Food Memories: Thanksgiving Sides & Pies

In my opinion Food Memories (I’m making that a proper noun) are some of the most powerful. In particular their effect is greatest around the holidays, because holidays are typically emotional. I can remember my Great Grandma Mae’s cookies with such vividness that when I was able to recreate them after many years of failed attempts, I burst into tears. It was as if I were able to talk to her again, like I was able to remember every holiday, even if the memories of the events are wholly inaccurate. The feeling, however, is not. In my family, creating traditions built around food is as important as those built around church or sports. I often struggle to remember my grandfather’s face, but I remember he loved to eat hard salami with peppercorns and biscuits and his daily love of Dr. Pepper out of a two liter (he lived in Mississippi).

The most simple and basic way to show kindness and to share community is to break bread. There are entire books dedicated to the topic. Combining the concepts of nostalgia and food as community are the reasons I opened Stomping Ground in the first place. We aim every day to create a space for guests to feel emotionally connected to what they are eating and with whom they are eating — this is why we have a community table. No one dines alone here. If we achieve emotional connection and couple it with a sense of community, we have the opportunity to be a part of a person’s story. Nothing brings me greater joy than preparing an infant’s first scrambled egg, seeing the same kids come in for a daily energy ball, or meeting the Southern parents of our regulars so they can enjoy “real biscuits and gravy.” We are helping create traditions, memories, habits — it’s powerful stuff.

Every year when the holidays come around, I feel a deep desire for this experience to extend beyond the small walls of Stomp. To achieve this, we offer traditional Thanksgiving sides and pies for you to take home and enjoy on Thanksgiving and Take and Bake Breakfast items for Christmas morning. We will continue to use our local organic produce and everything you enjoy will be handmade. Each side serves four to five people and comes in an oven-safe container. Simply remove the plastic and pop in the oven. These are the sides that I would make if I were cooking you Thanksgiving. My mother is coming to visit this year and I plan on serving these dishes at my table. This is our third year offering Sides & Pies and it is an honor to share a meal with you and your family on perhaps the greatest day of the year.

Submit your order before November 15, pick up anytime between 9am-5pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.


  • The latest from Nicole
Head Janitor, Chef, and Proprietor | Stomping Ground
Nicole’s cooking style is rooted in, but not limited to, her love of southern biscuits and her diverse culinary upbringing. A military brat, she spent her childhood in the Chicago suburbs enjoying her great-grandmother Mae’s Lithuanian cooking. As a tween, she moved to Paulding County, Ga. where she begrudgingly fell in love with the charmingly perplex small towns of the Deep South. She fondly remembers grubbing on Martin’s biscuits, late-night Waffle House debauchery and cooking with her family. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Nicole started a marketing career at an art nonprofit in Atlanta. At 25 years old, she became the youngest executive at the local Atlanta NPR affiliate. Chasing her dreams, she moved to Alexandria, Va. where she took a short post in the Whole Foods marketing department. Realizing that cooking had been her true love all along, she began night courses at L’Academie de Cuisine. She completed her apprenticeship at Blue Duck Tavern where she was promoted to a line cook after graduation. From there, Nicole worked as a private chef for busy Washington D.C. executives and their families. As grown-ups tend to do, Nicole realized something about her childhood — the best parts were enjoying small town communities, cooking with her great-grandmother and sharing meals with family and friends. She opened Stomping Ground to build a safe and welcoming community around yummy, handmade food from local sources. As her first foray running her own kitchen, she has shamelessly hired better, smarter cooks to fill her kitchen and your bellies. Her great-grandmother’s recipes often appear on the Stomping Ground menu without advertisement and, no, she won’t tell you the secret ingredients. Nicole lives in Del Ray and won’t shut up about how much she loves living there.

If you wander down Del Ray’s, “The Avenue,” you won’t miss the farm-red building with a rustic fence bordering the patio. Stomping Ground opened two years ago and quickly became popular for its made-from-scratch biscuits and its neighborhood vibe. On weekends, excited guests line up before Stomping Ground opens hoping to be the first to get a just-out-of-the-oven biscuit or a fresh salad. Stomping Ground is mostly known for its fast casual breakfast and lunch but on Thursdays and Fridays they provide a full dinner service after 5:00pm. All meals are built from local, seasonal food that is organic whenever possible.

2309 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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