Blue Arbor Cafe

About

Located in the heart of historic Occoquan, the Blue Arbor Café offers soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts in a charming and bright setting.  Our recently updated menu offers traditional favorites with a contemporary flair.

We use fresh ingredients and local vendors like Cardinal Bakery and Mom’s Apple Pie, but we also feature indulgent treats imported from Italy like Panettone. One of our signature items is our bread pudding made from the Panettone and topped with warm brandy butter sauce. Our soups change every day and range from gazpacho to corn chowder to lobster bisque.

We offer dining inside in either our Courtyard room or Arbor room as well as outdoor seating when the weather permits. Our cheery décor makes you feel relaxed and right at home. If you’re on the run, we also offer food to go.

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Steve Power, Owner/Operator

steveBorn and raised in Toledo, OH, Steve Power developed a passion for food at a young age as he began to make breakfast omelets for his family and friends. While in his teens and twenties, he worked various jobs from dishwasher to server to prep cook at restaurants in the Toledo area. Steve then took the plunge as a manager while working at large chain restaurant.

During a long 2 years, Steve worked hard to hone his skills managing a bar, a full-service kitchen, and a 150-person dining room. In 1998, he moved to Woodbridge, VA seeking greater opportunities and a warmer climate.

From 1998 to 2004, Steve worked as a restaurant manager at several local favorites in Alexandria, Fairfax, and Crystal City. In 2004, Steve and his wife bought the restaurant now known as the Blue Arbor Café. Steve continues to own and operate this local establishment that has become a favorite of Occoquan and Prince William County residents.

Our Team

Sherry Mangas, Manager

Sherry loves The Blue Arbor Café and relies on her background in catering to keep things running smoothly. A foodie at hear she is continually in search of unique ideas and introduces different specials to keep the menu fresh and new. Sherry loves to meet quests and find out “their story”. She has said “All the kids I work with are like my own.”

The Staff

The Blue Arbor Café seeks out personable, friendly, and bright individuals for all positions. Our staff consists of individuals from local high schools and college students who often come back season after season.

Our History

The Blue Arbor Café was founded in 2004 by Stephen and Jeanette Power and is located at 201 Union Street in the Historic Town of Occoquan. This area tucked into the corner at Union and Mill Streets is known as “The Courtyard.” It was constructed with bricks from the brick-kiln across the river in what is now The Occoquan Regional Park.

The Town Well was located here in The Courtyard for many years, so this spot has always been a gathering place. Formerly known as Toby’s Café since the early Eighties, The Blue Arbor is in what was once a set of garages for the main house.

During the 1930’s the owner of the property was a car collector and added multiple garages to house his prized possessions. Since then some of shops that have been located here are Rivertown General, a Doll House Shop and a Musical Instrument Store. The Blue Arbor is named so because Steve is a huge University of Michigan fan.
It is said that The Courtyard is haunted by the resident “silent” ghost and he seems to like his abode to be quiet. The merchants in the past have found that their noisy wind chimes are often torn down. There have also been stories of Kitchen knives disappearing only to mysteriously reappear the next day.

Historic Occoquan History

  • The first European explorer to visit Occoquan was Captain John Smith, who took a boatload of Englishmen up the Potomac River in the summer of 1608. They discovered Dogue Indian villages along their journey. The Dogue (also called Doeg, Taux, Taogs or Tauxenents) were Algonquin speakers who were affiliated with Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas’ father.
  • The Dogue Indians settled in this valley and named it “Occoquan” (ok-i-kwan) meaning “at the end of the water.” The river location has made Occoquan a natural site for water-borne commerce from the early days of Virginia. A Tobacco warehouse was built as early as 1736, and by 1758 an industrial complex in Occoquan included forges, grist and saw mills, storehouses and bake houses. Through the years the town’s economy specialized in a wide variety of goods and services, from shipbuilding and cotton products to cord wood, fish, and river ice.
  • The Merchant’s Mill was the first automated grist mill in the nation and was in operation for 175 years until it was destroyed by fire. Occoquan was home of the first commercial ice storage house in the area. Ice from the river was harvested in the winter and stored for shipment to Washington D.C. in the summer. The Iron Works Foundry produced cannons and cannon balls for the American Revolution.
  • In 1916 a fire swept through the town and destroyed almost everything but was quickly rebuilt.
  • In 1972 Hurricane Agnes flooded Occoquan and devastated most of the buildings along Mill Street. Residents and Merchants repaired and restored the historic buildings, and many have now been in continuous use for over 100 years.