JR’s Stockyards Inn at Tysons Corner is poised to celebrate a milestone most restaurants only dream about. The steakhouse will be celebrating its 30th anniversary on April 5 with a gala event featuring one of its favorite longtime customers, Dorothy Walton. The event is doing double duty, as it will also serve as Walton’s 101st birthday party.
“Thirty years is a big thing. It’s normally 30 minutes,” said owner Jim Wordsworth. He credits JR’s longevity to consistency of quality and service. “Consistency leads to a good reputation, and I’ve got a number of 25 years staff here,” said Wordsworth.
The restaurant has remained unchanged, as Tysons Corner has grown out and expanded around the ranch-style restaurant. “In a two-year period, we’ve had five national chains move in within a few blocks of us. Some people think that would be bad, but I say we are lucky. We’ve only had about a 5-percent loss. We owe that to a high repeat business. People came here when they were dating, they came here when they got married, and now they are bringing their kids in,” said Wordsworth.
“JR’s has a lot of very loyal customers, customers you could set your watch by,” said Samantha Fisher, who was once a waitress at JR’s. “They have the business that they do because they know how to cut a steak. They have an excellent butcher. Most people don’t realize how important that is, but JR’s does. Customer love the marinated sirloin. It’s a secret recipe that keeps people coming back,” said Fisher.
“The food is good. It’s always been good. And it’s convenient. We can shop at Tysons and then just go across the street for a nice meal,” said diner Allison Ray.
Honoring Walton’s 101st birthday came naturally when Wordsworth realize that she, like himself, was an avid supporter of Claude Moore Colonial Farms in McLean. Wordsworth is donating 30 percent of the proceeds from the April 5 celebration to Claude Moore Colonial Farms.
“The donations from that evening will be made in Dorothy’s name,” said Wordsworth. “It’s going to be an up thing. She’s going to stay for the entire evening and is going to visit each and every table. Everyone’s going to think it’s so novel.”
People who know Walton describe her as “a real spark plug” who has ageless energy. “She will be there through the evening. It’s a great chance for people to meet her and get to know her,” said Wordsworth.
Several local celebrities have already made reservations to attend the evening honoring the restaurant and Walton. Ken Starr, who led the investigation into the Bill Clinton/ Monica Lewinski scandal, will attend with his wife. Both are restaurant regulars and supporters of Claude Moore Colonial Farm.
The celebration will include an appetizer buffet as well as a sit-down dinner and run from 5:30-9:30 in the evening.
“It’s wonderful to go to something that’s not political and where no one wants money from you. This is such a political season, it’s nice to attend an evening like this,” said Wordsworth.