Saturday, 24th February 2018

Beervana in Metro DC

Posted on 06. Aug, 2015 by in LIFESTYLE

Beervana in Metro DC


Whereas wine may be Virginia’s history, craft beer is its future. The recent years have ushered in a new era in Loudoun County, one where a frosty pint is brewed from wholesome ingredients and served at the neighborhood brewpub. The craft brewing community encompasses more than just a happy-hour joint. It’s not your standard hops or malts. Each pour is a glass brimming full of community, heritage and relationships.

Matt Hagerman, founder of Lost Rhino Brewing Company, began his journey into brewing at Old Dominion Brewing Company. After spending several years in the beer industry on both coasts, he raised enough funds and took up residence in Ashburn, VA. There, he was able to store the brewing equipment that he purchased from Old Dominion before their closing.

“I literally have the Old Dominion brew house,” Hagerman said. In keeping their community loyalty strong, Lost Rhino has yet to expand outside of Virginia and D.C. with distribution. Eventually, he plans to open a Lost Rhino brewpub in the Brambleton Center in Ashburn, VA. Hagerman credits the success of the Loudoun craft beer market to Virginia’s wine trail, noting that people familiar with the wine industry have the right mindset and appreciation of the craft beverage artistry.

Old Ox Brewery’s Chris Burn attributes craft beer’s recent popularity to the legislation that allowed breweries to serve beer out of their tasting rooms without serving food. “It provides an immediate revenue stream that helps you get on your feet,” he says. Burns, who owns Old Ox Brewery with his wife Kristin and his father and mother, started as a home brewer. Named after Old Ox Road, Burns said that the name spoke to their family’s beer philosophy and their desire for it to be a point of connection in the community. “It’s fun to watch people come in and connect with each other,” adds Burns. Sten Sellier started as a home brewer, too, before opening Beltway Brewing Company. Looking to take his beers to the next level, Sellier couldn’t find a production facility that would let him brew. Instead, he built a company that would only brew for others. “We’re a craft beer incubator,” Sellier joked. Currently brewing for 14 clients, Beltway Brewing Company has helped foster beers to fruition from local breweries, as well as ones from Florida, Alabama and Ohio. Their state-of-the-art production facility handles other breweries’ beers from brew to bottle.

Unanimously, all brew masters stated that attention to detail was key to a good craft brew. At Beltway Brewing Company, quality control is taken seriously and their vigorous testing for recipe adherence, yeast levels and spoilage speak to their commitment to details.

“It’s way too important to risk sending bad beer out there,” Sellier said. “This isn’t home brew, and it has to last longer than a couple weeks.”


The growth and development of the craft beer culture has attracted not only the attention of local breweries choosing to open in Loudoun, but also larger breweries looking to expand. Victory Brewing Company, based out of Pennsylvania, chose Leesburg as the location for their first brewpub outside of their home state. Victory Brewing Company opened its doors in 1996 with best friends Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet at the helm. They remain intrinsically involved in the operation of the facility. When it came time to choose where to open their next location, Covaleski said the Loudoun area felt like home to them. No stranger to Northern Virginia, Barchet served as brewmaster at Old Dominion before moving on to found Victory.

“[Loudoun] has a well-travelled, intelligent community that also respects a little bit of rural lifestyle,” Covaleski said. “We feel we’ll be able to integrate with the community well.”

Victory’s Leesburg brewpub, scheduled to open in 2016, will span three floors at Courthouse Square, featuring a restaurant, outdoor dining and an attached brewery. It will produce brews specific and unique to the Leesburg location, according to Amy DePaoli, Marketing Director for Victory.

The surge in the craft beer industry in Loudoun is only gaining momentum. From the hopheads to the lager-lovers, Loudoun has enough variety to satisfy any beer drinker. “There’s always something different and unique that people want to try,” DePaoli noted. “Craft beer really is an art.”


Metro DC Area Business Caterers

Posted on 23. Aug, 2012 by in LIFESTYLE

Metro DC Area Business Caterers
Metro DC Area Business Caterers

Metro DC Area Business Caterers

Planning on hosting a business luncheon? Satisfy your clients’ appetite with this extensive list of metro DC’s top caterers

5586 Tuxedo Rd. | Cheverly, MD
202.342.3400 |

3Citron believes that every meal we cook reflects our passion for life. Every culture, race and religion throughout history has attached a great importance to the feasts, its means of celebration and self-expression. In America, we are fortunate to be surrounded by such diversity of cultures, which offers us a vast array of cuisines to use in creating our menus.

46090 Lake Center Plaza, Ste 308 | Potomac Falls,VA
703.450.6666 |

Fabulous meals and memorable events are created with quality ingredients, skillful preparation and artistic presentation. We offer widely diversified menus for ever increasing international tastes. Our knowledgeable staff is friendly and courteous, providing attentive service that enhances your guest’s experience.

42395 Ryan Road #112-105 | Brambleton, VA
703.898.0728 |

Fusions Cuisine is a referral-based caterer providing professional catering services to the greater Washington DC area. Fusions Cuisine was born out of a passion for combining distinct flavors from different ethnic backgrounds, creating a uniquely new American signature cuisine that is ingredient-driven and uses the freshest available components.

6100 Antioch Rd. | Haymarket, VA
703.754.2714 |

With more than 20 years exposure, À la Carte makes you look good. From an afterwork reception to a large fundraising gala, we’ll strategize planning, venue, logistics and timing for a smooth success.

14918 Carlbern Dr. | Centreville, VA
703.449.9190 |

American Catering is a contemporary catering service with a clear-cut goal: to provide a dynamic balance of dining and decor, creating a truly special event for you and your guests.

109 Clermont Ave | Alexandria, VA
202.337.2000 |

Avalon Caterers, named among “the best of the best” by Washingtonian Magazine, serves our clients with kindness, professionalism, and a keen interest for exceeding expectations.

2316 Jefferson Davis Highway | Alexandria, VA
703.739.1030 |

Sara McGregor’s Capitol Catering makes your event exquisite, memorable, and yours. Your menu, your style, tailored to you. Corporate or social, weddings or galas, Capitol Catering works with precision to get it just right.

4060 Powder Mill Rd | Calverton, MD
301.572.7744 |

Amazing Food, Flawless Service, Elegant Tablesettings, Complete Coordination, Beautiful Venues combine to provide you with unique value.

4980 Wyaconda Rd. | Rockville, MD
301.230.2700 |

Whether large or small, casual or elegant, Festive Foods will work with you to ensure that everything is perfect! No detail is too small, or challenge too large for our professional staff to handle.

1341 L Street, NW, Washington, DC
202.347.8040 |

At The Catering Company of Washington, our philosophy embraces a vision of food and entertaining as a spectacular symphony, a balance of diverse elements that must combine to make any event achieve its own exquisite intentions.

1327 Kenilworth Ave, NE | Washington, DC
202.388.5555 |

While there are many Washington DC caterers, our catering team has traveled the globe and recognize the Mediterranean consists of a plethora of regional delights, gourmet foods, and foreign delicacies beyond the imagination, and not readily available to your average consumer.

