Northern Light

Northside Social adds buzz to coffee-shop fare

With a questionable fruit Danish here and a semi-stiff croissant there, coffee-shop regulars know the food options can get pretty repetitive.

Which is why Northside Social is a welcome relief for hungry coffee seekers.

This new Clarendon café, which is run by the team behind The Liberty Tavern, makes habit-worthy breakfast items in a sunny, two-story landmark building.

Liberty Tavern's pastry chef, Rob Valencia, oversees the baking. At breakfast, cake trays are filled with enticements like a coffee cake muffin fluffed with ribbons of cinnamon ($2), and a just-tart-enough lemon-blueberry muffin ($2). Starting next month, the pastries will rotate weekly.

Scones ($2) are anything but bland mounds of dough. The Chunky Monkey (pictured) packs chocolate, banana and pecans into each fist-size triangle. Apple is a pie in scone form: two brown-sugared halves sandwiching diced apples.

The Tavern's chef, Liam LaCivita, oversees the savory dishes, including three breakfast sandwiches ($4) made with local ingredients and served on house-made bread. Opt for house-cured bacon and a Polyface egg with frisée on Italian feather loaf, or homemade ricotta on an English muffin. Later in the day, the kitchen rolls out small plates and sandwiches along with cookies, cakes and an evening wine bar.

Attention to the caffeine doesn't wane: A director of coffee ensures the quality of pour-over and drip options from Counter Culture. Combine that with Wi-Fi and a huge front patio, and there are plenty of reasons to become a morning person.

Northside Social, 3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-465-0145 or northsidesocialarlington.com