Restaurateur and Crystal City resident first to sign Amazon-related lease

This article first appeared on WTOP.com on January 31, 2019

In 2020, Nick Freshman’s Mothersauce Partners restaurant group will open a new restaurant, bar and coffee shop just a short walk away from where Amazon’s new National Landing offices will be.

WASHINGTON — Arlington native, Crystal City resident and local restaurateur Nick Freshman is the first to jump on the Amazon HQ2 bandwagon.

Freshman’s Mothersauce Partners restaurant group — whose restaurants include The Eleanor and Takoma Beverage Company — will open a new restaurant, bar and coffee shop at 2011 Crystal Drive called The Freshman in 2020. It will be a short walk away from where Amazon’s new National Landing offices will be, and will aim to keep its workers, and others in Crystal City, fed and caffeinated all day long and socializing into the night.

It is the first retail lease to be announced by developer and new Amazon landlord JBG Smithfollowing Amazon’s announcement to locate half of its HQ2 headquarters in National Landing, the name developers have given to parts of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard where Amazon operations will be located.

The Freshman will take up 3,400 square feet at the JBG Smith-owned 2011 Crystal Drive, with seating for 120 and an additional 50-person outdoor patio.

It will serve coffees, teas, cocktails, breakfast, lunch and dinner with fresh, local ingredients.

Freshman says the aim is to create not only a place where rushed office workers can grab a quick coffee and something to go, but also a place where people can linger during the day and into the night with a heavy cocktail focus and full-service bar — and to serve on weekends, something that Crystal City sorely lacks.

Freshman is enthusiastic about the opportunities.

“The enthusiasm is not only ours, but also the neighborhood’s. And I think it’s because this feels like the first of many really great changes to a neighborhood that has been underserved for a long time,” Freshman, who also co-owns Spider Kelly’s in Arlington, told WTOP.

He does not expect the gradual arrival of Amazon’s workforce to have a huge impact for businesses in Crystal City in the near term, but believes the Amazon effect has already helped Crystal City — an area hit hard by 2005’s Base Realignment and Closure relocations — in other ways.

“I think what it will do, and what it’s already doing, is turning a spotlight on our neighborhood and showing other companies and other people what kinds of opportunities there are here, and I think that’s great,” he said.

Amazon will initially lease office space on 18th Street South and South Bell Street, before taking more than 250,000 square feet at JBG Smith’s 1770 Crystal Drive next year.

While Amazon promises 25,000 jobs for the Northern Virginia region over the course of the next 12 years, the ramp-up will start with a few hundred jobs this year and begin growing in 2020.

Mothersauce Partners Signs Lease for New Café in Arlington, Va.

This article first appeared in the Commercial Observer on January 30, 2019

Mothersauce Partners has signed a lease for 3,400 square feet at 2011 Crystal Drive in Arlington, Va. for a new café called The Freshman, according to a press release from landlord JBG Smith.

Mothersauce Partners is the brand behind bowling lounge and bar The Eleanor and neighborhood café  Takoma Beverage Company, both located in D.C. The Freshman, which will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner along with coffee, tea and cocktails, is slated to open in 2020, according to the release. It will seat 120 people inside and 50 diners on an outdoor patio.

The Freshman is the first retail lease to be announced by JBG Smith following Amazon’s selection of the National Landing neighborhood for one of its two new headquarters. The Amazon lease was the impetus for The Freshman’s location.

Mothersauce Partners Founder Nick Freshman, an Arlington, Va.-native and National Landing resident, said in a prepared statement: “I’ve seen firsthand how much the neighborhood has changed over the years and I knew I wanted to be a part of the growth. When Amazon announced that they were coming to town, I knew that the opportunity to be part of this story was just too good to pass up.”

The café will be within walking distance of the tech giant’s campus.

In anticipation of Amazon, JBG Smith recently broke ground on a development in National Landing that will include 108,825 square feet of entertainment and retail space anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The project is expected to be completed in 2020. Amy Rice, a senior vice president at JBG Smith, said in prepared remarks that Mothersauce Partners’ deal “is a validation of our ongoing efforts to bring the best local and national brands to National Landing.”

A JBG Smith spokeswoman would not disclose the terms of the deal or the asking rent at 2011 Crystal Drive. It’s unclear if brokers were involved in the transaction.

Mothersauce Partners’ new concept to fuel Amazon employees with coffee and cocktails

This article first appeared in The Washington Business Journal on January 30, 2019

Hungry Amazon.com Inc. employees in Crystal City will have an all-day dining spot to frequent next year.

The Freshman will be serving up coffee, cocktails and more thanks to a new lease deal between JBG Smith Properties (NYSE: JBS) and restaurant operator Mothersauce Partners.

The 3,400-square-foot space will seat up to 120 people with an additional 50-person outdoor patio. The Freshman expects to open in 2020 at 2011 Crystal Drive, a block away from part of Amazon’s HQ2.

