Pasha Café and Billy's Cheesesteaks
Bill Hamrock is the owner of both the Pasha Café and Billy's Cheesesteaks in Cherrydale. He was a "foodie" before the word was invented. In fact, his interest in the restaurant business began when he was just 13-years-old and took his first job working at the Three Pigs Barbecue in McLean, one of the region's best restaurants for pulled pork, according to the Washington Post.
Hamrock attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and from there went on to work in a variety of restaurants, from a small hotel outside Zurich, Switzerland to the Ritz-Carlton in Tyson's Corner and the Carlyle Grande Café. Throughout all the years and the various kitchens with an array of colleagues and cuisine, his ultimate goal was to open his own business.
He came back to his roots to open his first restaurant, Portabellos on North Pollard Street. In 2005 he moved to Lee Highway and re-opened as Pasha's Café. "My goal was to open a small, family-friendly neighborhood restaurant and so far it's been good," said Hamrock. "My idea was a Middle Eastern restaurant and make it more Mediterranean."
This past fall he opened a second restaurant, Billy's Cheesesteaks, right next door to Pasha's Café. They have a connecting doorway which allows Hamrock to move easily between the two.
"We're a small neighborhood business, part of the community," says Hamrock who is enjoying his job.
As a partner and supporter of the Car-Free Diet, Hamrock leads by example, riding either his Bianci or "old" Raleigh bike to work from his home in Fairfax once or twice a week, a 15 mile trip each way. A couple of his employees also commute by bike.
But what gets him especially excited is what's around the corner as the season changes.
"This summer, from June through September, we'll have a menu with vegetables that will come from our own garden," he said. This was an initiative he launched last year and for 2012 the restaurant garden will be expanded to include several different varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, squash, various herbs, and cucumbers.
By growing their own produce, it not only reduces costs, but also helps to reduce their carbon footprint and provides their customers with fresh vegetables, which makes good business sense.
3907 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22207