Culinary Arts

Palette 22 celebrates local art and creative fare in Shirlington.

Seven years ago, Alexandria Restaurant Partners opened Palette 22 at Village at Shirlington. While dining or enjoying a drink at the bar, patrons can watch local sculptors, painters, jewelry-makers, and other artists at work and even purchase their art displayed throughout the restaurant. 

“We have a really vibrant arts community and support about 40 local artists from various media,” says Dave Nicholas, managing partner of Alexandria Restaurant Partners. 

Post-pandemic, the restaurant is busier than ever with diners flocking to the restaurant’s colorful scene. Specials like “Bottomless Dining” and extended happy hours encourage guests to linger and socialize. Fan favorites like sesame steak skewers, Cuban sliders, shrimp tacos, and pork belly bao buns are all designed for groups to sample and share. The bar is constantly evolving its cocktail menu, which also includes a selection of nonalcoholic refreshers.

“There are a lot of great chains who haven’t changed their menu in 20 years, but we want to try new things, be a little edgier and bring global flavors,” says Nicholas. “We constantly listen to guests, and they love the evolution.”

The company, which runs Mia’s, Barca, and Ada’s on the River, has purchased a historic building at Union Market for a second Palette 22 location. “We fell in love with Union Market, and we’re doing some really cool and interesting things,” says Nicholas. Palette22.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2023 issue.

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