By Katie Smythe 
alexandrianews.org

Al's Steak House re-opens (Photo: Katie Smythe)

Al’s Steak House, a local landmark in the Del Ray neighborhood, celebrated its re-opening on Aug. 2, more than a year after a catastrophic fire closed the steak-and-cheese restaurant. The three-alarm fire occurred on July 6, 2016, the first day of operation under new owners – the Breeding family.

One week after the fire, the Del Ray community raised over $20,000 for the Breeding’s rebuilding process, including over $12,600 during a pop-up fundraiser organized by the Del Ray restaurant community. Locals have watched and waited for Al’s to re-open.

Established in 1955, Al’s Steak House has a devoted following across Alexandria and beyond that includes multiple generations of families. Known as “Alexandria’s first and foremost Philly cheesesteak shop”, Al's closed in December 2015 after the death of John Severson, who took over the shop from its namesake in 1965. The much-anticipated re-opening in July 2016 under new owners lasted only a few hours because of the fire.

News that Al’s was up and running again spread quickly. The planned soft opening on July 21 set in motion a steady stream of loyal hungry customers.

Mayor Allison Silberberg (r) cuts cheesesteak sub at re-opening ceremony (Photo: Katie Smythe)

At the official re-opening on Thursday, the traditional ribbon cutting was replaced by a more appropriate cheesesteak sub cutting to mark the official grand re-opening. Mayor Allison Silberberg wielded a knife rather than oversized scissors to mark the occasion. Several current and former City officials attended along with other faithful followers.

“Al’s means a lot to a lot of people,” said Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne. “Thanks for bring Al’s back.” He remembers growing up in Del Ray and walking over to Al’s with $1 that his mother gave him to buy two subs.

City Council member Willie Bailey ate at Al’s as a kid in the 1970s and then brought his own kids to eat there. He looks forward to bringing his grandchildren to eat at Al’s.

Bo Severson, son of the previous owner, simply said: “Dad, this day is for you”.

“Thanks to the Severson family for trusting us with this institution,” said Al's new owner Dorothy Breeding, who grew up in Del Ray. She also thanked the community and loyal customers far and wide.

Al’s Steak House is located at 1504 Mount Vernon Avenue. Al’s offers a variety of cheesesteaks with toppings, plus hot and cold subs, burgers and more. The eat-in/carry-out restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Al’s Steak House is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/alssteaksalexandria/

Al's Steak House Re-Opening

 
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