If there’s one feature that has been appreciated above almost everyone else in the restaurant world over the past year, it’s the terrace. But long before COVID-19 was a glimmer on the horizon, Chadwicks owner Trae Lamond had a goal of such an improvement to The Strand’s well-known restaurant.
âWhen I took over in 2015, I dreamed of, ‘How can I compete with the outdoor space of all these other places?’ Lamond said. His musings ranged from rooftop catering to bridges to the rooftops of neighboring businesses, but in the end he knew the alleyway adjacent to the restaurant made the most sense.
A few adjustments later – the most important being a new location for the restaurant’s dumpsters – and Lamond was up and running. Soon he brought in a lawyer, architect and designer, making sure every aspect of the expansion was done correctly.
âI just have to make sure I get it right. It’s such an opportunity for Chadwicks, âhe said.
Once the plans were in place, the next step was to submit the proposal to the city, where it went through the Board of Architectural Review as well as the Planning Commission before landing on the city council file. As for the timing, Lamond said it couldn’t have gone easier.
âI think it could be kind of in the right place, at the right time, with COVID and looking to set up small businesses to be successfulâ¦ but a lot of credit goes to our current council and mayor because they want us to be successful, they want to prosper, âhe said.
Chadwicks has been approved for 80 new outdoor seating, but don’t expect the restaurant to start with that. Rather, Lamond wants to start in a manageable way, both to calmly climb into Chadwicks’ kitchen and to maximize guest enjoyment in the new space.
“Our kitchen is a bit small, so we don’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot by putting ourselves in a situation of failure,” he said. Expect nearly 50 seats available when the new space opens in a few months.
And with a brick patio and a steel balcony, “nobody can tell me it won’t be an improvement,” Lamond said. About 10 regular height tables will grace the patio, with several bar height tables hidden in the back and a small waiting station for easy staff access. And then there is the upper level.
âUpstairs is the balcony, which will hopefully have six double-decker tables, enough seating for 12 people,â Lamond said. âYou can admire right above Big Wheel Bikes in Waterfront Park, the city’s marina, (and) you can say hello to your friends on the rooftop of Misha’s cafe.â
Chadwicks’ new outdoor space is expected to be ready on September 13 – just in time for slightly more favorable weather in late summer and early fall.
âI am very grateful to everyone who brought us here,â said Lamond. âOne of my favorite things about (owning Chadwicks) is welcoming people and having the party. And I think it’s going to be a game-changer for us by providing something new and top notch.
Hope Nelson is the author of “Classic Restaurants of Alexandria” and owns the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email him anytime at [email protected]