More Restaurants, Bars Coming to Amazon’s HQ2
Toby's Ice Cream and Taqueria Xochi are among more than two dozen businesses opening this summer at Metropolitan Park and the revamped Crystal City Water Park.
Westover scoop shop Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream and Reston gastropub Makers Union are among the latest local eateries coming to National Landing’s Metropolitan Park.
Those brands—along with the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, D.C.-based Taqueria Xochi and Old Town Alexandria bodega Mae’s Market and Cafe—complete a roster of 14 restaurants and retailers slated to fill the mixed-use complex when it opens this summer. Many of the tenants are small, locally owned businesses and women- and minority-owned brands.
They join previously announced tenants including Good Company Doughnuts & Cafe, Peruvian Brothers and Conte’s Bike Shop.
A half-mile southeast of Met Park, a revamped Crystal City Water Park will introduce nine additional dining concepts in a sort-of outdoor food hall, as well as a pizzeria and a full-service restaurant.
These local business expansions are all part of the frenzy of development underway at Amazon’s HQ2, a neighborhood overhaul that includes 8 million square feet of contemporary office space, 7,900 additional apartments and 505,000 square feet of new retail.
Here’s a peek at what’s coming:
Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream
Best of Arlington winner Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream, which enjoys a steady following in Westover and Vienna, will open its third storefront in Met Park this summer. Expect flavors such as coffee Oreo and black raspberry and “sinfully delicious sundaes” from a sweets shop that is actively engaged in community events and charities.
“We are ingrained in the Arlington community,” says Toby Bantug, who co-owns the creamery with his wife, Monina. “When we heard that Met Park’s focus was going to be on giving local community businesses expansion opportunities, we knew it aligned with our philosophy.”
Reston gastropub Makers Union has been dishing out savory goodness like Thai she crab soup and Nashville hot chicken tenders since 2020, offering weekend brunch, weekday happy hours and live music on Thursday and Friday nights. The Met Park location will be its first spinoff.
“[Makers Union] is your place to watch the game and enjoy a beer at the bar or catch up on work with a coffee in the lounge,” reads the pub’s website, “your place to meet up with your work crew during the week or brunch with your BFFs on the weekend.”
Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington
Founded in 1974 and a mainstay in Virginia Square for decades, the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington (formerly Arlington Arts Center) is expanding its mission to National Landing with Innovation Studio, an interactive space that will showcase unique works and regional artists.
“When the organization was established, one of MoCA Arlington’s founding principles was to connect the community to contemporary art and artists,” executive director Catherine Anchin said in a release. “This continues to be the mission that guides us today. Next year, we’ll celebrate our 50th anniversary, and our new location in Met Park will help us reach more of the county’s residents and visitors, providing a venue to celebrate the energy and creativity of both artists and the community.”
Led by chef Teresa Padilla and Geraldine Mendoza, both veterans of Jose Andres’ Think Food Group, fast-casual Taqueria Xochi opened its first eatery in 2020 with Puebla-style Mexican sandwiches (cemitas), birria, tacos and other Mexican street foods.
“Our dream when we opened the first Taqueria Xochi location was to bring authentic Mexican food to the D.C. area,” Padilla said in a release. “Our tacos, how they are served, the simple ingredients, and the bold flavors are the same you would find on a trip to Mexico. To launch this second location at Amazon’s HQ2 is an expansion of that dream.”
Mae’s Market and Cafe
This Old town bistro and bodega, named for chef/owner Nicole Jones’ mother, is a destination for quiche, avo toast, raisin coffee cake and other cafe-style bites. The eatery also offers “Virginia’s Darling” dinner parties most nights of the week.
At Met Park, Jones plans to offer a similarly styled market, as well as catering services. “I’m really excited about Amazon’s commitment to including women and minority-owned businesses in Met Park. That approach is very much in line with what our core values are as a company,” she says. “I’m in the neighborhood business. To be able to extend those values into Arlington from Alexandria, and carry that neighborly experience feels pretty meaningful.”
Not far from Met Park, nearly a dozen eateries will occupy a revamped Crystal City Water Park, serving food and drinks from a series of 300-square-foot kiosks. Among them: cafe and wine bar Brij, Bubbie’s Plant Burgers, Cracked Eggery, South Indian street food outpost DC Dosa, Dolci Gelati, Falafel Inc., PhoWheels, Tiki Thai and fried chicken hotspot Queen Mother’s.
The park’s dining options will also include a New York-style pizzeria, Crush Pizza, and a full-service restaurant called Water Bar whose focal point is a terrace abutting a water feature.