clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Vim & Victor
Half of the dining area at Vim & Victor is full of sofas for people looking to lounge after ordering from the grab-and-go counter.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Filed under:

Inside Spike Mendelsohn’s Healthy Restaurant at a 450,000-Square-Foot Sports Complex

Vim & Victor opens this week at the St. James complex in Springfield

Vim & Victor opens to the public this week at the St. James, adding celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn’s foray into health food to the all-encompassing sports and wellness complex that sprawls over 450,000 square feet in an industrial area of Springfield, Virginia.

After offering a limited menu to St. James members for the past month, Vim & Victor’s grab-and-go counter and full-service restaurant will roll out full menus of trend-heavy health food — there will be acai, turmeric, and CBD plant water — and indulgent sources of protein to all comers on Thursday, January 10. That will officially end a wait that began when the St. James opened in mid-September.

The goal for Mendelsohn — the Top Chef alum behind Good Stuff Eatery; We, the Pizza; and Santa Rosa Taqueria — was to create a communal space for people to huddle after partaking in the seemingly never-ending variety of activities the luxury complex has to offer. In addition to a health club and spa, there is a massive indoor field house with artificial turf, two NHL-size ice rinks, a rock climbing wall, an indoor water park, and an active entertainment center that boasts indoor trampolines and virtual reality suites.

To please every demographic that might walk through the door, the white-painted, minimalist dining room at Vim & Victor is split into two main areas: a casual seating lounge to serve the grab-and-go counter flows into a full-service dining space with a full bar. Mendelsohn tells Eater that a patio will open in the spring, and the total capacity of the restaurant will be about 140 people. Executive chef Brian Lacayo, who has worked with Mendelsohn for about 15 years, will oversee the kitchen.

The grab-and-go counter (6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will serve personal pizzas, baked goods, roasted vegetable plates, and acai bowls, but drinks take up the majority of the menu.

That starts with Intelligentsia coffee from Mendelsohn’s namesake blend. “Wellness” lattes froth with with turmeric, matcha, and cayenne. Vim & Victor has partnered with Goûter to offer alkaline water tonics and non-dairy “melks.” Pure Green juices are for sale, and four blenders stand at the ready to fulfill smoothie orders.

“I’m excited for the launch of the grab-and-go area because it reminds me a little bit of the West Coast that I love, the style of eating,” Mendelsohn tells Eater.

Vim & Victor’s grab-and-go counter will offer personal pizzas, roasted vegetables, Intelligentsia coffee, alkaline water tonics, and cold-pressed juice.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The all-day menu at the restaurant will target families looking to regroup, diners trying to watch a ballgame with a beer, or whole teams from the sports leagues that compete at the St. James’s facilities. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. but has no set closing time.

That way, Mendelsohn says, Vim & Victor can gauge demand and stay open to serve adults wrapping up late rec league games. He said he recently brought up his hockey team for cast iron chicken wings and beers the other night.

“I scored a goal last week. I was so excited,” Mendelsohn says. “It was like the most exciting thing I’ve done in my life.”

With an all-day menu meant to satisfy soccer moms and body builders alike, Vim & Victor will serve a variety of toasts, salads, sandwiches, and large-format proteins. The latter includes a whole roasted branzino, a roasted half chicken with green goddess sauce, and a spice-rubbed bone-in ribeye.

Vim & Victor has partnered with Beyond Meat to offer burgers and sausages made with pea protein. Mendelsohn is particularly excited about roasted cauliflower nachos.

Vim & Victor
The dining area at Vim & Victor is split into a casual seating are for the grab-and-go-counter, high-top tables for prime TV viewing, and dining tables for the full-service crowd.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Dining tables at Vim & Victor are meant for groups who want to gather for a full-service meal after coming in from training at the gym or competing in sports.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
The bar at Vim & Victor has no set closing time yet but will remain open for athletes who compete in adult sports leagues at night.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The part about the kitchen that really excites Mendelsohn takes place beyond the walls of Vim & Victor. The chef and restaurateur says he has a 10-year contract to provide food and beverage to all corners of the gargantuan complex, and he’s already planted a market kiosk selling kombucha on-tap, Dolcezza push-up pops, and CBD-infused plant water from his company PLNT in a common area in between the turf fields and the ice rinks. Earlier this week, custom packed lunches for a youth hockey team practicing below waited at the kiosk in white paper bags.

With a liquor license spanning the entire property, Vim & Victor can sell drinks to parents who want to knock one back while they watch their kids play. Mendelsohn envisions bringing hot pretzel hawkers and snack kiosks right into the stands. An empty corner near a kids play area dabbles as a pop-up bar.

Mendelsohn has reached the level of celebrity where he has videos to on his phone of the cookout he coordinated at rock ‘n’ roll manager Shep Gordon’s Maui estate over New Year’s Eve. But when he talks about partnering with the St. James, he sounds like crusty golf pro espousing the virtues of working at the club. Every member of the restaurant’s staff gets a membership at the St. James.

“I wake up excited to come here for real because there’s so much to do,” he says. “When can you work a service and go in the steam room and hang out afterwards? Tell me any restaurant job you’ve ever had that had that capability.”

Vim & Victor
Vim & Victor is located at the front of the St. James to the left of the main desk.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Blue Ridge Bucha kombucha is on tap at a Vim & Victor market kiosk in between the indoor field house and the ice rinks at the St. James.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Spike Mendelsohn is selling bottles of CBD-infused plant water from his company PLNT at Vim & Victor’s market kiosk.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Spike Mendelsohn has plans to open snack stands and dispatch pretzel hawkers for youth sports games in the indoor field house.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
With a liquor license covering the entire 450,000-square-foot complex, Vim & Victor can sell drinks to hockey parents who want something to sip while their kids play.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Spike Mendelsohn at Vim & Victor
Spike Mendelsohn at Vim & Victor.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Coming Attractions

A Flashy Formula 1 Bar Zooms Into D.C. Next Summer


Shop for Pastry Pro Paola Velez’s Popular Sticky Buns at Nordstrom’s U.S. Cafes

Where to Find D.C. Food and Drink Deals During a (Very Likely) Government Shutdown