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Arlington Eamonn’s and TNT Bar Are in Soft Opening. Should You Go?

And what does “soft opening” mean, exactly?

A codwich from the original Eamonn’s. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

A new location of fish and chips spot Eamonn’s, along with the much-anticipated TNT Bar, started quietly serving this week at 2413 Columbia Pike in Arlington. These are of course the latest offerings from EatGoodFood Group, the entity that’s also behind Restaurant Eve, The Majestic, Society Fair, Virtue Feed & Grain, and PX—the famous speakeasy run by barman Todd Thrasher. The legend of Thrasher has created quite a buzz around TNT, where concoctions include original elixirs and recipes from other bar masters around the country.

But while there may be food and drink moving from kitchen and bar to tables at the new Penrose Square spots, they’re not officially open for business. So should you go tonight for dinner? “The word soft means be easy, gentle,” part-owner Meshelle Armstrong wrote to us in an e-mail. “When we’re in soft opening mode, and I can only speak for our group, we put the word out to friends and family to come on in and give us feedback—gently.”

At Eamonn’s and TNT, staff are letting neighborhood people in, but asking everyone to “please leave all mouth weapons at the door. If you want to complain, come back later.”

A lot of restaurants run mock services before opening—offering free or discounted meals to friends and family—but Armstrong says EatGoodFood prefers to just work through those tough early days. “Running Soft means we have the opportunity to see it all play out but for real. You realize things: the fryers take way more time to warm up, the [credit card] system is programmed all wrong.” The trial-by-fire approach doesn’t end with the soft opening. Armstrong says it is the restaurant group’s tradition to have their official opening on a Friday. “If we can handle the worst, every day only gets better.”

There are currently three Yelp reviews of the new Eamonn’s, all of them positive. Eamonn’s and TNT Bar open officially this Friday at 5.

Eamonn’s and TNT Bar, 2413 Columbia Pike, Arlington, 703-920-0315;

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