It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers––homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Caramel Buzz.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry’s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry’s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
Surrounded by dark wooden accents and a single grand chandelier, T.J. Stone’s serves a menu of modern American cuisine peppered with saucy barbecue, fresh seafood, and innovative recipes. Chefs forge tender pasta and savory sausage from scratch for the sausage-and-mushroom pasta, baked in a rich sauce of shallots, garlic, and dry vermouth. Half-racks of pork ribs adorn faces with smoky and stylish sauce beards, served with a selection of two sides, such as coleslaw or baked beans. The pepper-crusted tuna rolls blissfully in cracked black peppercorns before pan-searing in its savory flavors and donning creole-mustard barbecue sauce, baby arugula, and leafy cilantro.
More than 150 varieties of wine, beer, and spirits flow freely into souvenir glasses, slaking thirsty throats with unlimited sips as guests nibble artisanal snacks at the National Harbor Wine and Food Festival's tasting stations. More than 100 international wines and local libations activate palates, and guests venture to the tasting theater to take in a seminar from wine pairers and gourmet chefs. Live steel-drum music sets the beachy airwaves quivering as attendees relax in the whiskey-and-bourbon lounge and experts demonstrate how to hand roll cigars, a skill that impresses friends and stops rival spies from secretly filling the cigar with live wolverines.
A renovated colonial warehouse, Union Street Public House evokes a sense of history while spoiling diners with a fresh selection of signature entrees and 15 on-tap beers. A cavalry of potatoes roasted with oregano vinaigrette holds new york strip steak prisoner ($27.95); grill-fellow barbecue pork belly cavorts with risotto, dixie bell tomato, and garlic ragu ($21.95). Customers can order a half-dozen oysters on the half-shell ($10.50 for locals; out-of-towners pay market price) to share as they await a serving of tipsy mussels in steamed riesling with lemongrass and coconut ($18.95). Craft beers such as Yuengling Lager ($4.25) and Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale ($4.95) help troubled pint glasses overcome existential feelings of emptiness. Happy hour runs Monday - Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., ensuring that parched mouths are watered at half price.