Ten years ago, I stopped in for lunch at one of everyone’s favorite neighborhood Vienna restaurants, Bazin’s on Church, and spied a glossy new publication which caught my eye at the entrance. This was my first encounter with Viva Tysons Magazine. I was enamored with the idea of a hyperlocal magazine highlighting all of what we want to know about our own little neck of the woods. I enjoyed featuring our nearby restaurants and then embarked upon a journey to share my discoveries of nearby—and a few faraway—travel destinations with our wonderful readers. Sixty articles later, the rest is history. You can still check out past articles at vivatysons.com under digital issues. So many great places to explore—and in due time, we will again more fully.
But in the meantime, we scale back. We bolster those places that have backed us the whole time. And one of those places is Bazin’s. Over the last 15 years, Patrick and Julie Bazin have been a cornerstone of the community. Every little league team and group has knocked on the doors of our neighborhood restaurants, and Bazin’s has been particularly generous, answering the call by continually donating to important organizations and causes—including every school in the Vienna vicinity. They have also lent support to our important local institution, The Women’s Center, which celebrated an important milestone just last year—45 years of helping the community.
In trying times, people search for ways to contribute to the solution. It’s an empowering feeling which we all need more than ever right now. It’s our turn to give back to the community we love. It’s time.
Toward the end of 2020, Bazin’s was safely operating at half-capacity, and the spacious patio was open, which is bigger than the entire interior of the restaurant. “The local ladies have supported us like no one I’ve ever seen. With coats and hats and blankets on their laps,” notes the appreciative Julie Bazin.
Embrace winter, like the Danish concept of hygge by creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. When protocol permits, bring a Rustic Hearts or other comfy blanket along. I recently brought my Wolf Trap blanket. The patio was transformed into a winter wonderland, all decked out for Christmas, complete with propane heaters. Pending further notice, it is still doable with gloves, hats, and scarves, as outside is safer.
Bazin’s will be closing on upcoming Sundays for the winter months, but stay tuned for Sunday Funday Vibes and Football To Go with Italian sausage and pepper subs, BBQ pork sliders, and filet mignon sliders.
But the safest of all is to Bring Bazin’s Home. The to-go has always been there. And that’s my go-to right now. Ask around to see what everyone wants and then make a run to Bazin’s. Build your own Bazin’s Family Meal. While you’re at it, pick up something for someone you care about. Make some welcome drop-offs to surprise your favorite foodie friends and elderly neighbors. You’ll be the most popular person in the neighborhood.
I decided to assemble a very special dinner for my favorite elderly foodies—my 89- and 92-year-old parents. “Gourmet food coming through the door with my daughter was a nice touch. My daughter is a gourmande, and it was beyond my expectations.”
My mom, author of a self-published cookbook The Mark of the Master Chef and a long-running cooking column in the Delaware State News, is a foodie in her own right. My dad really loved the brisket. I glanced away and when I looked back it was already gone. It was a real treat for them. And caramelized onions and bacon enhanced the already savory filet mignon.
Bazin’s contemporary American menu features organic and seasonal ingredients. This freshness made a welcome appearance in the deliciously light burrata salad. One signature dish, the tantalizingly tender Maple-Miso Chilean Sea Bass with wasabi mashed potatoes, baby spinach, and a tamari-ginger sauce, presents a perfectly balanced flavor profile and is a dish to return for. I know I have. My mom concurs. “The fish was delicious. There was a certain finesse to the preparation.”
Coming up virtually, Bazin’s Market will be featuring menus including selections like gluten-free Brazilian cheese rolls (pão de queijo) and spinach and ricotta lasagna. Call to place orders by Thursday at 703-255-7212 and pick up every Saturday afternoon.
Bazin’s now offers sauces to go, the likes of time-consuming, intricate red wine reduction sauces with homemade veal stock that you wouldn’t attempt at home, but that would make all the difference in your favorite recipes.
And stock up on soups by the quart. Load up your freezer for the winter and conveniently pull them out to enjoy whenever you like. And with rotating selections such as jumbo lump crabmeat and corn chowder, porcini mushroom soup, and butternut squash soup, you can’t go wrong. There was a recent thread on the Vienna Foodies group discussing soups and the porcini mushroom soup was pinging off the charts!
I first discovered their magical patio tucked away out back when it was just opening in the spring and plants and trees were being delivered from Merrifield Garden Center. That fine sunny day, I grabbed a basil margarita to go and walked down Church Street for a leisurely stroll, eager in my early support of this new concept, not knowing how long all this would last, but with summer surely on its way.
