Oct 6, 2023 - Food and Drink

Outdoor food hall Water Park debuts in Arlington

An open-air terrace restaurant sitting on top of a water wall with tables and umbrellas in front

Water Park outdoor food hall and garden. Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman

A hotly anticipated outdoor food hall, raw bar, and dynamic green space opens in Arlington on Friday.

Why it matters: The 1.6-acre Water Park is a big boost for National Landing's dining/entertainment scene beyond Amazon's opening — and the first of many, with another 55 retailers slated to open by the end of next year.

Yes, but: It's not really a "water park" (sorry, no Crystal City lazy river). There are water installations like an immersion fountain and Water Bar, an open-air terrace restaurant sitting atop a water wall.

What's happening: Developer JBG Smith's park is decked out with a live entertainment stage and plenty of seating and greenery for an "urban town square" vibe.

  • Nine local food kiosks are run by local, minority, and/or women-led businesses.
  • Atlanta-based STHRN Hospitality operates Water Bar and Crush Pizza, a larger kiosk with limited indoor seating, New York-style pies, Italian sandwiches, and a "crushable" wine list.

Between the lines: The park is a designated "sip and stroll" zone, so alcoholic beverages are permitted throughout. The planners also incorporated access to the Mt. Vernon Trail with public restrooms and bike facilities.

  • Protective and heating elements will help make it a year-round destination.
Two slices of pizza on red and white checkered paper
Crush pizza slices. Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman

The opening lineup: Tacos, fried chicken sandwiches, vegan burgers…

Brij: A coffee shop, café, and wine bar from barista-turned-social entrepreneur Skyler Kelley, whose mission is to support vulnerable communities (single mothers, the unhoused) through her business.

🍔 Bubbie's Plant Burger: A classic American burger, fry, and soda pop shop — but make it plant-based and kosher.

🥚 Cracked Eggery: The third D.C.-area location of the egg-centric fast-casual will offer all-day egg sandwiches, creative bowls, and sides.

🇮🇳 DC Dosa: Bombay native Priya Ammu's traveling South Indian street food concept expands from Union Market.

🍨 Dolci Gelati: The D.C.-born gelato shop will open another location for icy treats and espresso drinks.

An outdoor park lit up at night with chairs, umbrellas, and food kiosks
Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman

🥙 Falafel Inc.: A Georgetown-based falafel favorite known for inexpensive eats ($4 sandwiches!) and a social justice mission feeding refugees.

🍜 PhoWheels: The first non-mobile location for the family-run Vietnamese food truck, serving pho and other Viet-inspired dishes.

🍗 Queen Mother's: Chef-about-town Rock Harper opens another location of his smash-hit fried chicken joint.

🍹 Tiki Thai: A spinoff of Reston's tiki bar and Thai/Polynesian restaurant.

What's next: Dining in the Park, another JBG project 1.5 blocks away, is slated to open later this fall with the indoor/outdoor restaurant Surreal from Seven Restaurant Group (2121 Crystal Drive).

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