our friendship and partnership.”
ThinkFoodGroup plans to tweak the original conception of America Eats to make it fit better into Northern Virginia. For starters, Andres says, the menu will not provide short history lessons with every dish; instead, a booklet will be available for diners who want to learn more about the food.
“The restaurant is going to be less of a museum,” Andres says. “The spirit of the menu will be the same, but it won’t be as academic.”
The revamped America Eats will also assume the persona of a neighborhood haunt, rather than a dining destination like Maestro, which chef Fabio Trabocchi operated at the Ritz Tysons for 61 / 2 years. For that reason, Andres says, the menu will adopt a more local and regional flavor, emphasizing wines, oysters, cheeses, meats, beers, blue crabs and other products from the Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania area. In fact, Andres said, his team toyed with the idea of renaming the restaurant Peach Grove, the original name for the Tysons area, but decided against it. The restaurant’s interiors by New York-based Celano Design Studio will take cues from Early American and farmhouse architecture.
“We are certain our hotel guests, as well as our neighbors, will share our excitement in the addition of an iconic Jose Andres restaurant to the community,” said Mark Sherwin, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, in a prepared statement.
Andres will be the first to acknowledge that America Eats, with its local emphasis, is something of a departure for a chef with restaurants dedicated to the cuisines of Spain, Mexico, the Mediterranean and China.
“This is one of my most seasonal and local restaurants that I’ve ever done,” he says. Andres is already thinking about where to source local turkeys for America Eats’s second life, set to begin in November.