Former Redskins coach opens restaurant in Potomac Falls.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Velocity Five, which opened Aug. 26, provides what owner Jim Speros, former assistant coach for the Washington Redskins and entrepreneur, calls “an upscale sports bar with a full-service menu” that accommodates everyone from those looking to dine, watch a sporting event to those going out for happy hour.
LOCATED IN THE GREAT Falls Plaza at the corner of Algonkian Parkway and Lowes Island Boulevard, Speros purchased the space, which was previously inhabited by Fox Chase Tavern, soon after opening the other Velocity Five location in Falls Church last March. Seeking to follow his business model of getting three locations up and running within 18 months, Speros purchased the 5,200-square-foot property and quickly transformed it with cherrywood on the bar, floor and walls and separate dining rooms for families and parties that have private booths. Furthermore, Speros added a 2,000-square-foot outdoor patio with tables that is soon to have a full-service bar with an awning and heaters for year-round use.
The most appealing offering that Velocity Five provides, equally important to the food for many patrons, is the fact that it is a nonsmoking establishment. Speros said that it was important to him to separate the different sections of the restaurants, keeping the dining areas, patio and bar separated to keep noise down for those trying to eat. However, since he did not want to fully partition those sections, he decided the only way to integrate the sections was to make the entire place smoke free.
“I wanted to have a smoke-free environment so families can come in and enjoy dinner,” Speros said. “It’s a win-win for everybody; customers, employees. Bartenders have even come here [specifically] to work, because they don’t like the smoke.”
THOUGH THE RESTAURANT accommodates everyone, it is still a sports bar at heart. Perhaps most important to sports fanatics is to enjoy a good beer or drink while watching their favorite teams play on a big-screen television. Yes, there is a beer and wine list with a full bar, but the thing that will make any sports fan happy is the 50 high-definition flat screens located all across the restaurant. Each television has its own feed, which means that each television can show a different sporting event simultaneously, coming in very handy for NFL games and NCAA March Madness, when every single televised game will be shown at the same time.
“Yesterday was football heaven,” said patron Tim Owens of Cascades. “It’s a great neighborhood bar, great location. Plus, [Jim] Speros did a great job remodeling this place.”
Speros, developer of several successful enterprises in the area, said he has “the restaurant business in my blood,” as he grew up with a family that owned a local restaurant for more than 30 years, and went on to create and own a few restaurants before he opened the two Velocity Fives.
His parents owned Normandie Farm Restaurant, the place where he learned the in and outs of the business, and after winning a national championship in college football at Clemson University and stints with the Redskins and Buffalo Bills in the NFL, he returned to the food-service industry.
WHEN HE PURCHASED the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League in the mid 1990s, he personally oversaw the food and concession services at more than 20 events a year. After selling the team in 1998, he decided that he enjoyed the food industry so much that he would get into the restaurant business. He invested in and opened two restaurants, including Great Falls Tavern, and seeing a greater opportunity, he decided to “merge technology and sports” and create Velocity Five.
Speros said that a third Velocity Five is in the works currently, with two locations in Arlington being negotiated. He plans to expand the restaurant, making it a chain with potential locations in Centreville, Woodbridge and Alexandria, staying in Northern Virginia to begin with and then expanding from there.
“What differentiates us is the atmosphere, our full-service menu with moderately priced food for the families,” Speros said. Everybody can be satisfied here. We can cater to and accommodate every customer.”