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Fill Your Bowl, Fill Your Heart

A Quartet of Local Potomac Restaurants Faces the Pandemic with Community Support, Great Food and Plenty of Holiday Cheer

Gregorio’s Trattoria

Everything about Gregorio’s Trattoria (in Cabin John Village and North Point Center in Reston) is about serving quality food and a diverse menu to local families and friends while supporting the local community. Greg Kahn, who co-owns the restaurant with his dad Donald, has been part of the Potomac community for over 40 years and earned the nickname “The Man behind the Meatballs” while building his restaurant’s reputation for quality comfort food served in a comfortable atmosphere at neighborhood prices.

Greg said, “I’m grateful to be able to live in the Potomac community where my wife and I are raising our three sons.”  As Greg continues to help raise his family and work alongside his partner and father, he knows how important it is for him to give back to the community. “In spite of the pandemic, I anticipate our restaurants will be central to family holiday celebrations,” he said. “Gregorio’s is ready to help celebrate by offering family-style meals, catering to your home or office, and a personal chef service.”

Loved and respected for their extensive Italian offerings, warm and friendly hospitality, and community involvement, Gregorio’s hosts fundraising events (referred to as FUNraising) for community groups, schools, and charities. “I am extremely proud of providing hundreds of meals to groups supporting and sending food feeding essential workers,” Greg explained. “During these unprecedented times, I am truly grateful - beyond words - for the support the community has given to the employees and families dependent upon Gregorio’s for income.”

Gregorio’s is preparing to open a new location at Sumner Place in Bethesda (Glen Echo area), where Greg looks forward to extending holiday cheer and continuing to support the community.

“We’re open 363 days a year for dining, pickup, delivery, catering and personal chef services, with alcohol also available: only closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day,” Greg said, as he added, “My family and I wish everyone a safe holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year.” www.gregoriostrattoria.com

Sprinkles

Sprinkles, the popular Potomac Village destination that’s part ice-cream shop, part bakery and part candy shop, is a feast of delightful scents, sights, and flavors year-round but perhaps especially in December.

Children who visit can choose popsicle sticks or a pinecone to decorate and bring back to the store. Hung on shelves, these hand-decorated baubles add a festive touch. The window on the front door sports a dazzling white wreath while cut-out snowflakes hang overhead and other surprises, such as wall-mounted skis, catch the eye. Courtney Spaeth, one of the owners of Sprinkles, and its CEO said, “We try to make it very beautiful and at the same time, we’re inclusive of Hanukkah. It’s always festive and fun and our windows are always beautiful and unusual.”

During this season at Sprinkles, pumpkin, peppermint and chocolate make their way into ice cream, Rice Krispy Treats, fudge, cocoa and more.  “Each winter, we sell Amish-made holiday pies delivered fresh daily including pecan, pumpkin, apple and mixed berry,” said Sharon Gubinsky, who is also an owner of Sprinkles. Shoppers will also find doggy bones, bowls and donuts decorated for the holidays and this year, Sprinkles has expanded its vegan offerings and added cold pressed juices to its menu. They’ve also added a 3D printer that prints frosting cake decorations in any shape from snowmen to Cinderella’s carriage and beyond.

Courtney’s husband, Jon Spaeth, is also an owner of Sprinkles, and the Spaeth’s daughter is one of the store managers. “She likes our fresh Rice Krispy treats,” Courtney said of her daughter, while the Spaeth’s adult son is partial to cold-brew Ceremony coffee in nitro cans, and another son, who’s only four, likes anything with sprinkles but especially sugar cones with ice cream, Courtney explained with a laugh. At home, the Spaeth family’s decorations include a ten-foot Christmas tree with a different theme each year.

The Spaeth family and the whole Sprinkles team remains committed to community outreach.  Courtney said, “We will always support Toys for Tots, we will always support local charities and we will continue to support wounded and disabled veterans.” www.sprinklespotomac.com

Hunter’s Bar and Grill

“The Berman family, along with the Hunter’s Bar and Grill staff would like to thank you for your continued support during the pandemic,” said brothers Fred and Murray Berman, who have owned the Potomac Village restaurant since 2002.

Hunter’s Bar and Grill offers a variety unlike most restaurants in the area and their menu varies, depending on the availability of fresh meat and seafood. In particular, every Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s, there will be specials (as there are nearly every day at Hunter’s Bar and Grill). This year’s holiday specials could include a fresh fish dish, prime rib and/or aged NY strip steak, or maybe lobster or oysters.

The restaurant is closed Christmas Day but is usually packed on Christmas Eve. “Because of the pandemic, we recommend reservations,” said Fred.

Murray added, “We are expecting to do a lot more takeout business this Christmas Eve and we’ll be prepared.” 

Throughout the holiday season, the restaurant will be decked out for Christmas and Hanukkah. Don’t miss the restaurant’s famous eggnog. “The recipe belongs to our mom, Julia,” said Fred.  

Murray and his wife, Sylvia celebrate Hanukkah with their kids and grandkids. Fred and his wife, Dora celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas with friends and family in their home. However, this year, their plans are uncertain due to the pandemic.

Despite the grim numbers of how many restaurants have not survived the pandemic, Fred said, “We haven’t missed one day of being open. Somehow, we survived. We appreciate our customers and we’re here for the community.” Fred and Murray’s community support includes donations to Adoptions Together, and many other organizations.

The brothers look forward to welcoming more dine-in customers as people feel more comfortable coming back inside. “We are following the CDC guidelines,” Murray said. “Our tables and booths are six feet apart and we are cleaning and sanitizing everything. We are doing everything we can do to make sure our customers and our staff are safe inside and on the patio, and we are wishing you a very happy and healthy holiday season.” www.huntersbarandgrill.com

Market at River Falls

This holiday season, and all year round, the Market at River Falls (next to Starbucks in the Potomac Village Shopping Center) offers fresh selections from local sources prepared in-house daily.

“We stay away from processed foods, any additives, chemicals, GMO, hormones or antibiotics. And, if you have a special need, call us, give us some notice, we will make it how you like it,” said Jim McWhorter who owns the store with his wife Yasmin Abadian who added, “Our food is wholesome, healthy and as fresh and unprocessed as possible and, most importantly, delicious.”

Jim and Yasmin’s own extended family includes people of many different cultures. “We are a true modern family, and so diverse,” said Yasmin who explained that the family celebrates many different cultural holidays including a traditional American Christmas. Customers of the Market at River Falls also represent diverse cultures and that’s reflected in the food selections, from special-order items to classic holiday favorites such as turkeys and roasts perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s. In fact, the Market offers a full menu specially created for Christmas, plus one for Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve. Each includes an extensive selection of appetizers, soups, entrees, side dishes and desserts.

“In some cases, we prepare a whole meal for customers,” said Jim. Shoppers are welcome to select just the items they need – such as the popular Amish-made pies and cheesecakes - or leave all the prep for a complete feast to the Market team. “We need 48 hours’ notice before pickup,” Jim added.

Jim and Yasmin’s community outreach includes their commitment to support local first responders and healthcare professionals through which they have delivered more than 5,000 high-quality meals. “Many of our customers have donated to this cause and we are extremely grateful,” said Yasmin.  

Jim added, “We thank everyone for their continued support and wish them a safe and peaceful new year.” www.marketriverfalls.com

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