When the Waterfront Market opens in Old Town Alexandria next week, it'll be the first time in quite awhile that people are coming for something other than a leisurely stroll along the Potomac.
The combination market and fast casual restaurant from the owner of Old Town's Bittersweet Cafe will offer retail sales of basic groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, beer and wine, as well as made-to-order sandwiches, salads, sushi and other foods.
When the weather is nice, customers will be able to enjoy their food or drinks on the dock overlooking the marina and river — something else that's never been done in Alexandria.
The market will also be the first tenant in the space at 7 King Street in ten years.
"In 1983, when Bittersweet opened on that side of King Street, it was considered kind of a pioneer," said owner Jody Manor during a preview of Waterfront Market Wednesday. "I think we're doing the same thing now but we're on the waterfront."
For years, the only restaurant on the waterfront has been the Chart House, a higher-end seafood chain. Now, the waterfront dining options will be rounded out by Waterfront Market and a restaurant and bar called Blackwall Hitch, which will eventually inhabit the old Torpedo Factory Food Pavilion.
The moves are just part of wide-ranging plans for redevelopment of Alexandria's waterfront, which will be largely transformed in the next few years. A new hotel is planned for the former Cummings warehouse site on Union Street, and several other waterfront parcels are part of a larger redevelopment strategy.
© 2013 American City Business Journals, Inc.