City Tavern, which closed June 29 after more than two decades in Old Town Manassas, has reopened in a location less than a mile away, outside the city’s historic downtown.
The restaurant reopened July 22 in a renovated building at 9550 Center St. that formerly housed KC’s Restaurant. A co-owner of City Tavern’s former building, adjacent to the Olde Towne Inn, said he expects another restaurant to open there after major repairs are completed.
City Tavern continues to do brisk business at its new location, the restaurant’s owners said.
The clientele includes many regulars from the old restaurant, as well as new customers, said Nick Veltsistas, who co-owns the restaurant with his brothers, Pete and Tim. He said that all the clubs and service organizations that held regular meetings at City Tavern have moved to the new location.
Veltsistas said he and his brothers decided to do a “slow opening” while they worked out the kinks that are inevitable with any new location. He said the staff has nearly doubled, to about 55 employees. City Tavern will have a formal grand opening toward the end of next month, he said.
The brothers had hoped to complete the move early this year. But the property needed more repairs than they had anticipated, after sitting vacant for four years since KC’s closed, Veltsistas said.
“We gutted the whole thing out,” he said. “We had to do all new plumbing, new bathrooms, new kitchen equipment, new rooms.”
The new restaurant has more space — almost 6,000 square feet — and shares a large parking lot with the office building next door.
The dining room will have a familiar feel for City Tavern regulars. Many of the decorations were moved over from the old restaurant and bar, Veltsistas said. The banquet room, which has a capacity of 60 people, is decorated with art of hunt country scenes interspersed with images of Old Town Manassas. In one corner, a mural depicts the entrance to the old City Tavern restaurant.
The new space also has an outdoor patio with seating for 55 to 60 people, Veltsistas said.
Updated kitchen equipment allowed the restaurant to upgrade and expand its menu, including the addition of several Greek dishes, Pete Veltsistas said.
City Tavern “was kind of a gathering place where people ran into everybody they knew,” said Joanne Wunderly, president of the Manassas Old Town Business Association. “But the new one is so close. It has the same feel and the same atmosphere, and I think people are stopping there when they want City Tavern.”
Wunderly said she hopes someone will “take over the hotel and [former] restaurant and make it into a top-quality hotel with restaurant attached.”
Dharmesh Shingala, who co-owns the Olde Towne Inn and vacant restaurant property with his wife, said that the restaurant needs major repairs and that it will have to be “gutted out completely.” He said he hopes a new restaurant will open in the former City Tavern space in six to eight months.
Barnes is a freelance writer.