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Los Toltecos Serving Up New Menu, Authentic Mexican Atmosphere

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — A Mexican restaurant in Lake Ridge is under new management and has a new colorful way of welcoming its customers.

Los Toltecos in The Glenn Shopping Center has completely redone its dining room with new light fixtures, tables and chairs, as well as new art – from life-sized giraffes, murals, and oversized masks – all are bright and colorful, authentic items imported here from Mexico.

There’s a real tropical feel here… I literally tried to bring back the feel of the real Mexico,” said general manager Alejandro Lopez.

Since taking over in February, Lopez has made making the Los Toltecos in Lake Ridge a viable, successful restaurant. He drives to Lake Ridge each day from his home in Frederick, Md. to work at the eatery, and he says daily drink specials from 3 to 8 p.m., World Cup games on TV, and a newly revamped menu have brought in customers willing to give the place a second try.

Lopez says turning around the restaurant hasn’t been easy. The corner eatery in 2009 had developed a reputation as a nightclub and was often the scene of late-night parking lot fights, said Lopez.

Since then, a glass partition was erected to separate the non-smoking bar from the restaurant. It keeps out the noise of sports on TVs and loud music from the dining room while allowing bar guests to enjoy a fun atmosphere filled with salsa music.

The restaurant manager says he printed menus and took them to area businesses and schools and asked people to give his restaurant a second try. He said the push has won over a few new fans.

One of the best new dishes on the menu is the Toltecos Parrillada – two pieces of carne asada, chicken, covered in cheese and chorizo sausage, served with rice, beans, and corn or flour tortillas for $15.95. It’s one of over 50 menu options all made with fresh ingredients that cost more but taste better, said Lopez.

While Lopez is from Mexico and returns every few months to see family and brush up on recipes, he comes Northern Virginia from Wisconsin where he says there is fierce competition in the Mexican restaurant business.
“You go to Chicago and Wisconsin and there are Mexican restaurants on every corner,” he said. It’s not like that here in Northern Virginia, he adds.

There are five Los Toltecos locations in Northern Virginia including Lake Ridge, one in Winchester, and one in Maryland. The restaurant hopes to expand into the fine dining market with a new concept called “Senor Tequila’s” and into the fast-food market with their take on something like Chipotle called “Mr. Burritos.”

Los Toltecos in Lake Ridge is located at 4120 Merchant Plaza.

News
DAKS Grill Closing, Owners Promise New Location

DALE CITY, Va. — DAKS Grill on Minnieville Road will close today.

The owner of the business in a statement to Potomac Local News noted the restaurant will reopen soon in another location, but did not state why this location of 23 years would close.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the closing of our Dale City location,” the statement read.

The restaurant has come to be known for its American fare and its outdoor patio. In recent years the size of the establishment’s parking lot grew smaller as new businesses, including a car wash, opened next door.

The location in an old stone house dates back to when much of Woodbridge was a rural farming community. A historical marker next to the restaurant denotes the old stone farm house as being common architecture of Northern Virginia during the early to mid part of the 20th century. Originally a hog farm, the farm was converted to dairy in the 1950s. The buildings were later torn down in 1991 ending the life of the last major farm in eastern Prince William County, the marker states.

Next to the old the spot as the location of the old Russell General Store, this was at the center of commercial life for the farming area then known as Bethel, Smoketown, and Hoadley, and Agnewville, the marker states. Before it was demolished, it served as the home for Ernie Sullins Outlet – a discount clothier known for their outrageous local TV commercials.

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Going Bannanas Over Gourmet Pizza in Manassas Park

Potomac Local Leaders 

The owner and chef of Pizza Spot in Manassas Park first got his hands into the dough at just 16 years old.

After completing culinary school, Rajeev, who prefers to go by the last name “C,” pursued a Bachelors Degree in hotel and restaurant management. Upon graduation, he quickly moved up to fine dining and service learning from renowned chefs at several leading hotel chains in Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia including The Omni Hotel and The Four Seasons Hotel, all while completing an MBA.  

After 15 years, he was eager to return to the fast pace of restaurant work. Being inspired by a family of great cooks and a successful catering business, he knew he was born to cook. On July 4, 2010, he realized his life long dream and opened Pizza Spot in Manassas Park. As a resident of Manassas with his wife and daughter, the location and timing was perfect.

Vickers: Why is your pizza so good and can you describe your top three selling pizzas?

Rajeev: As authentic as pizza gets, we are not your average pizza joint. Offering the best in ingredients, we make our own dough and sauces fresh in the restaurant. We serve lunch and dinner seven days a week. Many of our regular customers call ahead for take-out or take advantage of free delivery (within 3 miles). Pizza Spot is known to have something for everyone. Our menu consists of a large variety of signature pizzas, calzones, pasta, salad, Panini and our wings. Our handpicked colossal wings range from sweet chili to fiery hot. Our chicken wings are prepared with a homemade seasoned marinade and feature several unique sauce flavors.

