- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 1, 2006

A Massachusetts restaurant chain is hoping Leesburg, Va., is more than an average town.

Not Your Average Joe’s, a casual dining chain, is making its first foray outside its home state early next year with a restaurant in the Loudoun County town.

“We’ve been plugging away here in Massachusetts for a while,” said Steve Silverstein, founder and chief executive officer of the chain. “We have 13 restaurants up here with great success, and we’re running out of real estate.”

Mr. Silverstein plans to open 25 Washington-area restaurants in the next five years. Beyond Leesburg, Mr. Silverstein is looking in Alexandria and Ashburn and is contemplating a downtown site.

He plans to focus on the Washington and Boston markets before moving to other East Coast cities.

Not Your Average Joe’s was founded 12 years ago when Mr. Silverstein moved to the small town of Dartmouth, Mass., from New York and couldn’t find “city food” there.

“There was just nothing there. I don’t want to knock them, but it was all the national brands,” he said. “You had to drive to Providence [R.I.] or Boston [for a good restaurant]. So we thought, why don’t we just do one?”

Not Your Average Joe’s, which got its name from Mr. Silverstein’s hope that his restaurants would be different from typical neighborhood restaurants, serves American cuisine such as chicken, seafood, steaks and sandwiches.

“Our competitive advantage is that we have made from scratch food at casual dining prices,” he said. “Our food looks like, tastes like, smells like chef-driven food.”

Fright Festturns family-friendly

Six Flags America continues the company’s push away from teens and toward families during Fright Fest, the amusement park’s annual Halloween festival, which starts Saturday. This year, it is focusing on three new singing and dancing shows: “Disco Inferno,” “Dead Man’s Party” and “Monster Mash Bash,” which are not intended to be as scary as its traditional haunted houses.

Now open …

cScott Thiell and Roger Carlson have formed First Retail Partners, a retail real-estate brokerage in the District. Mr. Thiell and Mr. Carlson were managing partner and partner, respectively, at Madison Retail Group since its formation in 1999 and have a combined 40 years of experience. They plan to work in the Washington and Baltimore areas.

• Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, a restaurant and bar that brews its own beer, and First Watch, a national breakfast chain, are among the restaurants slated to open in Rockville Town Square.

The location marks Gordon Biersch’s third in the Washington area and First Watch’s fourth.

First Watch, a breakfast and lunch chain based in Bradenton, Fla., just opened its first Washington-area location in August in Fairfax. The chain’s management has announced plans to open 15 to 18 locations in the Washington area.

Other restaurants with signed leases at Rockville Town Square are seafood restaurant Stonefish Grill, Chinese restaurant Red Parrot, Tex-Mex restaurant Austin Grill, smoothie store Robeks and Jerry’s Subs and Pizza.

• Marshalls Inc., a discount clothing and accessories retailer, plans to open a Fredericksburg store Thursday.

Retail & Hospitality runs Mondays. Send news to Jen Haberkorn at 202/636-4836 or [email protected]


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