By Rena Malai | Photos by Mark Gilvey
What do you get when you take homemade cinnamon rolls, mix them with a church, and add an all-day
happy hour and American comfort food?
Well, maybe a big mess in theory. But in reality, these factors are what make Three Monkeys Pub and Chophouse in Manassas the perfect blend of dining, community hang out and great food.
There is a well-known image of three monkeys — one covers its eyes, one its mouth and one its ears. The proverb along with the image basically intones doing the right thing by speaking no evil, hearing no evil and seeing no evil.
This meaning is not lost behind the name of Three Monkeys Pub and Chophouse. The owners — or monkeys in this case — are Karen Weed Williams, Travis Williams and Billy Wiseman. Friends for years, these three wanted to come together to create a place in the heart of Manassas where they could offer great food and give back to the community, according to Wiseman.
“We wanted a place that people could go to, a place that’s grounded in the community,” Wiseman said. “We feel our place does just that. We put a lot of thought into making sure everyone who comes here feels welcome and part of the family.”
Opened in 2018, Three Monkeys is situated in one of the most historical landmarks on Mansassas’ Center Street — a 147-yearold church in the middle of the town’s historic district. Inside, instead of pews, patrons will find a sports bar, two separate dining areas and free Wi-Fi.
“Each room offers a feel and mood, from our gorgeous back patio to our banquet room,” Wiseman says. “There is something for everyone here.”
It’s said that the heart of a home is the kitchen. At Three Monkeys Pub and Chophouse, that heart seems to expand way beyond the kitchen, as the owners are committed to serving their community.
From partnering with local food banks to making personal food box donations, Wiseman says that giving back to the community is at the heart of everything that makes the establishment run. “You can’t ask a community to support you when you don’t do anything to support your community,” he said. “We are
constantly looking and thinking of ways to get involved.”
One of those ways is minimizing food insecurity, which has increased in the last year due to the pandemic. With many restaurant employees losing jobs as a result of COVID-19, it’s been challenging for some to access basic food supplies. By partnering with Prince William County Food Rescue, Wiseman said it’s been possible to help fill and distribute food boxes to the community and eliminate 60% of the restaurant’s food waste.
“We regularly help to donate food boxes of perishable and nonperishable items to restaurant employees within Prince William County, who have had their hours and pay cut, or lost their jobs completely,” Wiseman says. “We started with our own staff, and then expanded to do the same in the community. We also recycle our food waste into compost and feed to help local farmers.”
The business did slow down with COVID-19, he says, and it created the opportunity for community expansion. The owners had to get creative with keeping Three Monkeys Pub and Chophouse active within the community during a time when the community mainly stayed indoors.
“Business was slow, and we had to rethink how to continue to conduct business,” Wiseman said. “Everyone was hit by the pandemic, and we started thinking about how to better assist people, and getting involved in anything we could get involved in.”
This included selling their signature cinnamon rolls at the farmers market, distributing donuts to law enforcement during police week and renting out space in the restaurant — for free.
“We at times waived fees for renting out a room, which ended up being beneficial for everyone,” Billy said. “We’d rather rent it out for free than simply having the room sit there empty and unused. We’ve hosted events for the Phoenix Irish Dancers, local charities and a summer camp that will use our lower level space
during the week.”
The owners also organized COVID-19 vaccines earlier in the year for all Three Monkeys Pub and Chophouse staff, ensuring everyone working is 100% vaccinated and safe.
Of course, as much as community is important, so is food. Three Monkeys Pub and Chophouse understands this very well.
Their menu offers weekend brunch and daily lunch and dinner with an American comfort food theme. Diners can enjoy twists on classics like deep fried deviled eggs, chicken and dumplings, and Monkey Balls loaded with cheese and bacon.
“Our kitchen staff is very creative, and we are always thinking of menu items that will make our customers happy,” Billy says.
Three Monkeys Pub and Chophouse also understands the necessity of brunch-time cocktails, offering specials on bloody Marys and mimosas at weekend brunch. This is in addition to a happy hour that runs all day, every day. Yes, that is correct.
All day, every day. And, first responders, teachers and hospital workers in the community can receive 15% off of their total tab.
‘We wanted to do something for those people who have really stepped up during the pandemic, like our teachers and hospital workers, as well as our law enforcement and firefighters,” said Wiseman.
Three Monkeys Pub and Chophouse is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. They offer a variety of specials, game nights, karaoke events and discounts each day. Visit threemonkeysmanassas.com for more information or call 703-330-0500.
Rena Malai is a freelance writer. She has covered a variety of topics ranging from national news, to food, to technology. She lives in Prince William and is a native Washingtonian.