We offer 20 toppings for you to create your own pizza – hand tossed, deep dish or thin crust. Our top-selling Signature pizzas include:

The Godfather

Pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, bacon, green peppers, onion, mushrooms and olives

The Greek Macedon

Pesto sauce, chicken, green peppers, onion, olives and feta cheese

The Margherita

Fresh basil, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella

The Hawaiian Hercules

Pineapple, ham, chicken and bacon. Topped with chef’s special sauce

As a chef and food critic, I take pride in making each pizza as it is my passion. All my pizzas are creatively inspired by international flavors and cooked the traditional way on brick stones. My secret recipe comprises of 3 key factors – Ingredients, Temperature and Touch.

Vickers: What type of community work have you done in the past?

Rajeev:  Over the past few years, the ManassasPark community, residents and local businesses have been extremely supportive and in return, we take pride in providing delicious food as well as friendly service to everyone. As a local family owned restaurant, we are active in the Manassas community supporting several events and charities – Manassas Park National Night Out, local sports teams and bands, student discounts etc.

Vickers: who are your best costumers?

Rajeev:  We also participate in several marketing programs to keep our customers informed of new menu items, coupons and other specials. We encourage our entire customer base to join our Loyalty Program – The Pizza Spot Rewards, for additional savings and free food items.

Vickers: what’s your vision for your business based in the Manassas  park community ?

Rajeev:  As we grow, we would like to attract and serve crowds from well beyond city limits. It is my simple philosophy that food should be fresh, fun and easy to prepare and healthy to fit the American lifestyle. Our food is sure to keep our customers coming back for more.

Want to go?

Pizza Spot

9107 Andrew Drive,

Manassas ParkVA20111

News
Chamber of Commerce Invites You to Taste the Town

MANASSAS, Va. — The Prince William Chamber of Commerce is preparing for one of its most popular events, the Cuisine de Commerce.

Taking place at the Continental Event Center, 9705 Liberia Avenue in Manassas, 11:30 am on Sept. 17, this “taste of the town” will feature samples from 15 area restaurants and caterers.

A food drive will also take place at the luncheon, with donations accepted at the event and at Burke & Herbert Bank locations throughout greater Prince William. September is Hunger Action month.

“We encourage everybody in the community to come out, discover new restaurant favorites and bring something for the food drive,” said Chamber Chief Operating Officer Debbie Jones. “This event is all about Prince William: highlighting local businesses and supporting the community. Quite a few of our members use it as an ’employee appreciation’ luncheon, bringing their whole staff along.”

Last year, the drive collected more than 250 pounds of food. This year, Jones said the Chamber hopes to top that with Food Bank Sponsor Burke & Herbert Bank accepting donations at area branches now through Sept. 17.

This event benefits SERVE/Northern Virginia Family Service, and is sponsored by Internet Ad Management and Burke and Herbert Bank.

Tickets for Cuisine de Commerce are $40 for Chamber members, $50 for non-members and include lunch. Visit pwchamber.org/events or call 703-368-6600 to purchase. A complete list of participating food vendors is also available online.

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‘By the River’ Offers Fresh Food Next to VRE

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — It’s a small store and deli with a lot to offer.

The “By the River Convenience Store and Cafe” is one of the few stops found along rural Brooke Road in Stafford County. It takes it’s name after its location, by the Potomac River and the Aquia Landing county park.

Inside the store is a full deli, where a mixture of Salvadorian and Mexican foods are prepared daily, fresh from scratch.

Most popular here are the taquitos, which is a tortilla rolled with chicken, paired with a salad with homemade tomato salsa.

Menu prices from from $5.99 for some items to $11.99 for the steak, which here is appropriaely listed on the menu as carne asada.

“People should come in and try our foods. It’s a small convenience store is make by scratch,” said Ivette Hernandez, who works at the small shop.

There is a dining area outside the store complete with tables, umbrellas, and patio furniture. It’s a warm, welcoming spot next to the Brooke Virginia Railway Express station.

The store’s customers are commuters who use the railroad, as well as those who live in the area, said Hernandez.

“By the River”  has been open for six months.

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Tucked Away, Rheingarten Offers Authentic Flavor

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — It sits tucked away along U.S. 1 in Stafford County. Not like many roadside attractions, this quaint destination has a small bridge that carries cars across a stream into a gravel parking lot. The stone facade of the house and wooded surroundings denotes the uniqueness of the venue.

And then, as if almost you’ve been transported overseas, the sight of people wearing traditional German clothes not often seen outside of Oktoberfest, and you know this is not your normal chain restaurant.

