Coming Soon: Columbia Firehouse

Though progress has slowed on its Birch and Barley project in DC (it's coming, I promise), the Neighborhood Restaurant Group is preparing to open Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria.

Fans of the recently shuttered Mark and Orlando's in Dupont will be pleased to hear that Orlando Hitzig is Columbia Firehouse's executive chef. Hitzig also cooked his way through the kitchens at 701, Vidalia, 1789 and Charlie Palmer's Aureole.

The space, which once housed Alexandria's local fire station and was most recently Bookbinder's restaurant, will be divided into two concepts: a classic chophouse upstairs and a more casual dining room downstairs featuring modern American comfort food, small plates and sandwiches. The downstairs opens Monday; the chophouse will follow in a few weeks.

The chophouse meats, pasture raised without preservatives or hormones, will be sourced from primarily local farms and butchered by the restaurant group's Red Apron Butchery. Local oysters from Dragon Creek Aqua Farm will be a mainstay.

Downstairs look for smoked chicken wings with buttermilk blue and barbecue sauces, Maryland crab cakes with jicama slaw and Dijon aioli, a firehouse burger made from Red Apron angus beef, and a Virginia bouillabaisse.

The craft cocktail craze shows up at the restaurant's main bar, on the ground floor, with a menu of classic drinks like rickeys, fizzes and sazeracs.

The Neighborhood Restaurant Group also operates Vermilion, Evening Star Café, Tallula, EatBar, Rustico, and Buzz.