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Ashby Ponds’ taste of the good life

Robin’s Nest Café offers restaurant quality dining at home

Created date

March 22nd, 2011
I have the best job in the world, I thought as I sat down to a heaping dish of spicy Italian sausage, succulent fresh vegetables, perfectly cooked al dente pasta, and a hearty tomato sauce. On this particular lucky day I found myself dining in Ashby Ponds popular Robin s Nest Caf in Ashburn, Va. For more than two years, I ve spoken with numerous community members who ve raved about the caf s highly regarded menu options. So it was high time I found out what all the fuss is about. I couldn t have been more pleased. Accompanying me on the afternoon s food adventure was my two-year-old son, Ryan. Since many community members enjoy inviting friends, family, and especially grandchildren, to dine with them at the Robin s Nest Caf , I figured his assessment would be insightful. As we walked into the caf , it was impossible not to feel welcomed and relaxed. It was a cold afternoon, and both my son and I were delighted by the roaring fire in the dining area. The large glass windows and ceiling bathed the numerous diners in sunlight and immediately made me feel right at home. Stephen Aigner, Ashby Ponds director of dining services, met the two of us as we were perusing the listed menu of the daily options. Choice is the best way to describe the Robin s Nest Caf , he explained. Most of our offerings are not composed dishes. Items on our pasta and salad bar, as well as our popular grill items, encourage diners to build their meal in a way that meets their specific tastes. On the afternoon of my visit, the menu consisted of a pasta station which included chicken, sausage, and an unbelievable selection of fresh vegetables from zucchini to carrots. The hot entree was an enticingly aromatic seafood stew served with mussels and rice, and the soup was a hearty ginger and carrot bisque. As I debated my options, I saw numerous paninis of the day, a classic Reuben, and a steak salad being enjoyed by caf guests. There was also a line forming at the grill for classic hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and fries. For guests who want a quick bite on the run, the Robin s Nest Caf offers a Grab and Go station stocked full of sandwiches, salads, and desserts. All our Grab and Go options are prepared and packed fresh every day, says Aigner. When it comes to creating our menu, we work hard not to repeat items too frequently. We are almost like a test kitchen because we get lots of feedback for our community members and we act on those comments.

The regulars chime in

The food here is terrific, says Ashby Ponds community member Natalie Margiotta, who was dining with friends during my visit. I think our dining service does a wonderful job. It s hard to please over 500 people, but with all their creative offerings, they really do. We are always pampered here at Ashby Ponds but especially in the Blue Sky Dining Room and the Robin s Nest Caf , says Joan Foote. The staff is excellent and the servers are amazing. I couldn t praise the experience more. We enjoy the always available hot dogs and hamburgers, says Jack and Yoska Willebeek-LeMair. We also like the various soups, especially the cream of mushroom and cream of crab soups. With all the talking about food, my little Ryan, like myself, was quickly getting hungry. To my surprise, Aigner offered him a color-your-own children s menu and crayons. His choices included a grilled cheese sandwich, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pasta with marinara sauce, or chicken fingers. But he s free to enjoy whatever we can make, assured Aigner. Ryan opted for kid-favorite chicken fingers with a side of fries. He was more than pleased with his meal and even had leftovers to take home. This made an already pleasing dining experience even better. As a mother of three boys, I know firsthand how important it is to satisfy young dining companions. Content and full, Ryan and I grabbed some ice cream to go, determined to come back again soon to enjoy a tasty meal at Ashby Ponds Robin s Nest Caf .