Like the proverbial sports team in the well-worn coach’s cliche, Sean Early would prefer to take his life-changing events “one-game-at-a-time.”
Life, unlike football, can’t always be scheduled that way.
Early and his fiancée, Jaimee, welcomed their first child, Sean Jr., on March 13. If that weren’t enough to keep him busy, Early is also working feverously for the opening of the Bungalow Alehouse in Ashburn, his first opportunity to be the operating partner over one of his parents’ many local restaurants.
“People are always asking, when are going to open, and I tell them right when the baby comes of course” Early said. “It seems the universe sometimes likes to have everything happen at once.”
The Bungalow Alehouse, which is going into the former Bertucci’s space in the Ashburn Crossroads, is the latest restaurant being built by Sean’s parents, Keith and Cheryl Early and their Escape Group of Restaurants.
Sean said he grew up in and around the restaurant business, including the Bungalow Billiards and Brew Company in Chantilly, Bungalow Alehouse in Woodbridge and Bungalow Lakehouse in Sterling.
“I used to do my homework in the front booth at Bungalow Billiards in Chantilly,” he said. “It was fun growing up in restaurants, being in an adult environment. It helped me grow up a little bit faster and I learned how to talk to adults at an early age.”
Sean said the new location, at Ashburn Village Boulevard and Farmwell Road, is the perfect place to plant the family’s next restaurant flag.
“It’s kind of funny because my dad had his eye on this corner for a long time,” Sean said. “He has always thought it was an excellent location. So when Bertucci’s closed, it was the perfect corner location to consider bringing a Bungalow style restaurant and billiards into the Ashburn area.”
Bungalow Alehouse will offer a wide selection of beer and wine, excellent food and eight full-size billiard tables. There is also an outdoor patio that will have a full-service bar.
While the array of pool tables harkens back to the original Bungalows in Chantilly as well as the Cascades location Sean said he thinks the Alehouse is a step forward more than a nod to the past.
“I like to think of it as a culmination of all of our concepts, past and present” he said. “It really just incorporates all the best parts of everything we have done over the years and brings them all together into one Ashburn location.”
Sean said the interior has been completely remodeled to better utilize the space needed for what the Earlys’ envisioned.
“We walked in and it was apparent that our concept wouldn’t work with the former floor plan,” he said. “The kitchen was almost 50 percent of the floor space. We brought it down to about a 25 percent footprint, moved the electric and gas lines and installed all new hoods.”
Sean said many of the familiar dishes from the other restaurants all of which are overseen by Executive Chef Bobby Vickers, will be on the new Alehouse menu, along with other dishes developed specifically for the new location.
“Chef Vickers is phenomenal,” Sean said. “He is always trying something new and he always has a new take on taste or presentation. He can always find ways to take something that is fairly common and make it fun and exciting.” Chef Vickers will oversee the kitchen staff at Alehouse.
Sean also said he hopes to greatly expand on the variety of beer customers have come to enjoy which will be fairly vast since its an Alehouse.