Sunday, May 31, 2009

NRG expands in Alexandria, Va.

The neighborhood just grew for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG).

Barbara Maxwell, at Alexandria City Buzz Examiner, has reported that

It has been suggested that a local company that owns several restaurants such as Rustico will be purchasing the building and opening a new restaurant later on this summer. Zagat Buzz in its most recent online issue, that a new restaurant, called Columbia Firehouse will be taking the place of the current Bookbinders.

Bookbinder's is was a steakhouse in the historic district of Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. In turn, Bookbinder's had replaced the long-established Portner's Restaurant.

And that restaurant had been named for what had once been the largest Pre-Prohibition brewery in the southeastern US: Robert Portner Brewing Company.

Physically extending in Alexandria, Virginia, over four blocks on either side of Pendleton Street between North St. Asaph and North Washington streets, the Portner brewery was one of the first US breweries to use refrigeration and one of the to refrigerate its railroad cars. Its network of railroad delivery rivaled that of Anheuser-Busch. Poised for dominance, the brewery suffered from family squabbling and never re-opened after Prohibition.Portner's Brewing Company
Back to Columbia Firehouse:

The purchase of Bookbinder's now brings NRG's ownership to 7 restaurants and shops in Arlington and Alexandria, two suburbs of Washington, D.C. The Examiner continues:
Columbia Firehouse will be serving an affordable, casual menu on the main floor, while the upstairs will be a more traditionally focused steak and chophouse.

The name, by the way, is a
tribute to what the building housed more than a century ago, says Michael Babin, president of the group.

Planting a Steak in Old Town Going out Gurus
Renovations are expected to take 3 weeks and are reported to include expansion of the draught beer system and selection.

Still on tap for NRG is Birch and Barley/Churchkey, a beer-centric restaurant and taproom, slated to open in Washington, D.C. in late 2009.

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