Taste of F.C. Builds on Restaurant Boom

Buoyed by the news that revenues from the meals tax in the City of Falls Church was up dramatically through June, despite poor economic times, participating restaurants in the fourth annual Taste of Falls Church are expecting a record turnout this Saturday in the parking lot behind City Hall.TOFC2008logo.jpg

The last two years, the event has been wedded to the City’s annual Fall Festival, being held for the 33rd straight year this Saturday, and the fun starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m.

A special section of the News-Press is devoted to the Taste of Falls Church in this edition.

Participating restaurants will be Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, Argia’s, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Clare and Don’s Beach Shack, Dogwood Tavern, Entre Vous, Hoang’s Grill and Sushi Bar, Ireland’s Four Provinces, La Caraquena, Ledo Pizza Restaurant, Mary’s Café and Catering, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Natalia’s Elegant Creations Pastry Shop and Café, Not Your Average Joe’s and Robeks.

Each will offer samples of their best cuisine for $3 tickets that will be sold on site, and 10 tickets can be bought for $25. Four judges, all local Falls Church celebrities, will sample everything and cast their ballots for the top entry that will be reported next week.

Mayor Robin Gardner, Commissioner of the Revenue Tom Clinton, Treasurer Cathy Kaye and Rob Meeks, chair of the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee, have been designated as judges.

Live entertainment, amusement rides, pony rides, crafters, businesses, civic organizations – all standard fare for the annual Fall Festival – will be interwoven with the Taste of Falls Church component to make it a fun experience for the whole family. A children’s activity tent will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Candidates in the November general election can be expected to make appearances at the booths of the City’s Democratic and Republican committees, although no firm commitments had been announced as of press time.

Around the corner, in its usual location in the front parking lot at City Hall, the weekly Farmer’s Market will be set up in the morning.

The festival and Taste of Falls Church should enjoy an upbeat atmosphere, as City officials and citizens were treated to good news from the City’s Chief Financial Officer John Tuohy, as reported in last week’s News-Press.

Touhy reported that, in a final wrap-up of the fiscal year ending June 30, revenues from the meals tax was $595,000 above the projected total for the year, the brightest news in his report.

Also good news was the fact that residential real estate tax revenues were close to break-even with expectations, a far cry from dismal reports from nearby jurisdictions like Fairfax and Prince William counties.

But the meals’ tax outcome ran sharply counter to regional trends, and results for other retail components of the City’s and regional economies.

New restaurants added to the City’s roster in recent years have contributed, along with four years of Taste of Falls Church events, to a growing reputation of Falls Church as a dining and entertainment destination, according to some City officials.

The State Theatre, a region-wide live music venue, is the cornerstone of the developing new reputation, it was noted, along with regular live music at establishments like Ireland’s Four Provinces, the Dogwood Tavern and Bangkok Blues.

The cuisine at the Pilin Thai restaurant, Haandi Indian restaurant, Sweet Rice, and Houng’s have been acclaimed in specialty publications regionally, and Anthony’s Restaurant has earned its reputation as a family destination for more than three decades.

The arrival of three more new restaurants in the near future will only deepen the City’s reputation as a destination, adding to the outside visitors spending their dollars to contribute to the tax base here.

Not Your Average Joe’s, a successful Boston-based chain that has a franchise in Loudoun County, will be opening soon on W. Broad, and in anticipation has entered the Taste of Falls Church on Saturday. Foster’s Grill and a gourmet pizza restaurant are also in the process of moving into town.