By Mike Hulter
It's hard to find a tavern anymore where the building that is so connected to a person so connected to the community. The story of Jimmy's Old Town Tavern is the story of Jimmy Cerrito, a very popular man with lots of friends and some fascinating details to his story. In the midst of downtown Herndon, Jimmy's spot sits across the street from Town Hall, and functions as the town hall for fans of the sports team the Buffalo Bills. Now in its twentieth year, Jimmy's Old Town Tavern remains a boisterous favorite of it's many dedicated regulars.
Having a bar named after you is something many people dream about, but very few people realize what sort of dedication amiability and resilience it requires. Jimmy has a few accomplishments under his belt that demonstrate just what sort of determination and pluck it takes, for example, in 1994 he won the Washington D.C.'s fastest bar tending competition, and several years prior, at the age of twenty four, he broke the world record for longest bar tending shift, accomplishing a mind boggling twelve straight days for charity.
With the slogan, "Where everyone is treated like a regular," Jimmy's exudes down home friendliness, and amiability. At one point Jimmy was witnessed dancing in the street to celebrate once again being voted the king of the wings. This wing competition is a recurring contest, and Jimmy seems to have the most consistent set of enthusiastic regulars.
Currently working on the Buffalo Wing Expansion Project, Jimmy and the crew are raising funds to build a new kitchen, a new dining area, an outdoor beer garden, and new restrooms. Their initial approach to fundraising is to sell the fairly standard array of bumper stickers and beer koozies and baseball hats and t-shirts, but there will be brick walkways leading to the beer garden, and patrons are being offered the chance to purchase a brick to be personalized and placed in the walkway. Aside from these efforts, Jimmy's has also managed to net the support of eighteen different corporate sponsors.
Jimmy's manages to host an array of appealing weekly events such as Sunday poker night, Monday trivia night, Tuesday open mic, live music night, fish fry night, and dj dancing night. The most recurring element though, is the Buffalo Bills games and enthusiasm, sometimes being embodied by a chorus of patrons singing various Buffalo Bills Anthems. The sports crowd has gotten so overwhelming that Jimmy has resorted to sending fans of other teams across the street to O'Sullivan's, whom he convinced to start showing NFL games. A proud member of the community, Jimmy hosts an annual summer golf tournament to help support the Council for the Arts of Herndon. They also feature guest bartenders for charities dedicated to such things as Breast Cancer and Officer Memorials.
Another detail that sets these folks apart is the fact that in 2015 Jimmy and his chef Eric Quarnstrom did a spot on the local news to share their famous chili recipe. Most other establishments guard their recipes as if secrecy were the only thing keeping them afloat, while Jimmy knows that anyone can cook decently, but it takes a tavern to raise a following and cause reason for returning. Jimmy's Old Town Tavern is located at 697 Spring St., Herndon. For additional information, visit www.jimmystavern.com or call (703) 435-5467.
By Mike Hulter