Remember February 14th B.C. (Before Covid)? Our phones ringing off the hook as you all scramble to make reservations for any two-top table at 7pm to enjoy a prix fixe menu? It doesn’t take an insider to tell you that while we are always grateful for reservations, Valentine’s Day is not the best day to patronize restaurants. Overcrowded dining rooms, new menus written to maximize profits, and high expectations, these often create high-pressure situations that leave both staff and customers more than disappointed. Many inside the biz refer to February 14th and December 31st as Amateur Hour (sorry to bust any bubbles out there.)
I don’t know about you, but the pandemic and the weather have me craving comfort food like it’s my job (see what I did there? It is my job.) So, we are staying open for a Sunday night to offer you all a simple, comforting dinner that you can easily replate and enjoy at home – no crowded dining rooms, no sauced dishes.
3-Course Valentine’s Day Dinner for $20
• Chicory salad with bacon, walnut, pear & sherry vinaigrette
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.