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By George! It’s Cherry Challenge Time in Alexandria!

Alexandria’s 2020 “Cherry Challenge” Kicks-Off on January 26th. Local Alexandria Restaurants Compete with Cherry Menu Items.

Alexandria, VA – Alexandria’s annual “Cherry Challenge” culinary contest kicks off on January 26th with dozens of restaurants across the city competing to win by crafting their choice of a cherry-oriented appetizer, entrée, beverage, or dessert. The “Cherry Challenge” is the first event of Alexandria’s annual George Washington Birthday celebration that culminates with the nation’s original and largest Washington birthday parade on Monday, February 17th.

2019 George Washington Parade – from The Zebra Archives

“This unique event to helps generate buzz for Alexandria restaurants, boosts customer traffic and encourages chefs to get creative and excited about these special offerings” said Kristen Eastlick, co-chair of the 12th annual event. “The #GWCherryChallenge lets us offer a tasteful event that keeps George Washington’s memory alive in his hometown.”

2019 Winner Café 44’s Sakura Bellini

Last year’s winners included: Café 44 (44 Canal Center Plaza) for its Sakura Bellini (Beverage); Riverbend Bistro (7966 Fort Hunt Road) for its Cherry and Goat Cheese Flatbread (Appetizer); Lori’s Table (1028 King Street) Cherry Tree Panini (Entrée); Vaso’s Kitchen (1225 Powhatan Street) for its Cherry Cheesecake (Dessert). Honorable Mention winners included Taqueria el Poblano (2400 Mt. Vernon Avenue), Tempo Restaurant (4231 Duke Street) and Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub (713 King Street). More than 40 Alexandria restaurants participated in the 2019 contest.

2019  Winner – Vaso’s Kitchen’s “Cherry Cheesecake”

The Cherry Challenge begins on Sunday, January 26th and ends on February 9th. Diners are provided a ballot at each restaurant to rate the cherry dish or beverage they tasted. Completed ballots are deposited into a ballot box at each restaurant. Winning restaurants are invited to participate in the George Washington Birthday Parade.

“Restaurants have until Friday, January 24, to sign up as a participant. Just go to to register,” said Eastlick.

Judging is based on three criteria: taste, presentation, and creativity. Diners rate each item from one to three cherries for a maximum score of 9 on each ballot. Point totals for each dish are divided by the number of ballots to get the average score. The highest average in each category wins.

Patrons are encouraged to Tweet photos and descriptions of the cherry items they tasted by using the hashtag “#GWCherryChallenge” or by posting them to the George Washington Birthday Celebration’s Facebook page:

Participants in the 2020 #GWCherryChallenge….check back for more soon!

The George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee (GWBCC) is a city-appointed volunteer committee whose responsibility is to run each year’s birthday celebration that includes the parade and events all across the city. For more information and a schedule for this year’s events, please visit

Contributions to GWBCC are tax-deductible and essential to each year’s success.


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