A lot of chefs talk a big game about opening an everyday “neighborhood restaurant” —and then go the opposite direction with things like super-pricey small plates. That’s not the case for chef Thomas Harvey, who is opening his first solo act, Harvey’s, in Falls Church in September. The all-day restaurant aims to please with breakfast sandwiches and La Colombe coffee for early birds, a casual counter-order system matched with a cozy dining room and a 70-seat patio for lounging, and a retail market stocked with local goods. The space takes over from Plaka Grill, which moved up the street.
Harvey’s resume includes high-end training with some of DC’s big names (Annabelle’s Frank Ruta, Fiola’s Fabio Trabocchi) and leading the kitchen at the meat-heavy Partisan restaurant in Penn Quarter. He spent the last four years as executive chef of Virginia-based Tuskie’s Restaurant Group, which operates fine dining rooms like Magnolias at the Mill in Purcellville and casual spots such as Fire Works Pizza in Arlington. The chef plans to pepper his varied experiences into the New American menu and market.
Mornings will start with customizable egg sandwiches on croissants, biscuits, or English muffins with toppings like smoked-tomato chutney or sage sausage. Lunchtime will bring hearty sandwiches like chicken or beef cheesesteaks with peppers, onions, mushrooms, and homemade beer cheese. Plates for lunch and dinner will run the gamut from pasta bolognese to fried chicken or cedar-plank salmon with summer succotash. Harvey also plans to pull from his Scotch-Irish family recipes. He’s planning a version of toad in the hole—sausages in Yokshire-pudding batter—on a stick, and is cribbing his wife’s family recipe for Russian honey cake.
The market will be small but stocked with plenty for home cooks—ready-heat items, local produce, and meats from Virginia farms Seven Hills and Sylvanaqua. Though the restaurant will serve beer and wine—but no liquor—Harvey plans to offer cocktail mixes for stirring up drinks at home.
Currently, the space is being revamped with a casual, rustic look and murals from local artists on the walls.
“I like collaborating and working with people, and neighborhood means everyone coming together,” Harvey says.
Harvey’s. 513 W. Broad St., in Falls Church