The ribbon-cutting with (from left) City Councilmen Jon Stehle, Michael DeMarco, Jeff Greenfield and Dan Drummond, Mayor David Meyer (with scissors), Bill and Susie Hamrock, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) and Economic Development Authority Chairman Michael O’Brien.
Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.
“This is an iconic place in the City and represents a new evolution in our restaurant business.” — Fairfax Mayor David Meyer
When Bill Hamrock bought the restaurant Choices by Shawn last summer, he initially kept its name. But as the chef/owner, he’s proud of what his restaurant at 3950 Chain Bridge Road has to offer. So he changed its name to his and, on Sept. 7, held a gala grand opening and ribbon-cutting in celebration.
“This is a great event for the community and the City,” said Fairfax Mayor David Meyer. “This is an iconic place in the City and represents a new evolution in our restaurant business. We’re getting a reputation as a destination for high-quality dining, and this will up the game for everybody.”
THE RESTAURANT offers new American cuisine. “We’re open to anything because everybody in America emigrated from somewhere else,” explained Hamrock. “Our menu changes seasonally, plus we have weekly specials for lunch and dinner. And we excel at small-group, private dinners for 10-30 people.”
What makes Hamrock’s stand out, he said, are its many gluten-free items, including crab cakes and fried chicken. “Our appetizers are also special,” he said. “We offer deviled eggs with candied bacon and chipotle cream, duck nachos with a hoisin barbecue glaze, and crispy Brussels sprouts with pork-belly croutons.”
Many Southern specialties are on the menu, including shrimp and grits. Another popular dish is saffron risotto with crab-stuffed shrimp and lobster-ginger sauce. And a new addition is a grilled, marinated pork chop with Dijon cream sauce. Entrees generally run from $14-$24.
Some vegetarian dishes are also on the menu, including vegetable risotto and Moroccan chickpeas with crispy tofu and baby eggplant. For dessert, diners may enjoy decadent treats such as crème brulee, limoncello cake, caramel apple cobbler and chocolate delight cake.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hamrock honed his cooking skills at a small, hotel restaurant outside Zurich, Switzerland for one-and-one-half years. And now, local residents get to benefit from his talent. “There are only a couple chef/owner restaurants in this City, and I’m always in the kitchen cooking,” he said.
The main dining room has a fireplace and seats 24, and the two private dining rooms – one of which also has a fireplace – seat 38 people total. And there’s a bar, as well. Furthermore, said Hamrock, “We’re unique – there’s no restaurant like us in Fairfax City or County. We’re in a house built in 1840 and it has a lot of history.”
Indeed, the house was once home to R. Walton Moore, a congressman and State Department counselor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR was his friend and had either lunch or afternoon tea on the home’s porch. President William Howard Taft came here, too, for a garden party after he left office.
City officials, residents, friends, local dignitaries and even former Washington Redskin Rick “Doc” Walker were among the 125 or so people attending the recent grand opening. A tight end, Walker played for the Redskins in the 1980s and contributed to the team’s victory in Super Bowl XVII.
“It’s great to be home again,” said Walker to the group of well-wishers gathered on the restaurant’s porch. “I lived here for a decade, and this community means a lot to me. I can’t wait to come here to Hamrock’s as often as possible. Hail to the Redskins!”
ALSO PLEASED with the restaurant’s success is City Economic Development Director Chris Bruno. “This adds to our strong identity as a dining epicenter for the region,” he said. “We know now that people are coming here from Arlington, Alexandria, Maryland and [Washington], D.C.”
“And it’s this type of business that helps us attract the dynamic vibrancy we’re trying to build for the City,” he continued. “This event is proof that there’s interest in the City and in fun, quality, food establishments in the City of Fairfax.”