2659 South Shirlington Rd., Arlington, VA
703.979.9400 |

We believe that a full-service caterer should lend its expertise, experience, and energy to the process of guiding a client through the millions of little decisions leading up to the event. We believe that a dedication to providing unparalleled service should persist until the departure of the last guest.

425 2nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
202.234.0707 |

By offering gourmet “consciouis cuisine” prepared by graduates of the DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program, Fresh Start offers a powerful opportunity to use your purchasing power as philanthropy. Fresh Start Catering uses local, seasonable and sustainable foods whenever possible in order to help support regional farms and families. Specializing in contract food services, business breakfasts, luncheons and drop-off meals, Fresh Start’s mission makes it easy and delicious to eat local and do good.

1015 31st Street NW #350, Washington, DC

202.333.2538 |
Bleu meets the distinct needs of each guest by interacting with them on a warm and personal level. Our true service is about building relationships with guests.

2335 Bladensburg Rd., NE, Washington, DC
202.526.8880 |

Dutch Mill Catering has proudly served the Washington D.C. and surrounding metro area since 1977. As a full service corporate caterer we enjoy working with you to design custom menus that will suit your palate and your budget. From a small gourmet sandwich luncheon to full service receptions for 500, we only serve the finest foods possible prepared from the freshest ingredients available.

1217 17th Street NE, Washington, DC
202.380.6966 |

Entree was created from my love affair with food. Every recipe, menu, and selection has been created through a labor of love.

313 Spring Street | Herndon, VA
703.481.9500 |

If you are looking for just the right company with exceptional personalized service to handle your next event, whether it be a simple corporate meeting, a company grand opening, a family reunion, a company picnic, an elegant dinner party, or your once in a life-time wedding, please contact Great Falls Gourmet Caterers.

14135 Estate Manor Dr. | Gainesville, VA
703.357.0496 |

Heaven’s Best catering service is committed to delivering excellence in service, elegance in presentation and overwhelming satisfaction in taste.

6710 Old Dominion Dr. | McLean, VA
703.556.0780 |

We take pride in helping every client create a truly extraordinary event. Our menus are just a starting point: you can add or adjust any items or suggest additional entries or even family-favorite recipes. From a cozy gathering at home, to a grand-scale gala, you can trust us to meet your highest expectations.

8039 Penn Randall Place, Ste. C.
Upper Marlboro, MD | 301.967.0200

When fine dining and exceptional service are a mandatory requirement for the evening’s event, Honesty Gourmet Caterers brings many years of professional expertise to make your dining experience memorable.

14207 Old Annapolis Rd. | Bowie, MD
301.805.2508 |

A family tradition…fresh, wholesome food prepared with Maryland style, grace & taste! The first year we catered 25 events. Last year it was over 1,000 events.

2437 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
202.294.4488 |

Meze Catering offers light, delicious and exotic dishes for every event and budget. We offer pre-fix menus for any occasion. Our experienced team also can help you to create your own menu, plan your event, and select a venue.

15841 Redland Rd. | Rockville, MD
301.670.4744 |

Now in our 28th year of operation, The Knife & Fork Caterers is a well-organized, innovative party planning and catering company recognized by our clients, Washingtonian Magazine and Wedding Wire as one of the top caterers in the entire region. Our management team has some 60 years of collective experience in the fine-dining and catering industry.

4816 MacArthur Blvd., NW, Washington, DC
202.342.6207 |

How do we do it? Simply put, we love what we do, we’re good at, and we have fun doing it! Over the last 14 years, our family-owned and operated full-service catering business has delighted customers in the Metro Washington area with personal service and attention that amazes.

80-A Bureau Dr. | Gaithersburg, MD
301.442.6867 |

Moulin Rouge Catering Services is a full service, off–premise catering company that has been serving the Washington DC Metro Area since 1983. Specializing in Corporate Events, Wedding Receptions, Cocktail Parties, Holiday Parties, Bar-B-Q’s and Business Meetings.

1416 Eleventh St., NW |Washington, DC
202.232.7816 |

Our concept is California inspired, gathered from over 25 years of experience. We focus on professional food preparation and presentation, with a unique selection of the finest ingredients going into each creation.

5458 Third Street, NE, | Washington, DC
202.546.7400 |
The Occasions team continues to delight their customers with the personal attention and creativity one expects when hosting an intimate dinner party, even when they are called upon to create larger and more complex events. Focusing on the details begins with our seasoned and knowledgeable sales and support staff.

3212 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
202.298.6818 |

Our recipe for success—Unparalleled professionalism, creative customized event design with meticulous attention to detail, while serving unsurpassed cuisine for gatherings from ten to thousands.

5525 Dorsey Lane, Bethesday, MD
301.652.1515 |

It’s all about the experience. That’s why at Ridgewells, our singular focus is to create the perfect event. At home. At the office. Or anywhere you choose. For ten people or ten thousand. As caterers and event designers, we’re leading the way with organic catering and green entertaining. That means yummy menus made from sustainable, farm to table ingredients.

3636 16th St. NW Ste. A417 | Washington, DC

202.462.4454 |
We at Sans Rival Caterers are proud to be entering our 25th year of serving the social, business, diplomatic, and government communities of the greater Washington D.C. area, working from our conveniently located facilities on 16th Street N.W.

6402 Arlington Blvd., Ste. B150 | Falls Church
703.892.1400 |

No one takes more care to provide the very best in food and service than Sinplicity. Totally from scratch. Artistically presented. Delivered on time. We guarantee it.

202.525.6455 |

We’re different from other Washington DC caterers because of our diverse and international approach to catering and cooking, which in turn enables the creation of a wider variety of menu items, both sweet and savory. We have combined our unique experiences and strengths to create an extensive menu of food options that can serve many event types and styles.

7411 Livingston Rd., Oxon Hill, MD
301.839.6900 |

Susan Gage began her catering career creating parties for friends from her home in suburban Washington. A self-taught chef, Susan initially catered with several friends in her local community, using her home kitchen as a base. She started her own company in 1986. Today, Susan Gage Caterers is a seven-day-a-week enterprise with more than 2000 parties yearly and $12 million in annual sales.

5623 Point Roundtop Ct., Burke, VA
703.323.1607 |
Let Teatime Delicacies make your next catered event truly special – from elegant wedding receptions to important business affairs. Teatime catering offers a wide variety of delicious and artistically presented cuisine to suit your taste and budget, while our professional and personable catering staff impresses you and affords you the relaxation you deserve.

8455 K Tyco Rd. | Vienna, VA
703.506.9396 |

For 20 years, Saint Germain Catering has provided the Washington DC area with creative and customized catering and event services. From informal business lunches to immaculate wedding receptions, Saint Germain Catering has you covered.

510 11th Street, SE, Washington, DC
202.543.7878 |

We continue to evolve, providing our clients the fresh style but always remembering that this business is all about relationships.

Executive Cuts

Posted on 23. Aug, 2012 by in Fashion

executive cuts

Bring the most out of your business attire and leave an indelible impression on your clients.

Custom has become a prevalent word in the fashion industry. Look around and you’ll see that it’s not too difficult to find a custom suit rep—they’re everywhere. Off the rack has become passé, especially when referring to the ‘suit’. If you haven’t gotten on board with custom tailoring your look yet, it’s time to consider this option. You can still purchase a suit off the rack, but bring it to a skilled tailor. The run of the mill suit, fitted properly, can be made into a deal delivering, date scoring item that you won’t want to live without again.

