Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.

Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our First Open Restaurant Thread

For those regular viewers of the Restaurant Blog, we've got a challenge for you.  Click on the comment block below and for our first survey thread, here's the topic:

What is the name of first restaurant you remember as a child, where was it, what did they serve, and most importantly, what made it special?

Dont be shy.  We look forward to reading your comments!


  1. For me, McDonalds. No, not the place with the clown, arches, and drive-through windows. This McDonalds was a steak house in Pearl River, NY (just over the border from northern NJ). The entire place was adorned with guns. Guns on the cieling, walls, everywhere. Great steaks, neighborhood-y kind of place. To differentiate between the fast food place, we called this place "McDonalds with the Guns".

  2. Friendly's in Fayetteville, NY, back in the day before the chain became a whacky, bright-colored kiddy place. The New England clam chowder, crinkle-cut French fries, shaved ice in the soda, and the sundaes. My dad would order the Jim Dandy Sundae. Good stuff.

  3. Any suggestions on a good place to get some really good Texas Chili? We used to go to Bar J TexMex Restaurant out on Gordon's Blvd towards Lake Ridge but since they've closed their doors we can't find anything that has really good Texas Chili? from Susie Phillips - creationrules@yahoo.com

  4. Susie, thanks for the question. There is no easy answer here as good Texas Chili is hard to come by. Having never visited Bar J, we really don’t have a comparison answer for you other than to sacrifice really good with good plus variety. For that, I suggest any of the chain of Hard Times Cafes in Northern Virginia (www.hardtimes.com). I think anyone you ask will mention Ben’s Chili Bowl, but for my money (and palate) I say stay away. Ben’s is more novelty than substance.

    I mention variety because Hard Times serves its chili in not only four different varieties, but on and with a number of applications. I’ve tried all four and even though I think the Terlingua Red is best, they have the standard Texas as well as Cincinnati Chili (not too crazy about the Cincinnati since it is too over-the-top with cinnamon). They even serve a vegetarian chili. They apply their chili to spaghetti, tater tots, over corn bread, and my personal favorite over a healthy portion of Fritos Corn Chips. You can also just get a plain ol’ bowl of chili.

    There are many outlets, check out their website for exact locations. I do know of one in Woodbridge (close to Lake Ridge) but they’re all over the place. I even found one at National’s Stadium in DC during a game I attended last baseball season.

    Hope that helps, and thanks again for commenting on the Restaurant Blog.

    Bill & Elena