In 1996, one man's dream of owning a brewery nearly came true. Fortunately, it didn't.
A decade-and-a-half ago, Kostas Daskalakis planned to open brewery called Hopsfrog, bought his own storefront and thought he was ready for business. Then he realized the storefront was far too small for a brewery. He made the best of it.
He continued in the pursuit of a small business, turning the storefront instead into a family-owned restaurant and bar and building the enterprise into a reliable local favorite - the kind of neighborhood hangout where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came.
Mike Garrity, a plumber who lives nearby in the Burke/Fairfax area, is sitting at a table adjacent to a Patch reviewer, and he notes that he likes the sense of community that the bar provides. "It really is a kind like Cheers in that way," he comments. He is having a drink with a friend while she awaits the conclusion of her son's martial arts practice nearby in the shopping plaza.
"I didn't want to become a regular, but I did in spite of myself," Garrity adds. Every time I have friends or family in town I take them here."
Today, there's a bank in the Hopsfrog Grille's original building, and the Grille sits about a hundred yards away, tucked among a bland string of big-business chains.
Daskalakis' business is divided by a wall down the middle into two separate areas: the bar and the dining room.
The dining room offers a slightly refined, yet also casual and comfortable atmosphere.
It is without question one of the best restaurants in the immediate area, because the competition is slight.
In several recent visits the service has been excellent.
Among the menu's highlights is the Mediterranean Flaming Cheese ($7.95).*
The bar seems like a decent place to watch a game and like it has a crew of regulars. Again, it seems like friendly, comfortable atmosphere — like a cozy neighborhood bar that's a little more polished than you might expect.
Kostas wants to emphasize that the bar also hosts live music. An example of one singer who recently performed at the bar is among the videos which complement this story.
14 years ago, this popular, thriving local small business was a backup plan.
Editor's note: This story was updated with more text and photos on 1/6/11.
- Burke Patch freelancer Beverly Scholnick contributed to this report.
* For a description of the Mediterranean Flaming Cheese, please see the on Patch's Burke site.