Gym-café concept to take over Ray’s the Steaks restaurant in Courthouse | ARLnow

A one stop shop for a workout and post-workout meal is preparing to open in the former Ray’s the Steaks location in Courthouse.

The next gym-café, FitDistrict, will have a bit of everything: hot yoga studios, cycling and interval training classes, and a varied menu ranging from wheatgrass shots to comforting and healthy classics, like shepherd’s pie.

“It’s been a dream for a long time,” says owner and founder Catherine Ford, also an Arlington resident.

Construction began about two weeks ago on the approximately 7,500 square foot space of the Navy League Building at 2300 Wilson Blvd. It was home to the iconic no-frills steakhouse until it closed in 2019.

She plans to open the gym and restaurant at the same time in July.

“We’re all so busy and we’re all hungry for belonging and community – now more than ever – so it’s going to be about fitness and food, but it’s about belonging and community,” a- she declared. “Our slogan is ‘feel good here’, because that’s what it’s all about.”

After completing a workout, gym members can head to the cafe, which will have indoor and outdoor seating, or pick up a take-out order they placed before their workout. . Ford designed the menu, which offers vegan, vegetarian and paleo options.

“The idea was born out of something I wanted in my own life and my personal struggles to fit it all in,” she said.

The FitDistrict logo (courtesy photo)

As a financial planner, Ford struggled to find time for her two passions: taking group fitness classes and cooking healthy foods. As someone who enjoyed a variety of workouts, she maintained multiple memberships at different boutique gyms.

The idea for a place with multiple studios and a restaurant came to her 10 years ago when she was hungry after a barre class she took before a meeting. She pondered the concept for years before deciding to act.

“I’m grateful that I found the courage a few years ago to pursue it,” she said. “It has already been the trip of a lifetime.”

Ford incorporated FitDistrict in 2017 and found a bank to work with in 2018. It took a few years to find the right location, but it finally signed a lease on the space just over a year ago. year. Now she is focused on building and hiring for multiple positions.

She still works as a daytime financial planner, but her hope is to go full-time and eventually add locations.

Dino S. Williams