The Freshman Is the First Local Restaurant Tapped for Amazon’s New Neighborhood

The National Landing cafe will open in early 2020 with breakfast, lunch, and dinner

A rendering of the future National Landing, courtesy of JBG Smith.

For the record, Nick Freshman planned to open his all-day dining spot The Freshman in Crystal City long before Amazon announced it would build a 25,000-person headquarters there. After all, Freshman lives and operates his restaurant consulting firm, Mothersauce Partners, in the neighborhood. But since the tech giant is coming, Freshman is “fully” in on the rebranding of the area as National Landing.

“The concept that we’ve created is something that I imagine will work well with a company like Amazon. But I also think it’s a concept that will work well with PBS, which is headquartered across the street, or Lockheed Martin,” says Freshman, who co-owns Spider Kelly’s in Clarendon and whose company Mothersauce Partners is behind The Eleanor and Takoma Beverage Company.

That concept—”a real third place,” as Freshman calls it—aims to offer something for everyone from morning through night. The menu specifics have yet to be worked out, but expect coffee, tea, and breakfast in the morning, quick lunch options, and cocktails with more composed dishes in the evenings. Unlike other coffee shops, The Freshman will have a full kitchen to make everything in-house with an emphasis on local and health-conscious ingredients.

The restaurant, located in a former Noodles & Company, will be totally transformed with 120 seats inside and an additional 50 outside. The place is expected to open in early 2020.

“This is kind of an undervalued area,” Freshman says. “The reason why Amazon would want to be here has some parallels to why we want to be here, why I’m already here, and why all of that coming together is what’s going to completely turn it around down here.”

The Freshman. 2011 Crystal Drive, Arlington. 

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.