Great American's Going Italian in Fairfax
Patsy's is the name Great American Restaurants is considering for its 11th dining room in Northern Virginia next fall, and for the first time, the locally owned company is looking beyond the U.S. for inspiration. Italian cooking, including breads and pastas made in-house, will be the focus of the future menu, says Randy Norton, Great American's chief executive.
The 248-seat restaurant is expected to open next September at 11880 Grand Commons Ave. in Fairfax -- just a block away from Coastal Flats, one of the company's seafood establishments. (The proximity to one of his own was the primary reason Norton thought something completely different taste-wise was in order.)
Norton likes the double meaning behind the title he's mulling: Patsy is a nickname for Pasquale, and Patsy is also the name of Norton's wife (who has yet to agree to the idea of so much publicity), he reports.
The executive and his team have traveled to Boston, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia to get ideas for their next project. The restaurateur tells me that the intimate Mercato, a cash-only BYOB eatery in Philadelphia, left an especially strong impression on his group.
Developing an Italian accent isn't the company's only departure from the norm. Great American Restaurants typically hires from within its ranks; for Patsy's, the group is looking outside. "Ideally," says Norton, "we'd like to hire someone soon, and get them on board."
Do I hear the tap-tapping of fingers on keyboards polishing up resumes?
-- Tom Sietsema
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