By JULIA HOLMES
The property at 409 William St. has been a revolving door for new restaurants the past few years, but on Jan. 17 the American eatery Longstreet’s opened for business, and manager Dave Hanlon doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.
Owner Michael Beaton and Hanlon signed a five-year lease on the building, which despite additional incentives from the city of Fredericksburg, could be seen as a large risk, considering the short operating times of both University Café and Las Palmas Café, which occupied the space previously.
“I have a five year lease with a five year extension. So there’s no downside. [Longstreet’s] could be here as long as ten years,” said Hanlon.
According to Hanlon, they have worked hard to set Longstreet’s apart from the previous tenants.
“We put a lot more money into the build out and the interior of the building to give it character and personality and to break up the room a bit,” he said.
The interior is sleek and welcoming with coordinating red, black and gray décor and furniture, illustrating the new restaurant owners’ attempts to stand out among the more casual establishments located downtown that also cater to students.
“[The menu] was written very strongly in line with the students,” said Hanlon, referencing the wide variety of appetizers, flatbread pizzas, salads and sandwiches Longstreet’s offers. “We placed our menu at a price point that we thought would be comfortable for students.”
Appetizers, which make up most of the menu, cost between $5.99 to $9.99 and most of the sandwiches and burgers fall in the $6 to $10 price range. There are also desserts, soups and children’s options on the menu.
The restaurant has a full-service bar with daily drink specials and happy hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Hanlon said they made the decision to feature primarily appetizers on the menu so students could snack throughout the day, between classes and into the evening. Longstreet’s is open until 1 a.m. each night and switches to a late night menu after 10 p.m., which consists of appetizers and flatbread pizza selections.
Everything on the menu is made from scratch, with an emphasis on using organic and local ingredients whenever possible, according to Hanlon. The restaurant’s meat, for instance, is purchased right next door at the Old Towne Butcher.
Additionally, the restaurant offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan-friendly selections.
“75 percent of the menu could be vegan [upon request],” said Hanlon.
Longstreet’s is more than a restaurant and bar, though, as there are also a variety of entertainment options for patrons to enjoy while they eat, drink and socialize. The restaurant has six televisions, six arcade games, including Pacman and Crazy Taxi, and four pool tables.
This interesting new restaurant certainly merits a visit, whether for hanging out and drinking with friends or enjoying a delicious meal. With any luck, UMW can help make sure Longstreet’s is able to extend its lease far past the five-year mark.