This is the fifth piece in a series of profiles of the winners of the Annandale Blog’s 2014 Annie Awards, presented to local businesses at Blogapalooza on June 28. The winners were selected by Annandale Blog readers in an open-ended survey.
Silverado, the popular Southwestern-theme restaurant at 7052 Columbia Pike, was selected by Annandale Blog readers as the best restaurant in Annandale/Mason District.
When asked to name customers’ favorite menu items, manager Dustin Ranney listed the salmon salad, prime rib, crab cakes, fresh fish, firecracker shrimp, and “our world’s greatest fajitas,” along with the chocolate waffle for desert and huevos rancheros served at brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and summertime dessert special, mixed-berry shortcake. New happy hour items will debut soon, he says.
|Silverado is on the site of the old Fritzbe's|
Silverado is part of the Great American Restaurants (GRA) group, which was founded in 1976 by Ranney’s father, Mike Ranney, along with Jim Farley and Randy Norton, who had opened Picco’s Pizza in Fairfax in 1974. Ranney, a graduate of Woodson High School, worked in several GRA restaurants and has been at Silverado for four years.
The first GRA restaurant, Fritzbe’s Flying Food Factory, opened in Annandale in 1976 and lasted nearly 20 years. In 1995, GRA launched Silverado in the same location.
To celebrate GRA’s 40th anniversary, Ranney says Silverado will bring back some of Fritzbe’s popular appetizers, including “loaded dippers” (potato skins with lots of toppings) and mozzarella sticks with raspberry sauce—plus half yards of beer. [Fritzbe’s also offered full yards.]
GRA approves the menus in its restaurants, but anyone can propose a new item, Ranney says. Silverado’s assistant manager, Alex Beddell, for example, created a popular watermelon margarita which is spreading to the other restaurants.
Silverado is an active supporter of the Annandale community. The restaurant fields a team in the annual Annandale Bed Race, and 25 percent of the proceeds from dessert sales go to Share Our Strength. Through a partnership with Annandale High School, special education students work at the restaurant in the mornings with teacher supervision, doing jobs like polishing silverware, shucking corn, and cleaning up.
GRA now has 12 locations, including Sweet Water Tavern in Merrifield, Centreville, and Sterling; Coastal Flats in Tysons Corner and Fairfax; Artie’s in Fairfax; Carlyle and Best Buns in Shirlington; Jackson’s in Reston; Mike’s in Springfield; and Ozzie’s in Fairfax. A new Coastal Flats is scheduled to open in Gaithersburg, Md., this fall.