Eight Haymarket and Gainesville, Virginia area family-owned and locally-owned businesses get a thumbs up!
I am thrilled with the recent retail development and the expanding variety of eateries, shopping and activities new to the area. However, there are a few local favorites—some that have been around for many years—that I would like to recognize. These eight establishments, mostly family-owned, are small businesses that help our community thrive. Whether you’re new to the area or have been here for years and just haven’t stumbled upon them, give them a try. As with my previous “best of” lists, these are just a FEW favorites of many fantastic local spots.
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Desiderio, located in the Harris Teeter Plaza in Gainesville, is family-owned and operated and is now celebrating their fifth year serving the Gainesville and Haymarket area. It takes owner Rick Marrero’s “Italian-American” heritage and combines it with his over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Desiderio prides itself on their homemade menu items and “secret” family recipes including Ricotta Cheesecake and Grandma’s Meatballs. The atmosphere is stylish, warmly lit and offers lovely outdoor dining. Desiderio hosts wine tasting events and mixers and has a “Supper Club” with member-only perks.
AKT Nourish (aka Annie’s Kitchen Table) is a brand new, family-owned little market and eatery located on Washington Street in the center of town. Dine indoors or outside for breakfast or lunch in this sweet space complete with white tablecloths. Or, enlist a personal chef and order your meals ahead online. The “farm to fork” menu, made from fresh, local ingredients changes daily and is posted on the website. The desserts are absolutely delicious! Owner Anne Thomas takes pride in what she’s doing and it shows. Open 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
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Balans, a locally-owned fitness studio also located in the Harris Teeter plaza in Gainesville, is more than fitness—it’s about wellness, nutrition, style and community. When you enter, a soothing aroma, the sound of trickling water and the sleek, “green” inspired atmosphere feels more like a spa than a typical exercise studio. A unique blend of classes for all levels includes Yoga, Barre, TRX® and Mat Pilates. Personal training, nutritional guidance and workshops are also available. A simple online class reservation process allows flexibility for hectic lifestyles as you can sign up for whatever class suits your mood or schedule that week.
Founded in 2002, locally-owned Details was originally focused on products for the home but in recent years it transitioned into a chic gift boutique. Located just a block from Washington Street in Haymarket, this quaint shop occupies two floors of an old farmhouse. It features iconic brands and trending favorites like Alex and Ani®, Pandora®, Brighton® and Vera Bradley®, as well as a variety of hand-picked clothing items and a mix of unique accessories. Here you will always be greeted by a friendly sales associate eager to help you find the perfect gift—even if it’s for yourself!
Family-owned and operated for 35 years, Blue Ridge Seafood is the area’s only authentic “seafood shack” complete with the atmosphere—picnic tables, paper table coverings, dated furnishings, pitchers of beer, and peel-and-eat shellfish of all varieties. It can get crowded, especially on a Saturday night, but the seafood is scrumptious and the prices are reasonable. Favorite menu items include the Garlic Crabs, Hard Shell Blue Crab, Spiced Shrimp Basket and the Hush Puppies are not to be missed! Located on Route 29 just past Wegmans.
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Pickle Bob’s has been a Haymarket landmark since 2003. Although it recently changed hands in ownership, it’s still the number one spot to head to after the soccer game! Located on the corner of Route 15 behind the Sheetz, you can’t miss it’s unique storefront and the pickle mascot. At Pickle Bob’s there are countless ways to enjoy your creamy, soft serve ice cream—mixed with fruit, nuts, candy or cookies—in sundaes, shakes, cones, tornados or floats. Order a Pup Cup for your furry friend! For years it was cash only here, but Pickle Bob’s is now accepting credit cards.
In the ten years since Gainesville Ballet opened it doors, this local dance studio has transitioned into an award-winning, premier performing arts organization. Annual performances like The Nutcracker and Le Corsaire (photo above) are now held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center and combine guest professional dancers from all over the world with the talent of area students of all levels. Managed by a husband and wife team in new, state-of-the art studios on Old Linton Hall Road, Gainesville Ballet offers outstanding instruction led by an international faculty. Dance classes, as well as voice and piano lessons, are offered to students of all ages. (Photography: B. Payden Photography)
My mom, Cheryl Garcia (Managing Broker with over 30 years of experience) and I opened Heritage Real Estate in September 2003. In August 2006 we joined EXIT Realty as franchise owners forming EXIT Heritage Realty. Even though we are part of one of the fastest growing real estate companies in North America, we are deeply rooted in the community and pride ourselves on our personalized service to our clients—past and present. I grew up in this area and I know Haymarket well. Our office is the older white house right in the center of town, you can’t miss it. On Haymarket Day in September, you’ll find our friendly agents handing out hundreds of water bottles and free balloons.
Want to take a tour of Haymarket area homes? Call Bryan Garcia, he lives in Haymarket and knows the area well.