Hungry? This New Book Explores Classic Restaurants of Alexandria

What's your favorite classic restaurant in the Port City?

Gadsby’s Tavern. (File photo)

Alexandria, VA – What’s your favorite classic restaurant in the Port City? Gadsby’s Tavern was a choice spot for our founding fathers in the 18th century, so it’s definitely one of the oldest. Don’t worry if you’re stumped for an answer, though, because an Alexandria writer has compiled the histories behind many of Alexandria’s classic restaurants.

In her new book, “Classic Restaurants of Alexandria,” author Hope Nelson talks about the legacies left by restaurants around the city, like Shuman’s Bakery – open only online, but never forgotten as the home of those famous jelly cakes.

“Since my husband and i moved to Alexandria more than 15 years ago, I have been fascinated by Alexandria restaurant history,” Nelson said. “The city’s history is rich in so many forms and fashions, and restaurants fall in line with that. When I found that there were no other books like this on the market, I knew i had to write one.”

Courtesy image

Nelson spent more than a year writing the book, and found out while researching that she didn’t know as much as she thought on the subject.

“One of the major unifying factors of the successful Alexandria restaurant scene is the personal touch,” she said. “People never forget how restaurants make you feel. Do you feel welcome, or appreciated, or like a member of the family? Those are the kinds of stories that I was looking forward to telling in my book. Through every one of these restaurants that I’ve written about, it’s kind of a family unit between the owners and workers of the restaurants and the patrons.

Nelson, who is a product manager for the Motley Fool, is also a food writer and holiday columnist for the Alexandria Gazette Packet, will hold a book signing at the Union Street Public House, 121 S. Union St., on Dec. 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Like to talk about food? Nelson will dive deep into restaurant memories from bygone eras and modern times.

The book covers the following restaurants: 

  • Gadsby’s Tavern 
  • Shuman’s Bakery
  • Portner’s
  • Royal Restaurant
  • Mount Vernon Inn 
  • Landini Brothers
  • Tiffany Tavern 
  • Chadwicks
  • Hard Times Cafe 
  • Southside 815
  • Union Street Public House 
  • Generous George’s Positive Pizza Place 
  • Yates Table Talk 
  • Burger Chef
  • Joe Theismann’s Restaurant
  • The Dairy Godmother
  • The Seaport Inn 
  • The Warehouse Bar and Grill 
  • Cedar Knoll Inn 
  • Beachcombers Restaurant 
  • Rt’s
  • The Fish Market 
  • The Wharf
  • La Trattoria 
  • Le Gaulois
  • Dishes of India 
  • Taqueria Poblano Chez Andree 
  • Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own
  • Misha’s
  • Cash Grocer
  • Market Square Farmers’ Market 
  • Bilbo Baggins