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John Kurtz / Southside 815

Posted on Jun 18,2008
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community,

John Kurtz / Southside 815

815 S. Washington St.
Alexandria, Virginia22314

(703) 836-6222


About John:

John was born and raised in Fairfax, Va.  He spent his college years at the University of South Carolina and came back to the area shortly thereafter. John began working as both a waiter and bartender at Southside 815 in 1994, and has been both General Manager and Partner since 1999.


About Southside 815:

“Southside 815 opened on the South end (hence the name) of OldTown on Washington St. in July of 1993.  We serve southern cuisine that the Washington Post Food Critic Phyllis Richman describes as “Coming closer to true Southern food than any other local restaurant.”  Southside 815 has been included in Washingtonian Magazine's “Cheap Eats” issue for 11 straight years.  The bar is always crowded with regulars – the clientele and staff are on a first name basis.  Chef Teresa Thomas (formerly of Jestine's Kitchen in CharlestonS.C.) continues to please the palate with her great Southern cuisine.”


Business Philosophy:

“Our location went through numerous restaurants prior to our arrival - I don't think any of them embraced the neighborhood concept. Southside 815 is surrounded by town homes and apartments – they set the table for us. We wanted to be an extension of their dining and living rooms, while creating a perception of value.  Our regular customers have responded by visiting us several times per week.”


Why Alexandria?

“My partners Ben Benson and Tom Jackson have always operated restaurants in the city. They created Ramparts and Shooter McGee’s, both of which adopted the neighborhood restaurant and saloon concept.  Alexandria is a city where people have great community pride and make an effort to get out and support local businesses.  We’ve always enjoyed being on a first name basis with everyone.”


Funny/Interesting Story?

“Not so funny I guess, but it had a good ending. In the fall of 2000, I was on a weekend trip to Boston. I got back to my hotel room one afternoon and saw Southside on CNN.  Earlier that day Senator Strom Thurmond had been in for lunch and fainted at his table.  He was treated at the hospital for dehydration and later released.  He continued to dine with us numerous times over the next few years and even came in to watch college football one Saturday. It was just a tremendous shock to turn on the TV and have that hit you out of the blue. Now I keep my cell phone on me at all times!”

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