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An Early Look at Society Fair (Pictures)
The Eat Good Food Group opens a foodie wonderland—featuring a gourmet market, a coffee shop, and a wine bar—in Alexandria.
A barista at the Society Fair coffee bar and a selection of oils and vinegars in the adjoining market. Photographs by Erik Uecke.
Chefs are far more forthcoming these days about their secret ingredients and their pantry staples, but chef Cathal Armstrong and his Eat Good Food Group team (Restaurant Eve, the Majestic, Virtue Feed & Grain, PX, Eamonn’s) are taking it one step further with Society Fair in Alexandria, a butchery, boulangerie, market, wine bar, and demo space where you can find all of the chef’s favorite stuff. Also on display: products made by Eat Good staff, such as PX mixologist Todd Thrasher’s cocktail onions and tonic base.
Boutique touches—chandeliers, fresh-cut flowers, and splashy royal purple walls—outfit the gourmet market, where shelves are stocked with an assortment of items chef Armstrong and his crew rely on in the restaurants. Think pricey-yet-sublime Manni finishing oils, Devi loose-leaf teas, and Randall Lineback beef from Virginia. Prepared foodstuffs include house-made yogurts, fresh salad dressings, pasta sauces, creamy mac and cheese, and Restaurant Eve’s birthday cakes. In the butchery: Polyface farm chickens, wild boar, sausages, and other meaty treats to take home alongside a seasonally rotating selection of ten sandwiches. There’s a section in the refrigerator case devoted to drink bases for fresh-made tonic water (you’ll have to add the booze and bubbles), and popular cocktails like the yuzu-flavored “Eamonn’s.”
After shopping, guests head to the communal-table-lined coffee bar, where they can grab an espresso drink made with Trickling Springs Creamery milk to enjoy with a lemon tart or other confection. There’s also an adjoining walk-in-only wine bar, featuring a menu of cheese, cured meats, and heartier sandwiches throughout the day, all of which can be washed down with Thrasher’s wine-themed cocktails. The bar is reservation-only Tuesday through Saturday; chef Trey Massey leads three-course-dinner cooking classes ($45 on weeknights; $55 on weekends) featuring ingredients from the market for dishes like roast chicken with pan gravy and apple pie with house-made crème fraîche. The 12 seats are booked through January; future openings will be listed on City Eats.