Now times are different. We have to buckle down and continue to find ways of making everything work for everyone and to sustain our restaurant venues through the winter. One of those ways is to share gift cards with our loved ones and those we appreciate—in the anticipation of future celebrations when the time is safe. Consider it an investment in the future of our town—with palpable and immediate dividends. Way more satisfying than buying a lottery ticket.
There is so much love between these walls. For the last eight years, Bazin’s on Church’s sister venue Bazin’s Next Door has provided a space that is available for private events. Recently they have done 10 micro-weddings. They decorate the space differently for rehearsal dinners and other life moments. The Love sign from Karin’s Florist has also remained up symbolically at Bazin’s since Valentine’s Day. Patrick said, “Let’s leave it; we need all the love we can get.”
Love reappears in the rose petals Julie scattered on the back patio for a recent 25th anniversary for one of their most cherished patrons. Whimsical rustic hearts from the energetic and caring grassroots entity rusticlovevienna.com, spearheaded by Michelle Davila and Trish Alexander, punctuate this charming, cozy outdoor space. “We try to make every moment magical,” says Julie.
And magical it is. Yet saving our most beloved restaurants through these most trying times would be the best magic trick of all. Rustic Love Vienna’s mission is to help area restaurants and food suppliers feed first responders and the food-insecure in our midst. All proceeds from their sign sales go to the Vienna VA Foodies, the energetic and enthusiastic group created by Vienna foodie queen supreme and ultra-altruist Lydia Russo. A bigger heart you will not find.
Thank you to everyone who has supported anyone. You have made a difference in the lives of so many. And you have inspired and uplifted them as well. So toast to yourself and whatever good-food-deed you conjure up with a Hot Ginger Toddy from Bazin’s, craftily composed of ginger liqueur, Jameson’s, honey syrup, and fresh lemon juice. Cheers!
The contributions of citizens such as lovely Lydia and hard-working head of both the VBA (Vienna Business Association) and GMBA (Greater Merrifield Business Association), Peggy Jame—along with many others—represent the very spirit of our community and are deserving of our collective respect and recognition.
And if any town can pull it off, Vienna and its finest foodies will be the ones to do it. This little town has a big, gigantic heart, and it wears it not only on its sleeve, but on the back of its T-shirts, on its facemasks, on its blankets on the laps of the outdoor restaurant patrons, on the bumper stickers or refrigerator magnets – all the way to the ornaments on the Christmas trees (and that’s just me!) in the form of all the merch that Rustic Love Vienna sells to generate funds to facilitate the benevolent endeavors of the Vienna VA Foodies.
Just look around at the wooden rustic heart signs all over the neighborhoods. Drive around and count them with the kids for an entertaining—and reassuring— game. It’s nothing short of soul-soothing in these most challenging and uncertain times. It just makes you feel a little better. And don’t we all need that?
Seek and you shall find them everywhere you look in this compassionate corner of the world, manifesting a fierce and unflinching sense of community that defiantly refuses to abandon its own, mustering its unwavering strength and Herculean efforts to simultaneously support (many newly) food-insecure families, our always loyal first responders at the Vienna Fire Station—which has mounted the ever popular Taste of Vienna each year—and the many irreplaceable, treasured restaurants they have included at this ever-popular and always much-anticipated event.
The good-deed-doers are out in force, constantly conjuring up unique opportunities to help at every turn. Some exceedingly generous neighbors have donated $500 or $1,000 at a pop to fund the works of this miraculous entity. They heed the call and deliver delicious dinners hot from restaurants directly to those in need. Nothing short of brilliant.
And there is an upswell of camaraderie among our Vienna proprietors, as they exhibit flexibility and creativity to greet each new challenge. “We’re all pivoting so much it looks like a new dance! Hang in there, friend and neighbor. Brighter days are ahead!” offers the encouraging Michael Amouri of gathering place par excellence, Caffè Amouri.
What goes around comes around—in this case for good—in this potentially all-win situation. Let’s all strive to make that happen. Just think what we can accomplish if we all work together. Dare to envision it.
For in the end, one day—even though we can’t yet know when that will be—let us hope that we will be able to gather again with our dear friends and neighbors and collectively chant with great glee—Abra Vienna! And that will be a most magical moment indeed.
Bazin’s on Church
111 Church ST NW
Vienna, VA 22180