Jan 18, 2022
Even if you haven’t been to The Inn at Little Washington, you’re likely aware of it. For a long time now, the three-Michelin-star restaurant and lodging has been the only game in town for guests wishing to dine in that other Washington—the one tucked in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But chef-owner Patrick O’Connell’s more casual sequel, Patty O’s Café & Bakery, now provides an additional option to diners heading just southwest of NoVA. With the help of chef Devin Bozkaya and head baker Christian Capo, both alums of The Inn at Little Washington, O’Connell has created another experience bound to draw visitors out to this petite burg. We asked him about what diners should expect when they head down to his European-style cafe.
Why did you open Patty O’s?
Opening a cafe in the village of Little Washington has been a dream for many years. I’ve always loved the sidewalk cafes of Europe and wanted to provide an experience like that for our town and guests at The Inn at Little Washington. Patty O’s Café & Bakery is in the heart of our town square in a building that was formerly a gas station—a colorful past shared by The Inn at Little Washington’s main building.
What are your favorite dishes, and why?
Every dish on the menu was chosen because it was one of my personal favorite things to eat. Even though many are simple American classics, they are rarely found beautifully prepared with the finest ingredients. Our half-pound beef burger from Virginia’s historic Ovoka Farm with tomato jam, crispy onions, and Comté cheese is an example of such a dish.
Will the menu and pastries showcase your famous whimsical streak?
Definitely! Our famous butter-pecan ice cream—which [restaurant critic] Craig Claiborne called the best butter-pecan ice cream in the world—has been brought back and reimagined. It’s served in a very tall Alice in Wonderland–like coupe with caramel sauce that makes everyone feel like a kid again. The carrot cake with its garnish of a ginger-leaf tuile is straight out of a fairy tale.
How often will the menu change?
We intend to have a daily special, and there will be a seasonal rotation of some items to complement what we are growing in our own greenhouses, orchards, gardens, and farms, as well as what we source locally.