Sunday, July 26th, 2009...7:42 pm

Digital Nomads and Ad Hoc Work Spaces – Leesburg, Ashburn, and Sterling locations

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The article is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/25/AR2009072500878.html?hpid=topnews

And here’s my list:

Atlanta Bread Company – Dulles Town Crossing (around the corner from the Best Buy)

I thought this would be a nice change of pace from Panera, and they do indeed have decent food for prices no more outrageous than the office cafeteria. But their WiFi has always been very spotty and I could only find two wall outlets — one at a two-top beside the register where foot traffic would get annoying, and one by the fireplace where there’s only cushy armchairs to sit on. On a nice day the outdoor seating is great for those with battery life and undemanding network needs.

Border’s Books – Border’s Plaza Rt 7 Countryside (right beside Regal Plaza)

Not free the last time I checked, but if the trend continues and providing free WiFi gets more recognition for being good for business, I imagine the Borders, Starbucks, and McDonalds pay spots will eventually open up.

Cafe Sphinx – Sunset Park, Herndon

Food was only fair, but the decor of this hookah bar was over the top. And it was pretty dead, so I could probably nurse a pot of tea for a few hours without feeling like an imposition. I haven’t been there since November. I was circling the hospital area a few weeks before and a week after Max was born and stumbled on it. If I drive out there to give it another try only to find it’s out of business, no loss — I’d have an excuse to check out the Amphora Bakery with Free WiFi in the same shopping center.

Chick-fil-a

I haven’t actually tried it, since the places are usually overrun and I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable hogging a table for a few hours. Might be worth a shot if I’m ever watching the boys and trying to get work done at the same time.

Foster’s Grille – Herndon and Ashburn locations

Decent food, though wings and laptops are a dangerous combination. The one in Ashburn has had a million empty tables every time I’ve visited.

Greenberry’s Coffee and Tea Company – 7 Business, Leesburg

Definitely set up for office nomads, with several single-seater locations and lots of wall outlets. The service here may not take their jobs as seriously as you do, and you might catch them sweeping your feet away 30 minutes before closing.

Kabob Cafe – Regal Plaza, Countryside

I haven’t been here in quite a while, but I’ve always enjoyed their food. I’ll have to roll by and see how well their WiFi works.

Loudoun County Libraries

Ashburn Library is the closest to me, so I can run home and save a few bucks on lunch.

Haven’t been to Sterling Library, but I’ve driven by it and said “Oh yeah! There’s one here, too!” a few times.

Cascades Library is close to some nice breakfast and lunch spots, if that’s important to your daily routine.

Rust Library next to Ida Lee park. Chris reports they just reopened from their renovations.

Panera – Leesburg Corner, Landsdowne Center, and Ryan Park Shopping Center in Ashburn

This is my old stand by. Usually plenty of tables so I don’t feel guilty about staking one out for several hours. Quite a few wall outlets. Outdoor seating. Decent food and coffee. The only challenge here is the occasional parent who think it’s OK to let children run amok through restaurants.

Robinette’s Coffee – “Olde Town” Ashburn

This one went out of business. Sometimes the quiet qualities I desire in a work spot aren’t exactly good for revenue.

Sakasa Tea and Coffee – north of 7 across from the GWU Ashburn campus

Nice tea selection. Good smoothies. So-so food. Walls of windows for bright, natural light. Usually empty with the occasional to-go order passing through, but it’s furnished to be kid-friendly, so you might have to suck it up and listen to kids playing for a while. The owner might blast bad television a couple hours a day, too. One outdoor table in WiFi range for the nice days. Unusually early closing time for a coffee shop encourages me to leave at a reasonable hour for some work-life balance. This is a rare, undiscovered gem in the area. I really hope this place remains dead but magically stays in business.

Shoes Cup and Cork Club – 17 N King Street, Leesburg

Chris told me about this one. It’s brand new so I haven’t tried it yet. It has three good reviews on Yelp already.

Vintage 50 – 50 Catoctin Ct. NE, Leesburg

I haven’t had a chance to try this place yet, but it sounds nice from what I’ve heard from Jacob. We’re talking about a real restaurant, not just a deli or coffee shop with microwaved chicken sandwiches. The brew lounge has free WiFi and doesn’t get too loud between lunch and dinner hours. I imagine I wouldn’t have much luck working through a booming happy hour if the place picks up, though.

Wegmans

We’ve all probably been there. Good selection of food. Pretty crowded most days.

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