Attending regular meetings and events in the DC area has made it glaringly obvious to me that the standard ‘uniform’ in this market is the grey suit and blue shirt. In many cases, this boring combination is made worse by the fact that the suits are too large for the gentleman sporting them. I like to refer to this problem as the ‘I’m wearing my father’s suit’ phenomenon. If your job consists of sales of any kind, you should consider the fact that your clothing can make or break your deal. If you offer the same product, at the same price, and you look like your competition, what is setting you apart? Another point to consider, if you are selling to a cutting-edge, young organization, is your style appealing to this audience? Is your look current, polished, and totally put together? Or are you wearing the ‘uniform’?

Custom does not only refer to suits. When shopping, I try to look at items knowing that they will most likely not fit my body properly without some sort of alteration. Your tailor is your best friend because they can totally change your clothing with a few cuts and stitches. Take a look at pieces in your closet that you have never worn because something about them just doesn’t feel or look right. Ask your tailor how they can alter items to make them wearable options. Even your ‘father’s jackets’ can be pared down to a smaller, modern fit.
There are a slew of new companies cropping up providing non-traditional alterations, custom shirts, etc. A new innovation that once experienced, you will utilize regularly and will immediately become a hit at parties when revealing this discovery, is a company called Denim Therapy. They use a ‘mystery’ technology to repair holes and tears in your favorite jeans. Simply mail them in and get them back looking like new (

Another amazing advance…custom shirt fitting through Skype! This company offers more casual custom shirts and can virtually fit you. ( With all of these options, there should be no excuses for walking around town in those ill-fitting threads.

Take a second look at your outfit before you hit the streets and make sure you are wearing clothing that fits, flatters, and gives you the confidence you need to close the deal. Differentiate yourself and find your image.

Tech Trendy

Posted on 22. Aug, 2012 by in Fashion, LIFESTYLE

Fashion Styling by Jody Maki  • Photos courtesy of Mark Briley
Fashion Styling by Jody Maki  • Photos courtesy of Mark Briley

Fashion Styling by Jody Maki • Photos courtesy of Mark Briley

The techie is not typically known for creating standout fashion. Visions of men in t-shirts and flip flops working in their corner cubicles or neighborhood coffee come to mind. Maybe it’s time to break out of that slouchy style and create something different. Step away from the laptop for a moment and seek out a look that incorporates multiple textures along with unexpected combinations and colors. We created these edgy looks on a budget so you can differentiate yourself in the market without doling out your startup budget. Keep your preppy persona but share some color, create some style, and step out of your boring uniform.

Gingham is no longer reserved for farm girls. Pick your color—it’s everywhere you look this season. Add a fitted casual jacket and tie, but roll up your sleeves and get back to work.
Khaki Green Pants, H&M— $19.95
Red Gingham, H&M—$24.95
Cotton Jacket, H&M—$34.95

Orange pants, we are serious! You can still wear your button up shirt and conservative sweater, just pair it with something more exciting and totally rock it!
Plaid Shirt— $19.95
White Henley—$14.95
Pointer Crago II Shoes—$150
All items from

If you ever wore a Member’s Only jacket, this look should bring back memories. Layer it underneath your sport jacket for a funky but preppy combination of separates. Choose a bright color to keep it modern.
Canvas Jacket, H&M—$59.95
Blue Sport Jacket, H&M—$39.95
White Henley, H&M—$14.95
Cotton Striped Shirt, Express— $59.90
Adidas Lifestyle Shoes—$100

You can dress up your jeans and still keep your professional edge. Bright pocket squares with a pattern, striped shirt and narrow tie, combining different textures will give you distinctive style. If you really want to skate on the edge, add some bright colored shoes and enjoy your newfound attention on the street.

A Beginner’s Guide to Ireland

Posted on 22. Aug, 2012 by in LIFESTYLE, Travel

City Hall, Belfast
The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher

There are a lot of reasons to make Ireland your next travel destination. For example, the Guiness really does taste better here, the location is absolutely gorgeous no matter what time of year, the golf is top notch, and the people are some of the friendliest on the planet.

For these reasons and a host of others, Ireland is one of the top travel destinations for Americans. If you haven’t visited the Emerald Isle (the old saying that there are a thousand shades of green in Ireland is pretty much true) or you just want to relive your memories there, hopefully this article will motivate you to make travel arrangements soon.
First off, let’s get rid of some of the myths about the country. It doesn’t always rain. While most days there will usually be some sort of precipitation, the steady, all day long rainstorms found across much of the U.S. are actually quite rare there. More common is a pattern of sunshine, followed by partly cloudy, cloudier, mizzle (an Irish term for a mix of mist and drizzle), rain, back to partly cloudy, and then repeat. Believe it or not, I’ve actually come back from trips to Ireland with a sunburn.
While many people who haven’t been there equate the quality of Irish food with that of England, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In England, if you order pub grub, your first choice is to decide whether to eat it or to shoot it. By contrast, even in the small, out of the way places in Ireland, the food will be satisfying and many restaurants around the country rival some of the best on the planet. One reason for this is the freshness of the ingredients. The lamb you drove past that morning could very well end up on your dinner plate.

While Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom and tensions between Catholics and Protestants remain, the six counties that comprise that part of the country are much calmer than in the past and should be considered in your travel plans. Keep in mind, however, that the Republic uses the euro while the British pound is still the currency of the North. While the Irish are warm and welcoming, they don’t have much tolerance for anyone who puts on airs or treats them like they’re always drunk or blurting out silly idioms like, “faith and begorrah”. Lastly, like most other places on earth, running around with a fanny pack, cargo shorts, a gimme cap, and flip flops isn’t going to get you anywhere.


Outside of Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Galway, most of Ireland is very rural and exceptionally scenic. Small towns and villages are interspersed between picturesque fields and pastures. The coastline varies from pristine beaches to rugged cliffs overlooking the ocean. I’d strongly recommend that you consider a self-drive vacation, as it’s the best way to see the country. Driving on the opposite side of the road (referring to it as the wrong side is rude) isn’t that difficult as long as you take it easy and don’t go out of your way to be stupid by renting a car with a manual transmission. There are three classifications for Irish roads. M is for motorways and are the equivalent of our interstates.

N roads are usually two lanes and vary in condition. Sheep are nearby but generally not in the roadway. R roads are very narrow, sometimes only one lane and the sheep are either roadside or directly in the road. Because of the condition of the roads, presence of sheep, hit-or-miss nature of some road signs, and winding nature of most routes, give yourself plenty of time when going from one place to another. If you’ve never encountered roundabouts they can be scary at first, but once you get used to them, they’re a piece of cake.

