David Conn, chef/managing partner of Nomad Grill & Hookah Bar, wants to make his new Herndon business the finest Southern/American/Middle Eastern restaurant and hookah bar around.
That’s because it is the only Southern/American/Middle Eastern restaurant and hookah bar around.
Conn and partners opened Nomad in early May at 137 Spring St. in Herndon, just over the border from Reston. They took over where Sphinx, another hookah bar, used to be located.
But Conn says the total decor and menu makeover is indicative of Nomad’s outlook.
“The biggest difference is we are a chef-driven place with thoughtful combinations,” said Conn. “We’ve got unique ideas and diverse ingredients.”
Take the butterbean hummus, for instance, which combines Conn’s training in Tennessee with the flavors of of North Africa. Same with the black-eyed pea felafel and the Moroccan meat loaf on the menu.
There are still strictly American favorites too. Conn says he wants to make the best burger for lunch. He is also proud of the grilled cheese sandwich with Cooper’s Sharp American cheese, which he searched for to get the flavor exactly correct, he says.
If hookah is your thing, Nomad is offering opening specials of $12 rounds, featuring more than a dozen flavors, including grape, watermelon, strawberry and mint. A special air filtration system keeps the space from getting to smokey, says Conn.
Conn took the long route to get the Nomad. A former professional musician, conductor and music professor at Cornell University, Conn worked his way through kitchens in New York City, Chicago, Savannah and Nashville before opening Kitty’s Saloon on H Street NE in Washington, D.C. last year.
Nomad owner Anise Amri also has an outpost in the H Street Corridor. Conn says Amri came into Kitty’s Saloon often, and the two decided to expand into the suburbs.
Nomad, 137 Spring St. (Sunset Park Center), is open 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The restaurant features a full bar.