Vim & Victor isn’t like normal restaurants. It eschews the design conventions most modern eateries cling to. There’s no exposed brick or shiplap, and it’s not filled with enough candles to open a Bath & Body Works. Its walls are studded with big screen TVs… but it’s not a sports bar. It has pristine floor to ceiling windows… that overlook a new parking lot and a host of old warehouses. The menu might boast historically unhealthy meals like nachos and burgers… but the nachos are piled high with cauliflower and the burger is made with Beyond Meat.
The biggest standout, the bullet point that might be a feature or a bug depending on your disposition, is that Vim & Victor doesn’t stand alone. It’s housed inside The St. James, Northern Virginia’s 450,000 square foot health, wellness and entertainment complex. Which means you can watch top of the line athletes, kid’s hockey camps and people of all ages decked in workout gear walk through the doors (and work out at the elliptical) as you down that aforementioned burger (and its side of fries).
Despite the captive audience, chef Spike Mendelsohn hopes Vim & Victor won’t just appear to members of The St. James. Its all day menu features everything from specialty toasts to salads to sandwiches to appetizers that function as small plates. Their protein section is steakhouse style (with the prices to match), and the mix and match sides range from whipped potatoes to (more) oven roasted cauliflower. And I haven’t even mentioned the drink options. Between the smoothies, wellness teas, cold pressed juices and kombucha (provided solely from one of Spike’s personal favorite brands, Virginia’s very own Blue Ridge Bucha), the liquid portion of the menu is especially strong.
In spite of its inclusivity, Vim & Victor’s dishes are at their most interesting when they’re not trying to appeal to everyone. You might not be able to convince your bar food obsessed friends to try out the cauliflower nachos, but they’re a clear standout on the menu. Their combination of pickled jalapeños and pomegranate seeds create a sweet and spicy dichotomy kept us coming back. Likewise, the broccolini and country sourdough toast veers hard into the specialty toast trend that has launched a thousand think pieces. But the dish’s pairing of dense and earthy greens with a healthy amount of citrus and mint is a winner. It doesn’t hurt that it’s surprisingly beautiful.
It should come as no surprise that Spike and his team nail the drinks. Cocktails like the Bare-Knuckle (a Pimm’s Cup punch) and the Pitch Perfect (their play on a mezcal margarita) are especially sessionable, but it’s the perfectly blended smoothies that stand out from the crowd.
Will Vim & Victor’s health and diet focused food be enough to draw in people from D.C.? Probably not. We’re already awash with restaurants that want to cater to your every dietary restriction. Although, its dedicated grab and go counter, plus future plans to team up with fitness instructors to create specialized meal plans will certainly bring The St. James clientele through the doors. And regardless of your workout regimen, it’s an interesting place to people watch.
Vim & Victor is located at 6805 Industrial Rd, Springfield, VA 22151