The shorter list would be where not to go. The three major cities in Ireland—Dublin, Cork and Galway, each have distinct characteristics. Dublin is by far the largest city with almost a quarter of Ireland’s population. Even though the Celtic tiger has its tail between its legs right now, Dublin retains a cosmopolitan buzz that should be familiar to Washingtonians. There are excellent restaurants at all price ranges, music of all types, and the museums, theaters, and nightlife are on a par with the world’s major cities. Cork is second only in size. With a large university and its own collection of cultural and historic attractions, this city is sure to enchant. Galway is the smallest of the three cities, but it sits on the scenic Galway Bay with the River Corrib running through the center of town. Serving as a gateway to some of the loveliest and most unique landscapes Ireland has to offer, such as the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara, Galway is a must-see location. The small towns and villages of Ireland have a lock on the word “charming” with very few exceptions. Some of the most picturesque and interesting include Kilkenny, Killarney, Ennis, Cobh, Westport, and Kinsale. If it’s been designated as a “Tidy Town,” it’s usually a pretty good indication that the place is above average. Other considerations include proximity to historic sites and the quality of restaurants and lodging. Some hit on all three. Cashel is the name of a 10th century religious center that was once the stronghold of one of the Kings of Ireland. It’s a beautiful village and the only place in Ireland where a blue cheese, Cashel Blue is made. My wife was so taken with all three aspects of the town, that she named her silver tabby Cashel.

City Hall, Belfast

City Hall, Belfast

In general your best bet is to study guidebooks or read travel essays and pick out those locations and attractions, cultural or otherwise, that most appeal to you. “The Lonely Planet Guide” has an excellent section on the history and culture of Ireland and provides excellent recommendations on things to see and do. Georgian Campbell’s guides are about the best for lodging and dining reviews. Using a travel agent that is familiar with the country such as Isle Inn Tours (, an Alexandria company that specializes in trips to Ireland and Scotland, is also an excellent idea. The price will be comparable to what you can negotiate yourself on the web and the access to their knowledge and recommendations will make the trip that much more enjoyable.

When seeking music or night spots, be sure to ask the locals about places with good “craic” (pronounced “crack”). This is a peculiarly Irish term that is tough to translate into English but generally means a place with great conversation, openness, music, people, gestalt, vibe, and any number of other adjectives.


Everyone always wants to make the most out their limited vacations and this oftentimes results in scurrying from one place to another practically every day and night. One thing to understand about Ireland is that it’s a small country. Dublin is well worth three or more nights on its own. Staying three or so nights in one or two other places will allow you to get to know that specific location and also be sure to make day trips into the surrounding country side. This strategy will let you see a good part of the country with little fuss or bother. Lastly, anyone going to Ireland, especially for the first time, should read “Round Ireland with a Fridge” by Tony Hawk. The book is not only hilarious but it captures the unique spirit and resiliency of Ireland and her people.

Local Bars in Metro DC

Posted on 22. Aug, 2012 by in LIFESTYLE, Local Bars


You made it through the work week. Time to hang up that suit and get down. DC singles were just declared the nation’s Biggest Boozers. We’re guessing this list of local bars probably had something to do with that.

The Washington Post reported recently that single young professionals living and working in the DC area party harder than those in any other city. We think it’s because we put in longer hours at more demanding jobs, so we’ve definitely earned it. DC is home to some of the nation’s most stressful jobs: Federal employment with the CIA and FBI, among other agencies, as well as lobbyists, lawyers, and Hill staffers. These employees deserve some serious playtime when they finally get a break. The city is also full of bright, hardworking graduate, doctoral, and law students at Georgetown, GW, and American. Without families to tie them down, once DC singles are finally ready to call it quitting time, where do they head out to get their drink on? Check out some of our favorite places.

Spider Kelly’s
3181 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
703-312-8888 |

Reviewer Fritz Hahn of The Washington Post called this bar the hottest one in the entire Wilson Boulevard corridor. Replete with a cool island bar, lounge areas with comfortable couches, flat-screen TVs for sports, and a game room with pool tables, shuffleboard tables, and video games, Spider Kelly’s offers something for everyone, especially if you’re looking for a place to chill from happy hour until closing time. For-the-long-haul specials run from 4 to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.

410 1st St., SE DC
202-484-0711 |

If there’s one bar that the staffers of our nation’s most important decision makers flock to, it’s Bullfeathers. With 31 microbrews on tap, an impressive wine list, pub and grill food in generous portions, and outdoor seating when the weather’s nice, who can really blame them?

Union Pub
201 Massachusetts Ave., NE DC
202-546-7200 |

In case you don’t get your fill of Hill Staffers and craft beers at Bullfeathers, head on over to Union Pub, which boasts the largest outdoor patio on Capitol Hill. If that’s somehow not enough to entice you to visit on a beautiful DC summer evening, they have a stellar, unique menu and a great happy hour featuring sweet deals like $3 tacos on Monday nights until 8pm and $5 martinis on Fridays. Still need more? If the 27 flat-screen TVs and the bottomless weekend brunch don’t draw you in, just go home already.


555 8th St., NW DC
202-783-6060 |

On the off chance that utterly awesome isn’t your style, Poste Moderne Brasserie also offers a great outdoor dining experience. From their website, “Set in the original 1841 General Post Office, Poste has become a modern-day favorite dining destination of local foodies and a leader in sustainable and eco-friendly practices.” Poste sources many of their meats and cheeses directly from their onsite garden, in addition to the local DC Freshfarm Market and other regional farms and ranches. Also of note is the punch bar, which serves an array of vodkas infused with seasonal fruits and herbs from the Poste garden. Yum.

639 Pennsylvania Ave., SE DC
202-543-3113 |

Maybe sitting outdoors in the beautiful weather and enjoying a delicious bottle of wine from a local Virginia vineyard isn’t your thing. No problem. Put on your dancing shoes and head to Remingtons. They advertise themselves (quiet appropriately) as “Washington, DC’s premiere Entertainment, Show, and Country Western Nightclub.” One patron describes it as “one of the few bars I can walk into on my own and end up striking a conversation with whomever else is there. And the line dancing is always fun.” Between the two levels and four bars featuring dancing, drinking, and entertainment, this is one establishment that’s unlikely to disappoint.

728 King St., Alexandria | 703-299-8384

This surreptitiously hidden modern speakeasy can be found above Eamonns restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. Jackets are required for men, so put on your finest threads before heading to PX, where patrons can experience a night straight out of the prohibition era. Food options are limited, so this bar might best be explored as an after dinner adventure. For the incredible ambiance, expect to pay up to $15 for a drink, but we promise it’s worth it. As one PX groupie explains, bartender and mixologist Todd Thrasher “approaches a drink like a chef, not a bartender, and that care shows.”

The Gibson
2009 14th St., NW DC
202-232-2156 |

If one speakeasy-inspired bar just isn’t enough to fulfill your secret desires to time travel back to the Roaring Twenties, don’t worry, there’s also The Gibson. Fritz Hahn describes this bar as “a cocktail-focused pseudo-speakeasy” that “offers some of the most interesting drinks in DC.” He goes on to say that “the cozy, romantic space, with its dark, candlelit decor, evokes the glamour of the ’20s and ’30s, as do such vintage drinks as the Sazerac (strong rye whiskey and bitters in a glass washed with absinthe) or the rich Japanese Cocktail (brandy, orgeat syrup and bitters).” We promise their creative drinks make it well worth the price and the effort to find them.