The company behind The Freshman is Mothersauce Partners, a restaurant advisory and investment firm. “When Amazon announced that they were coming to town, I knew that the opportunity to be a part of this story was just too good to pass up, especially considering this is my backyard,” said Mothersauce founder Nick Freshman in a release.

It is, no doubt, Freshman’s backyard. Mothersauce Partners is already operating popular establishments in the D.C. area, including The Eleanor, Spider Kelly‘s and Takoma Beverage Company. The Freshman will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner options along with coffee, teas and cocktails.

JBG Smith is also Amazon’s landlord in Crystal City. The neighborhood and several adjacent areas where Amazon is setting up shop have taken on the new name National Landing.

A New All-Day Cafe Just Signed a Lease Near Amazon’s HQ2 in Crystal City

This article first appeared in Eater DC on January 29, 2019

The Freshman will open in early 2020

The Amazon HQ2 effect has officially begun. A new all-day destination for coffee, food, and cocktails just signed a lease for a space in Crystal City, marking the first of many service establishments hungry to cash in on the tech giant’s plans to plant half of its new headquarters in Northern Virginia.

A cafe called the Freshman will slide into a 3,400-square-foot space formerly occupied by Noodles & Company in early 2020. The location (2011 Crystal Drive) sits a few blocks south of the Crystal City Metro.

Amazon announced its decision to split its mega HQ2 project between Crystal City and Long Islandin late 2018, and the Freshman is linked to a new initiative by developer JBG Smith to lure homegrown businesses to the area.

City officials in Arlington and Alexandria are attempting to completely rebrand the district surrounding HQ2 — including Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard — as “National Landing.” The hope is the new name will unify the neighborhoods, woo tenants, and help Crystal City drop its stale reputation.

The Freshman comes from Mothersauce Partners, the 3-year-old restaurant advisory and investment company behind NoMa’s adult arcade, The Eleanor, and Takoma Beverage Company.

Menu details at the Freshman are slim for now, with plans to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner made with local ingredients alongside tea, coffee, and cocktails. Detour Coffee in Arlington has a similar all-day setup, as does the Royal in Shaw.

Mothersauce founder Nick Freshman also co-owns Spider Kelly’s, a bar in Clarendon geared toward the neighborhood’s hard-partying crowd of young professionals.

Designed by D.C.’s Studio 3877 (Slipstream Navy Yard, Succotash Penn Quarter), The Freshman will sport 120 seats inside and a 50-seat outdoor patio.

Freshman says his namesake cafe will hope to make guests “feel at home in the morning with a cappuccino and in the evening with a Manhattan.” He adds “the best way to achieve that is simplicity of design.”

That can be a difficult vibe to execute correctly, he says, and he spent a year visiting all-day models across the U.S. to see what works and what doesn’t. He was especially impressed by spots in Austin and Nashville that sported a sense of approachability and effortlessness.

He wants the Freshman to stray from trends and instead adopt “timeless” features. Early ideas include contrasting concrete elements with natural wood, along with engaging local artists to create murals.

“I want to avoid a place that feels like the perfect stop for right now and then in two to five years it won’t look right,” Freshman says.

The full-service bar will likely open at 11 a.m. “We don’t judge,” he says.


National Landing Mothersauce Partners

The Freshman Is the First Local Restaurant Tapped for Amazon’s New Neighborhood

This article first appeared in The Washingtonian on January 29, 2019

The National Landing cafe will open in early 2020 with breakfast, lunch, and dinner

For the record, Nick Freshman planned to open his all-day dining spot The Freshman in Crystal City long before Amazon announced it would build a 25,000-person headquarters there. After all, Freshman lives and operates his restaurant consulting firm, Mothersauce Partners, in the neighborhood. But since the tech giant is coming, Freshman is “fully” in on the rebranding of the area as National Landing.

“The concept that we’ve created is something that I imagine will work well with a company like Amazon. But I also think it’s a concept that will work well with PBS, which is headquartered across the street, or Lockheed Martin,” says Freshman, who co-owns Spider Kelly’s in Clarendon and whose company Mothersauce Partners is behind The Eleanor and Takoma Beverage Company.

That concept—”a real third place,” as Freshman calls it—aims to offer something for everyone from morning through night. The menu specifics have yet to be worked out, but expect coffee, tea, and breakfast in the morning, quick lunch options, and cocktails with more composed dishes in the evenings. Unlike other coffee shops, The Freshman will have a full kitchen to make everything in-house with an emphasis on local and health-conscious ingredients.

The restaurant, located in a former Noodles & Company, will be totally transformed with 120 seats inside and an additional 50 outside. The place is expected to open in early 2020.

“This is kind of an undervalued area,” Freshman says. “The reason why Amazon would want to be here has some parallels to why we want to be here, why I’m already here, and why all of that coming together is what’s going to completely turn it around down here.”

The Freshman. 2011 Crystal Drive, Arlington.