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There’s a gondola outside the ‘Aspen on the Avenue’ popup in Del Ray

There’s nothing like numbing your aching body with a hot toddy after a long day on the slopes.

That’s the vibe that the owners of the Aspen on the Avenue popup (2312 Mount Vernon Avenue) have in mind. There’s a two-seat gondola parked outside the restaurant and bar greeting customers as they walk into a warm environment with a fake fireplace, a fake brick wall, lots of skis and two giant backlit photos of idyllic snowy scenes.

“Our gondola doesn’t go to Arlington,” joked popup owner Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group. “It doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s great for selfies.”

“Mango” Mike Anderson, who owns the popup with Blackburn, found the gondola for sale at HomeGoods in Potomac Yard.

The popup is located between HRG’s other Del Ray restaurants, Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow. It was previously The Sushi Bar for eight years before closing at the end of 2021. Since then, the space has changed concepts as a popup every few months.

“We get to create new concepts and decorate new restaurants and brands without having to deal with the back-of-the-house regulatory, mundane stuff that comes with opening a new restaurant,” Blackburn said. “I think it keeps us fresh.”

The bar menu includes craft cocktails, like the ski lemon meringuetini, a concoction made from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Meyer lemon, Grand Marnier, lemon curd, Simple and brulee meringue, which is toasted at the bar with a torch. There are 11 appetizers on food menu, the most filling of which is the chicken chili bread bowl — Pork Barrel BBQ’s white chicken chili served in a bread bowl.

The seasonal popup will be open until late March and will reopen as a new concept in early April, Blackburn said.

Aspen on the Avenue is open Sunday to Wednesday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight.

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