The Gibson Bar

The Gibson Bar

Local 16
1602 U St., NW DC
202-265-2828 |

The owners tell it like this: “Local 16 is a longstanding neighborhood restaurant known for providing farm-driven, classic American fare served in a warm atmosphere. Farm dedicated to sourcing local ingredients, Local 16 truly partners with local farmers by making real, upfront financial commitments to source their products. Beginning in 2005, Local 16 took its commitment one step further by investing in a 160-acre bio-dynamic all heirloom Virginia farm. In exchange, Whipple Farm is a restaurant partner, supplying local, bio-dynamically grown heirloom produce that is used daily at Local 16. To support the bio-dynamic mission, Local 16 uses wood from the farm to fire the oven and the ashes are returned to help fertilize the soil.” With all that good news, the upstairs lounge, heated rooftop patio, and impressive Sunday brunch are just a sweet bonus.

My Brother’s Place
237 2nd St., NW DC
202-347-1350 |

With unbelievable happy hour drink specials, some of the friendliest bartenders on Capitol Hill, and an army of regulars, My Brother’s Place is not meant for a quiet, intimate evening out in DC. Offering Friday night beat-the-clock specials and an all-you-can-drink Saturday night deal, head over to My Brother’s Place if you’re looking to party hard and unwind after that long work week without breaking the bank.

Galaxy Hut
2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
703-525-8646 |

An Arlington favorite, Galaxy Hut offers a great microbrew selection with 20 constantly rotating taps that allow patrons to enjoy a variety of wellknown beers or local favorites. To compliment such a stellar beer selection, Galaxy Hut offers a vegetarian-inspired menu and live music on Sunday and Monday nights.

2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
703-522-8340 |

Iota has a little something for everyone in Arlington. Stop in on your way to work for a delicious breakfast pastry and a coffee, espresso, or tea. Head over for a working lunch to use the free Wi-Fi while enjoying a wrap or Panini from Iota’s new bistro-style menu. Come back after work to enjoy dinner and a few drinks and then hang around for the great live music that starts nightly around 8pm.

Luxury Private Airlines

Posted on 22. Aug, 2012 by in Airlines, LIFESTYLE

Projet GIV-SP Interior
ProJet Aviation Hawker 800XP, a populare charter aircraft, features luxury seating for 8 and WiFi

ProJet Aviation Hawker 800XP, a populare charter aircraft, features luxury seating for 8 and WiFi

For those living in the lap of luxury, private chartered jets are the only way to fly. Here are some of DC’s best options for those of you who can afford to skip the lines and TSA pat-downs.

The advantages that Gilad cites seem like the real luxuries of chartering a private flight when you compare them to the disadvantages of commercial flights: long security lines, missed connections, possibilities of misplaced baggage, and the lag time on the ground compared to time actually spent in the air.

“Time is the real luxury,” says Jacquie Dalton, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Manassas-based Metropolitan Aviation. Dalton adds, “Private jet travel is often described as a luxury, when in fact it is a critical resource worldwide for businesses, government, and individuals.” What busy executive doesn’t find time priceless? Time, personal service, safety, value for the money, and flexibility are all things that chartering a private flight through a luxury private airline will get you.

ProJet Aviation's Gulfstream GIV

ProJet Aviation's Gulfstream GIV

Gilad describes ProJet’s timesaving and client-focused service: “Our clients board planeside. They drive their vehicle right up to the aircraft where our customer service agents are there to greet them and assist with their belongings.” No parking hassles, no lines, no baggage checks; just one simple step: right onto your chartered plane.

Once customers are ensconced on their private flight, the more traditional idea of luxury travel ensues. Gilad says, “During the flight, clients are in a comfortable, quiet environment where they can hold productive, uninterrupted meetings, eat healthy, freshcatered food, or simply relax and arrive at their destination rested.” This is a far cry from cardboard commercial flight food, overfilled planes with cramped seating, and the possibility of a chatty seatmate. Luxury private airlines across the board cater to the client, whether it is business or pleasure; comfort and personalized service is the philosophy.

LUXURY PRIVATE AIRLINES ACROSS THE BOARD CATER TO THE CLIENT, WHETHER IT IS BUSINESS OR PLEASURE.artered jets are the only way to fly. Here are some of DC’s best options for those of you who can afford to skip the lines and TSA pat-downs.

Creature comforts aside, traveling in luxury is safe. Gilad says, “Charter flights are operated at an extremely high level of safety.” Not only are charter flights safe, but they are regulated as well. Gilad explains, “Charter operators and their pilots and technicians are bound by strict Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations. Many of the best charter companies, including ProJet, have a complete safety management system, including an internal and external audit process.” Robin Purcell, from Martinair, another luxury private airline company operating out of the DC area, educates me about ARG/US, or Argus International, Inc., which is the aviation industry watchdog for operational excellence and safety. Martinair is ARG/US Platinum rated. Purcell says, “Only 5% of all charter operators are Platinum.” This is a safety rating Martinair can be proud of and one that clients can be aware of.

Besides feeling safe, you can also feel like a savvy consumer. Purcell says, “It is often more cost effective to charter rather than go commercial. If you fill up eight or more seats when you are traveling in a tri-state radius for a day or overnight, chartering a flight can often come in equal or less then airlines. Smaller charter companies are also far more likely to be competitive with pricing than national operators.”

Projet GIV-SP Interior

Projet GIV-SP Interior

After considering the benefits of saving yourself or your company money and time without sacrificing safety, you may be weighing the convenience factor of charter flights. Gilad says, “ProJet is a hospitality company first, which makes us extremely client focused, flexible, and reliable.” Luxury private airlines have one major advantage that commercial airlines never do: flexibility. When it comes to your needs or your company needs, these luxury private airliners can work around your schedule, not the other way around.

For more information or booking questions, contact these luxury private airliners based in the DC area:


Image Courtesy of Martinair

Image Courtesy of Martinair

A client-focused hospitality company that operates business jets for private owners, corporations, and for hire. They are uniquely positioned at Leesburg Executive Airport, which is the closest and most convenient satellite airport to Washington DC, the Dulles Technology Corridor, and DC’s wine country. ProJet is a full service aviation company capable of turnkey aircraft solutions. In addition to being a licensed FAA Air Carrier with worldwide operating authority, ProJet is also an FAA Licensed Maintenance Repair Station, an aviation fuel distributor, and an aviation facilities manager with over 75,000 square feet of hangar and office space. ProJet was also voted Loudoun County’s Service Business of the Year in 2010 by the Chamber of Commerce.


Metropolitan Aviation is best known for offering the largest and most diverse private jet charter fleet in the mid-Atlantic. They offer a diversified fleet from large cabin heavy jets to super mid cabin, mid cabin, light jets and turbo props. Flying out of Manassas Regional Airport gives Metropolitan clients an advantage because it eliminates the delays and congestion that commonly occur at Dulles. It also allows for additional perks in service—for example, Metropolitan offers a complimentary car detail while clients are out on trips. Metropolitan Aviation is also a good option for clients who are making the transition from private jet chartering to private jet ownership. Owner and CEO, Alan R. Cook, has over 35 years of experience in private aviation and an extensive knowledge of the private jet market.

MARTINAIR | 804-222-7401

Martinair has 14 charter aircrafts based in Dulles, Richmond, and Roanoke. Martinair operates a well diversified fleet of aircraft from light Turbo Props, light Jets, mid-size Jets and Heavy Jets. They operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and have done so for the past 25 years. Martinair is also proud to be part of the network of charter aircraft used to transport donated organs.

