Cherries, George Washington, and Today's Alexandria

Cherries, George Washington, and Today's Alexandria

Homemade Cherry Clafoutis at the Warehouse Bar & Grill

Homemade Cherry Clafoutis at the Warehouse Bar & Grill


The Margarita Cereza at Taqueria Poblano

Here are the 2017 Cherry Challenge participants:

219 Restaurant

Bastille Brasserie & Bar

Blackwall Hitch


Cedar Knoll


Chart House

Cheesetique Del Ray

Columbia Firehouse

Del Ray Café

Dishes of India

DRP Belle Haven

Evening Star

FireFlies Bar & Restaurant

Grape + Bean (Old Town and Rosemont)

Hank's Oyster Bar

Hank's Pasta Bar

Hard Times Café

Haute Dogs & Fries

Hen Quarter - Old Town

Junction Bakery & Bistro

King Street Blues

Mackie's Bar and Grill

Mason Social

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub

Northside 10

River Bend Bistro

Sonoma Cellars

Taqueria Poblano

Taverna Cretekou

Tempo Restaurant

The Italian Place of Old Town

The Majestic

Trattoria Da Franco

Union Street Public House

Vaso's Kitchen

Virtue Feed & Grain

Vola's Dockside Grill and the Hi-Tide Lounge

Warehouse Bar & Grill

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee's February events. For more information, visit

Ask most people what they know about George Washington, and his confession after chopping down the cherry tree is likely to be on the short list. While we now know that the story is a myth, it remains an enduring legend that helps cement General Washington's image as a Founding Father with integrity and honesty.

Nine years ago, the cherry tree myth inspired Danny Smith, member of the George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee to launch a fun-spirited contest among Alexandria's restaurant community.

For two weeks each February, the city's chefs are encouraged to design special dishes – cocktails, appetizers, entrées, or desserts – that feature cherries. Fresh cherries, dried cherries, cherry sauces, cherry liqueurs – the delicious Cherry Challenge dishes that showcase all those ingredients are offered as specials at restaurants in Old Town, Del Ray, the West End and all across Alexandria.

Over forty restaurants participated in this year's Cherry Challenge that ran from January 29th through February 11th. The GW Birthday Celebration Committee was still tallying the ballots at press time, but the 2017 winner could be any entry – from the Hand-Dipped Cherry Milkshake at Haute Dogs & Fries to the Alexandria Sour Cherry Martini at Vola's Dockside Grill and the Hi-Tide Lounge.

In addition to bragging rights, the chefs who create the entries with the highest ratings will receive prizes from the GW Birthday Celebration Committee. And for the second year, the Committee has sponsored a "Frequent Cherry Diner Award" for the guest who tastes and rates the greatest number of cherry creations!

"This event is designed to generate buzz for Alexandria restaurants, boost customer traffic, and encourage chefs to get creative and excited about their special offerings," said Smith. "It also enables the GW Birthday Celebration Committee to offer a tasteful event that keeps George Washington's memory alive!"

By inviting restaurants to participate in this culinary contest, Alexandria celebrates George Washington's historic presence in his hometown. It's a delicious way to celebrate the city's vibrant restaurant scene and one of its favorite sons.

Kristen Eastlick is a member of Alexandria's George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee.