Why Our Team Got Vaccinated

I’ve been called everything from “Crazy Covid Lady” to “Hall Pass Monitor” this last 18 months. Many of you know that many of our staff were touched by COVID very early in the pandemic. Some lost loved ones and grief followed us for months. We have taken your safety as seriously as our own – we have yet to reopen our dining room and are just now discussing what that will look like in 2021. Despite our best efforts, we had two team members test positive last month, just as vaccines were rolling out. I was, well, pissed. I don’t have to tell you how hard this has been on hospitality. Last week, after the efforts of Scott Shaw, both teams at Stomping Ground and Bagel Uprising walked over to the former Charlies On The Avenue space to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine together – as a family. Collectively, we took Thursday off to recover from the usually inevitable side effects it would have on the staff. To say that this is a relief would be an incredible understatement – it feels like a literal weight off my shoulders knowing that my team is now protected from COVID-19. For the first time, I feel hope. I feel like I can breathe (safely behind my mask, but a deep, full breath). Thank you to all of our customers who have supported us and been patient through all of this. I hope you will continue to do so as restaurants and staff start the long, arduous journey of bringing our businesses back to whatever version of the future looks like.




If you haven’t already, please register to get the vaccine through the Virginia Department of Health.


  • 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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