CHANTILLY AIR, INC. | 800-720-5387

Chantilly Air, Inc., a provider of charter services in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, believes that service is in the details. With over 20 years of experience in the corporate aviation industry, with an accident-free, incident-free, and violationfree safety record, they know safety and quality. Chantilly Air is committed to planning around your particular needs.

Luxury Hotels in DC

Posted on 22. Aug, 2012 by in Hotels, LIFESTYLE

Dupont Circle Hotel

Courtyard Garden at the Fairmont Washington

Courtyard Garden at the Fairmont Washington

Discover the best our Nation’s Capital has to offer. Ideal locations, luxurious accomodations, and five star experiences are just some of the things you will enjoy during your stay at any one of these beautiful hotels.

For those of you who are welltraveled and those of you with high expectations, each of the following properties will be sure to cater to your every whim and offer you an exemplary stay during your time in DC. You can anticipate a fully immersive luxury experience with access to all that the city has to offer. For the most relaxing and unforgettable stay in our nation’s capital, a reservation at any of these hotels will surely fit the bill. Here’s our list of the best that DC has to offer.

WASHINGTON, DC 20036 | 202.483.6000

Located in vibrant Dupont Circle, this hip hotel offers easy access to an array of unique spots. Excellent service mixes with a trendy vibe to offer a one-of-a-kind experience. Dine in the hotel’s own Café Dupont restaurant, or enjoy a drink in their vibrant Bar Dupont.

Dupont Circle Hotel

Dupont Circle Hotel

WASHINGTON DC, 20036 | 202.347.3000

Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, President Truman once declared The Mayflower Renaissance as Washington, DC’s “Second Best Address.” This well-preserved landmark is run by Marriott and dutifully pays homage to its historic past.

1150 22ND ST NW
WASINGTON, DC 20037 | 202. 835.0500

With a name synonymous with luxury, the Ritz Carlton lives up to its reputation. Locations in the District, Georgetown, Pentagon City, and Tysons Corner make business travel easy and accommodating.

WASHINGTON, DC 20008 | 202.234.0700
Nestled in Rock Creek Park, The Omni Shoreham is a true reflection of our Nation’s Capital. The hotel has served numerous dignitaries and has even played host to inaugural balls, making it the perfect spot to immerse oneself in the political landscape.

The Lobby at Hay Adams

The Lobby at Hay Adams

800 16TH ST. NW
WASHINGTON, DC 20006 | 800.853.6807

One of the most well-known hotels located in DC, the Hay-Adams is particularly notable for its unique and colorful history. It has firmly established itself as a gathering place for the elite and has earned its reputation for unparalleled service.

1200 16TH ST. NW
WASHINGTON, DC 20036 | 202.448.2300

Offering a more intimate experience, The Jefferson proudly boasts its status as Washington’s best small hotel. A Book Room houses volumes on Jefferson-era subjects and historical details are painstakingly preserved.

The Mandarin Oriental

The Mandarin Oriental

WASHINGTON, DC 20024 | 202.554.8588

The Mandarin Oriental is set in the heart of the District, with easy access to numerous DC landmarks. The hotel delivers an elegant and memorable experience and has been labeled as one of the top 100 hotel properties in the world.

515 15TH ST. NW
WASHINGTON DC 20004 | 202.661.2452

With its sleek and modern look, the W offers broad appeal. The hotel chain offers their signature W bed, along with a full list of amenities.

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD 20745 | 301.965.2000

Step outside of the District and find the Gaylord National peacefully nestled in National Harbor, MD. The hotel’s stunning atrium is covered in 1.5 acres of glass, providing unrivaled views of the Potomac.

2401 M ST NW
WASHINGTON DC 20037 | 202.429.2400

The Fairmont Washington is conveniently located near historic Georgetown. It is a prime destination for business travelers, offering a dependably high-quality experience.

Best Restaurants in DC

Posted on 22. Aug, 2012 by in LIFESTYLE, Restaurants

The Bar at Proof

The Bar Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

The Bar Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

DC is home to some pretty fantastic cuisine and world-renowned chefs. Gourmet baker and food writer Rebekah Pizana lists DC’s cream of the crop.

No city can truly be great without having its share of fantastic restaurants. They are the bedrock of a bustling city, a true cornerstone of a thriving culture and a dynamic people. In DC, we are indeed a lucky bunch. Not only has the nation’s capital become a serious gastronomical center, but it also serves as a major hub for international celebrity chefs and a happy home to experimental, cutting edge cuisine. Here you will find some of the best names in the business, catering to all tastes, backgrounds, and budgets. In a list compiled by Rebekah Pizana, we take a close look at some of DC’s best places to eat, drink, and be merry.


The Bar at Proof

The Bar at Proof

775 G Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001

With eye-catching interiors and an unmatched wine program by Wine Director Sebastian Zutant (formerly of Komi and Rasika), guests can enjoy a memorable experience at Proof in DC’s Gallery Place neighborhood. From Champagne trolleys to an impressive late night menu from Executive Chef Haidar Karoum (also of Estadio), the wine-centric hotspot is dazzling but pricey. From 11pm to 1am Thursday through Saturday nights, indulge in fois gras scrambled eggs served on truffle-buttered toasted brioche, and Chef Karoum’s interpretation of the notorious Philly cheese steak, a tender Wagyu beef creation topped with provolone cheese and garnished with maitake mushrooms and jalapeno mayonnaise. Also on the menu, a classy list of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie offerings. Pair your late night indulgence with one of 40 by-the-glass selections or pick a bottle from over 1,000 choices of Proof’s full wine list. Stored in two visible, climate-controlled wine units, Proof houses over 4,000 bottles with a modern Enomatic (automatic wineserving technology) serving system.

3000 M Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20007

Citronelle's Chef Michel Richard

Citronelle's Chef Michel Richard

(temporarily closed for repairs) Michel Richard’s Citronelle has been the recipient of numerous accolades by some of the most prestigious culinary publications and top dining awards around the world. Back in 1994, Richard opened his flagship restaurant, Citronelle, a romantic destinationstyle haven in the Latham Hotel just off of Georgetown’s cobblestone streets. Just two years later, Richard would be nominated for James Beard’s Chef of the Year Award and in 2008 he was given the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. It would be a crime not to agree with the critics and numerous awards committees. Citronelle has remained consistent throughout the years, a tried and true French restaurant with astonishing dishes and some of the most beautifully executed desserts in town. Be sure to order Richard’s escargot and sweetbread croutons with a parsley shallot sauce. Few restaurants in the area deliver escargot as well as Citronelle. Complete your meal with the Chocolate Degustation and an Espresso Grand Cru. The Lounge menu offers a nice preview of the dinner menu, a notable sazerac, and eye-catching mushroom cigars.

