Drawing its name from the railroad ties of Alexandria’s Del Ray, where the original Junction Bakery and Bistro opened in 2016, the regional business adapts each of its locations to the neighborhoods they serve, Managing Director Noe Landini says.
When the opportunity emerged for a bistro in the Mosaic District, the property’s history with movie theaters — starting with the D.C. area’s largest drive-in and continued with the Angelika Film Center — was a logical source of inspiration.
“We thought, ‘Man, it would be really cool to design this Junction after a drive-in,’ so we have a lot of cool design features at this one that are much different from the rest,” Landini told FFXnow by phone.
The Junction team hopes to unveil those design features, including a hand-painted wall mural with iconic film characters and images, to customers in late August.
Located between Urbano and District Dumplings in the former Cheesetique space (2985 District Avenue, Suite 115), the Mosaic Junction materalized with a partnership between Landini’s REX Management group and Common Plate Hospitality, which owns Urbano.
According to Landini, Common Plate invited him to look at the adjacent, vacated space, since they thought his brand “would be a good fit.” He had also collaborated with Mosaic District developer and property manager EDENS “on some minor things” in the past.
“I knew them, and I met with them, and it did seem like a really good fit, so we said, ‘Let’s give it a shot,'” Landini said.
The Mosaic Junction will serve a lunch and dinner menu of sandwiches, salads, and various entrees, from shrimp and grits to Thai street noodles. Brunch will be available on weekends, and there will be baked goods made by the bakery in Alexandria.
It will be the third Junction with a bar, joining venues in Capitol Hill and Chevy Chase. Landini says it will have the capacity to serve about 140 people with indoor, outdoor, and bar seating.
The restaurant has been under construction for more than half a year now, with Fairfax County issuing an interior commercial alteration permit back on Jan. 27.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on supply chains has “one hundred percent” affected the restaurant’s build-out, Landini says. A refrigerator or oven that once might’ve arrived in a couple of days or a week now takes anywhere from four to 20 weeks.
“Whether it’s equipment for the kitchen or light fixtures or flooring, you name it, the supply chain is seriously broken in this country,” he said. “We’re not the only ones that are experiencing this. It’s everybody.”
With hiring for the new bistro underway, finding staff has also been a challenge — not in terms of finding people looking for work, but in finding people with experience, Landini told FFXnow.
Despite those obstacles, Landini says he’s eager to introduce Junction to the Mosaic District and find a foothold in the neighborhood.
“I know people that live there. I know people that work nearby. They’re very excited about us coming,” Landini said. “I’m very excited to come and be a part of that community.”
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