For the third time in nine months, the Town of Middleburg has seen the opening of new Asian-themed restaurant.
Red Bar Sushi opened Wednesday in the building that formerly housed the Boxwood Estate Winery’s tasting room on East Washington Street, following the opening of Best Thai Kitchen and Thaiverse last year.
Owned and operated by Neil and Jamie Metzger, the husband-and-wife duo that also owns Best Thai Kitchen, the sushi bar will feature indoor seating for about 50 diners and will eventually accommodate room for about 45 on an outdoor patio. According to Neil, serving up sushi has been a dream of his for a while. He said there just hasn’t been enough space at his current restaurant for the endeavor.
After a casual conversation with one of his regulars, Metzger realized that the man he was talking to owned the building on Washington Street and that it was available for rent. He jumped on the opportunity and started making plans for his sushi restaurant.
“There’s a lot of average sushi places around Loudoun County,” he said. “What we’re really trying to do is create a top-tier sushi restaurant.”
To make this happen, the couple said they would be spending more money and putting more effort into having fresh sushi delivered for their patrons. On the weekends, they even plan to have fish delivered within 24 hours straight from Tokyo.
“If you want great sushi, you’ve got to get fresh sushi,” Neil said. “I think a commitment to do that right is really what makes it.”
Of course, the opening of Red Bar Sushi shouldn’t come as a surprise for residents. After Best Thai Kitchen opened as the town’s first Asian-themed restaurant last April. Thaiverse opened its doors two months later directly across the street.
Despite that proximity, Metzger said he hasn’t felt hampered by competition. “Business is going very well right now,” he said.
Middleburg’s three Asian restaurants sit within a block of each other, in the middle of a 10-mile radius that is absent of any other Asian cuisine. This cultural boom has brought not only an influx of visitors to town, but also awareness to some town leaders..
Vincent Bataoel, chairman of the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, said the new restaurant openings are turning heads. “The success of our new businesses sends a really good message,” he said.
Bataoel said Middleburg is on its way to become one of the county’s best and most diverse food destinations. He said visitors will soon be able to head into town, shop, sightsee and decide what they want to eat later, rather than planning to visit any one specific restaurant.
“Hopefully, Middleburg can become a hub for western Loudoun,” he said. “We’re definitely on the path to that.”