332 Springvale Road
Great Falls, VA 22066

L’Auberge Chez Francois opened back in 1976 by Chef Jacques Haeringer’s father, the late Francois Haeringer. The cozy Alsatian restaurant, housed in a charming countryside cottage with exposed wood and white paint, is situated in the green hills of Great Falls, Virginia. Chef Haeringer and his staff have catered to local, national, and international patrons, including former Presidents, members of Congress, celebrities, foreign dignitaries, and power brokers in Washington, DC. The menu is almost legendary, serving a real Alsatian feast of sauerkraut, sausages, pork sausage, duck confit, and foie gras, along with Beef Bourguignon, spaëtzles, and seasonal vegetables—a dish even Julia Child would be impressed with.
Chez Francois is almost a fixture on the Northern Virginia landscape, and it’s no surprise Chef Haeringer and his staff have been awarded AAA’s Four Diamond Award for quality and service. There’s no need to wait for a special occasion to experience the dining at Chez Francois. Just sitting at one of the white-linen covered tables and staring at the menu is an occasion itself.

1238 H Street Northeast
Washington, DC 20002

It’s no wonder Chef Teddy Folkman beat Bobby Flay in a moules-frites throwdown back in 2008, since it took Folkman and his team three months to decide where they would source their mussels from. Granville Moore’s famous, plump mussels are grown by Icy Storm farm on Prince Edward Island. Rope-grown and suspended in water, Folkman chose these particular mussels for a cleaner, less “oceany” taste also resulting in large, meaty flesh. A gastropub with a healthy “Belgian fetish,” Granville’s has been serving upscale bar food on DC’s northeast H Street since 2007 and quickly became a destination restaurant and food-lover escape. The rustic pub also serves a memorable brunch. Enjoy authentic Belgian waffles and a to-die-for Monte Cristo with spicy Old Bay seasoned Bloody Mary’s until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Beer lovers can choose from a wide selection of Belgian beers and American craft beers. Beverage Director Matt LeBarron maintains a core list of over 40 bottled beers and rotates seven draft beers.

Clockwise from top left: The Bar at Granville Moore's, Passionfish, Chef Jacques Haeringer (L’Auberge Chez François)

Clockwise from top left: The Bar at Granville Moore's, Passionfish, Chef Jacques Haeringer (L’Auberge Chez François)

1924 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20006

The 285 seat, Certified Green Restaurant is not just good at conserving energy, but Founding Farmers serves a bodacious brunch on Saturday and Sundays from 9am to 2pm. Early riser? Enjoy an artisanal American breakfast Monday through Friday 7am to 11am. Chief Mixologist Jon Arroyo serves award-winning Prohibition–style cocktails, and thanks to Chef Joe Goetze, Founding Farmers provides one of the few brunches in the area providing a wide array of options that satisfy most diners.

The two-level, casual and eco-friendly Foggy Bottom restaurant seems to be inserted right smack in the middle of the newly renovated professional office fronts in one of DC’s oldest neighborhoods. Designed to feel like a modern farmhouse, the wooden, communal tables, and sleek, open bar stay packed on the weekends. From the chicken and waffles, “red flannel” beet and leek hash browns, to the made-toorder beignets and farm-house iron pressed waffles, you’ll walk out the large glass doors feeling like you should have spent more.

11960 Democracy Drive
Reston, VA 20190

Part of the Passion Food Hospitality group (DC Coast, Acadiana, Ceiba), owner Jeff Tunks’ goal for PassionFish is to celebrate the flavors, natural resources, and traditional techniques of the Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The fusion restaurant’s contemporary, ocean-themed interior conveys the perfect setting for seasonal seafood and fresh ingredients. Chef Chris Clime specializes in ceviches and cioppino, lobster rolls and crispy whole fish. The restaurant also showcases an impressive raw bar led by a dedicated sushi chef. Albeit pricey, PassionFish is perfectly located in Reston Town Center, a high-end popular weekend and night spot for locals near the Dulles Corridor.

Although the raw bar is the main attraction, don’t walk away without sampling the whole crispy flounder served with a spicy tamarind chili nam pla (fish sauce) and cucumber sunomono (rice vinegar based) salad.

Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

1100 New York Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20005

It’s not often that you stumble into an Italian restaurant where the bar is a popular component, drawing your attention with bold colors and fashionable design. Small views into the bustling kitchen from the sleek, low-back chairs keep your senses intrigued. Apart from the contemporary bar, lounge, and dining room, Bibiana delivers top-notch service, moderate prices, a $25 multi-course lunch menu and authentic Italian wine list. This is no surprise coming from successful restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, proprietor of renowned dining rendezvous Oval Room and Rasika.

Unlike many restaurants with lengthy menus, there is no need to order a sampling of each dish to discover the Chef’s unique talents. Executive Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s nuanced Italian menu is rich in handmade pasta fresca and local pesci. Whether you order Stefanelli’s 5-course $75 tasting menu, $10 happy hour pizza, or a small plate of smoky patate in crosta (smoked potatoes crushed with extra virgin olive oil), be sure enjoy your meal with one of beverage director Francesco Amodeo’s barrelaged cocktails.

777 I Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001

Chef/Owner Peter Smith simply can’t stand to be bored. At PS 7 Restaurant in DC’s China Town/Penn Quarter, Smith finds his laboratory for exuberantly creative “American Cultural Cuisine.” Largely known for its unique spin on all-American cuisine and innovative cocktails, be impressed with the simplest of items like tuna sliders, half smokes and a gin or vodka cocktail spruced up with jalapeno tincture or kashmiri chiles. Smith’s award-winning half smokes are not your typical smoked hot dogs. The generous housemade frankfurters are served with a white veal chili, aged cheddar cheese, chives, and spicy dijon mustard.

Desserts are not to be missed. Pastry Chef Lauren Whitledge (formerly of DC Coast) brings wildly creative and dangerously good desserts like the Pull-Apart Pork Sticky Bun and boozy snow cones (think slushy frozen daiquiris).

1101 Pennsylvania Avenue NW #1
Washington, DC 20004

Fogo de Chao brings that “gaucho” spirit (i.e. South-American cowboy) to guy’s night. When you hear all-you-can-eatsteak, you may not automatically think of high-quality food and fine-dining level service, but Fogo de Chao stumps its diners in every way. The Brazilian churrascaria in the heart of Penn Quarter is an authentic steakhouse that originated in Brazil over 30 years ago.

With over a dozen locations in the U.S., Fogo de Chao gives off no chain-restaurant vibe but serves up an abundance of food and a welcoming, personal experience. Chefs carve 15 different cuts of meat tableside and make sure their diners don’t walk away hungry or unhappy. The prix-fixe menu includes beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and sausage. Walk away full and happy after plates of juicy sirloin and Brazilian side dishes, not to mention a gourmet salad bar with more than 30 items to choose from.

Startup America

Posted on 01. May, 2012 by in LIFESTYLE


During January of last year, President Obama issued a call to action by launching a White House initiative designed to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate entrepreneurship. The Startup America Partnership is an intentional economic reboot to improve startups’ success rate and accelerate job creation.

Some of our area’s heaviest hitters have accepted the challenge to develop a public/ private program to fulfill the President’s vision. The program’s initiatives include improving access to capital, expanding education and mentorship programs for entrepreneurs, commercializing federally funded research and development initiatives, identifying and eliminating impediments to growth, and facilitating collaboration between large and small companies Combined, these programs provide the resources needed to amplify a startup’s potential at optimal points in its lifecycle.

Last year Startup America Partnership’s Chairman, Steve Case (co-founder of AOL) and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Case (co-founder of Priceline) worked with key members of their team to thoroughly understand the challenges faced by small companies across the nation. Th is research led to tightly defined target markets and value propositions. Subsequently, the Startup America Partnership team built an infrastructure to match resources with needs and establish business connections that small companies could not make for themselves. According to Donna Harris, Managing Director, Startup Regions, the United States has not previously captured key performance metrics for young, growing companies. The Startup America Partnership will begin filling in much needed data to help the U.S.

deliberately improve its economic condition. Th e primary objective for 2012 is to attract 100,000 member companies. So far, 6,000 companies have been qualified. To be eligible for membership, a company must be for profit and have either a founding date of 2006 or later and at least two founders or employees, or a founding date of 2001 or later and at least six founders or employees.

Why are the White House and the Startup America Partnership so interested in supporting this particular business demographic? Small businesses have created 40 million jobs since the early 80s.

In fact, research shows that young, high– growth companies have accounted for all net employment gains over the past 30 years. Alarmingly, the new startup rate has dropped by 23% since 2007. Th e Startup America Partnership is geared toward reenergizing this vital economic engine.

Per Harris, 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years. It follows that the strategies used to accelerate job growth would diff er from those that would improve the success rates of earlier stage companies. Resources have been developed to support three distinct inflection points in an early stage company’s lifecycle: Startup, rampup and speedup.

While entrepreneurs at the idea stage do not qualify for membership, they can search the Startup America Partnership directory to fi nd service providers, events and other information that will help them pre-launch. Narrowing the scope of the problems solved to a very specific target markets helps ensure that program resources are applied as intended.


Harris views the Startup America Partnership as a vehicle to democratize the startup environment. She describes an infrastructure that supports rapidly growing businesses regardless of where they’re located. It’s not uncommon for D.C. area startups to seek West Coast funding. Specifically, Silicon Valley has established a reputation for its vibrant, entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem. Th at practice drains valuable resources from our local economy.

As a result, the Startup America Partnership plans to deliberately create entrepreneur-friendly infrastructure and networks in every state of the union. In fact, a grassroots movement led by local business leaders that supplements the Startup America Partnership has already begun. Startup Virginia and Startup DC kicked off their programs on January 31, 2012 to coincide with Startup America’s first anniversary. Th e Startup MD launch followed on March 30.

Mike Binko, President and CEO of kloudtrack®, and one of the Organizing Board members for Startup Maryland, notes that there are subtle diff erences between the regions. For example, Maryland has a greater variety of business categories and a high density of accelerators and incubators.

The Startup Maryland Board held town hall meetings to understand the regional nuances and designed a program to address local entrepreneurs’ most pressing challenges. Th e Startup Maryland launched with the four key initiatives: 1) resource mapping, 2) capital acquisition, 3) corporate and customer connectedness, and 4) awareness.

Yet the power of the Startup America Partnership comes from inclusion that spans state lines. Startup Maryland is interested in making connections with programs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware as those states’ programs come online. Closer to home, the interstate connections have been made by using FounderCorps as a connective tissue that binds Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

FounderCorps was a natural place to start a cross-jurisdictional grassroots movement. Led by Jonathan Aberman, FounderCorps is an established network of seasoned entrepreneurs from Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia that “promotes entrepreneurial development by actively partnering with existing organizations to create a supportive infrastructure for high growth entrepreneurship.” Aberman recruited Evan Burfield, Chairman and Founder of Synteractive™ Corporation, to spearhead Startup DC.

A discussion with Jonathan Aberman and Evan Burfield provides insight into the attributes that make the FounderCorps’ connection with the Startup America Partnership so valuable to the Metro DC area. Conversation flows easily as the two men talked about regional challenges and opportunities.

Aberman: “[FounderCorps is] in a position to basically provide the connective tissue so that the efforts work together.” Burfield: “Despite a bad economy, the region has done fairly well based on countercyclical spending by the Federal government. But the train is coming down the tracks. . . There’s going to be a lot of net job loss.”

Aberman: “I work with George Mason University on a program called the Mason Entrepreneurship Initiative. We’ve been working on strategically revamping the tech transfer office there. The leadership at the university sees the same thing. We’ve been very, very fortunate with our [local] economy without having planned what’s next. The idea is to provide as many paths as we can so that when the leaders in our community ask, ‘What should we do?’ there are a number of solution paths in front of them.”

Burfield: “The goal is not to count the number of startups and say, ‘oh good, there’s more.’ For me, what’s exciting about this is creating a system change. Right now you have pockets of vibrant communities doing their own thing and thinking that they’re not connected together. [This degree of disconnectedness means] they’re not working toward maximum efficiency for job growth in the region.”

Burfield is also quick to point out that the startup designation does not automatically signify technology. “It’s important to note that it’s Startup DC, not tech DC. There’s a great DC tech community that’s connecting people just doing tech. . . Our message is certainly technology has to be a part of [the equation] given the mix of talent in the region, but it isn’t about tech. [The Startup America Partnership] is about entrepreneurship, innovation.”


The system changes Burfield references entail a number of significant shifts in the way we approach technology commercialization, funding, and relationships between large and small businesses.

For example, the Metro DC business community holds the greatest brain trust in the country. The people who work at university and government labs have tremendous amounts of expertise with cutting edge R&D projects. Currently, that expertise remains trapped in organizational silos. Aberman is particularly excited by the opportunity to break through those silos. He believes that commercialization of advanced science and world-class technologies developed through federally funded initiatives can lead the way to significant job growth and economic revitalization. His aspiration to embed tech transfer as a natural part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem falls squarely in line with President Obama’s vision.

Successful tech transfer will generate a heightened merger and acquisition rate, which in turn will attract more venture capital to the area. Perhaps the system change will also create a new type of investor. Ten of the 15 wealthiest counties in the U.S. are located in Northern Virginia and Maryland. The outflow of technology from the public to the private sector and crowd sourcing platforms give the region’s affluent opportunities to invest in entrepreneurial ventures they may not have otherwise considered.

Another key ingredient to economic growth includes the formation of relationships between large business and small business. Burfield states, “For me, the major goal is when we have not just the attention of the large corporations in the region, but the active engagement and behavior changes to work more effectively with the startup community. That works to everyone’s benefit. We’re not going out and asking for handouts. The point is the startup community in this region can be tremendously beneficial, not just to the government but to all major industries that are based in the D.C. region.”

Just as mentor/protégé programs benefit both individuals, collaboration between large and small companies offer value to all participants. Buying locally from small businesses will generate much needed revenue for growth. Interacting with entrepreneurs will enable corporate America to view their businesses in a new light. Some of the greatest value will stem from the cross-pollination of ideas that build on the strengths, ingenuity, and creativity of each participating company.

Dan Johnson, attorney, state lobbyist, and entrepreneur had the following to say about his company’s membership in the program. “Startup America is not only a community, it’s a community supported by the President of the United States. It has been a nice psychological boost knowing that the President is rooting for me and that it’s important to the country.”

At the end of the day, whether your company is five days old or five years old, it’s time to get involved. Community involvement helps small business owners find the resources and support they need to achieve far greater results than trying to wing it on their own.