The Rheingarten Restaurant has been serving up a taste of Germany since 1990. With hand painted murals on the wall, miniature hand puppets that mimic those seen on old episodes of Mr. Rogers, and a full bar, the authentic restaurant is where we made our fine dining experience Saturday night.

I began with beer (what else would you order at a German restaurant?) and ordered a glass of Weihenstephan Hefeweizen. The 16-once glass was tall, and it was presented with an orange peel which gave the beer the of Blue Moon. The taste, however, was much better, light and refreshing.

Then onto the appetizer: Fried breaded cauliflower in a Thai sauce. It tasted as the name suggests, like cauliflower, breaded over, and then fried. It was something I had never had before nor seen on other menus lately, so trying new things is always worth it. The sauce gave the started a nice touch.

For my main course, I ordered the Zwiebelrostbraten (sirloin steak) for $23.95. Yes, I could’ve went for something more German like the Brat & Bauernwurst Teller like my father in-law had, but hey, but steak sounded great.

It was cooked a perfect medium well and had a very tender center. Some portions around the edges were a bit tough to chew, but the garnish of tiny minced onions and carrots more than made up for that in the dish’s overall presentation. A bit dry, the steak could’ve used some more sauce. It was served with pommes frites and wonderfully seasoned vegetables that were nearly my favorite portion of the meal.

While it was my first time at Rheingarten, many who work at nearby Quantico Marine Corps Base have made this place a lunchtime destination. Now that federal furloughs have been ordered for civilian defense employees, the restaurant hopes to capture more bar business with a special “Furlough Fridays” happy hour starting each Friday at 11 a.m.

“The federal contractors have to go to work for a couple of hours, but then after that, they need something to do and somewhere to go,” said Katherine Hornig, whose managed the restaurant for 17 years.

Rheingarten was founded by a since retired German couple. Horning took over managing for them, and her husband became the executive chef.

Dinner prices range from $17 to $28, and lunches range between $8 and $13. Appetizers and desserts are offered on both menus.

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[Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

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Bobby Flay’s Burgers & Fries Shake Up Woodbridge

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Chef Bobby Flay hands out one of his signature burgers from his kitchen. [Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A long line circled the Potomac Mills parking lot Tuesday, waiting in anticipation for the opening of Bobby Flay’s 15th Bobby’s Burger Palace in Woodbridge.

The casual dining restaurant, which seats 70, is an expression of Flay’s childhood love for burgers, and his take on American classics.

“It’s been a long journey and I’ve spent a lot of time at my high-end restaurants, but I’ve always been a burger guy. Cheeseburgers are just my go-to food craving, so I always thought it would be cool to open my own burger place. I can still taste what it tastes like and I feel in some ways it shaped my technique for the burger after that,” Flay said.

Before opening the first of the chain in 2008, Flay thought long and hard about how his burgers and cuisine at Bobby’s Burger Palace would stand out from the crowd.

“There’s a lot of places that serve good burgers in this country and so I was trying to figure out how I was going to separate myself from the rest of the pack. And I think the thing that I decided was that I was going to be true to who I am,” Flay said.

The inspiration to create a menu of burgers inspired by all American ingredients came from his experiences on his Food Network show, Food Nation, where he had the opportunity to travel the country and experience the regionally unique flavors and ingredients.

“When I look at a map of America, I look at it differently. When most people look at a map they see states, towns and cities. But when I look, I see ingredients from all the different places,” said Flay.

According to Flay, there are three crucial components in the burger game; the burger, the fries and the milkshakes.

“I think of the burger as the quintessential sandwich,” said Flay.

The burgers served at BBP are certified Angus beef, and all are made on a flat iron griddle versus a grill in order to preserve the flavor, according to Flay.

And while he refuses to skimp on quality for his burgers, Flay stressed his restaurant’s affordability.

“When I started opening these restaurants, and still today, I hear people say, ‘Oh Bobby Flay has a burger place – the burgers must be $20 dollars,’ but that’s not what I’m trying to do here. I’m trying to cook a burger that everyone wants to eat,” Flay said.

A definitely unique feature of Flay’s burgers is the option to “crunchify” a burger, which means to add a thin layer of potato chips to the burger, at no additional charge.

“Whenever I’d eat a burger there’d be French fries or potato chips on the plate, next to my burger, and the cheese would melt down onto the potato chips on the side I would eat those first,” Flay said.

While Flay had control in creating the menu, as a true foodie he has a hard time settling on his favorite burger.

“It depends on the day. The other day I had a Bobby Bleu Burger. That was my favorite two days ago – today, it might be something different. I always get my burgers crunchified,” he said.

 The restaurant does offer turkey burgers and chicken in place of a burger patty, and Flay defended the lack of a veggie burger on his menu.

“Vegetarians are very unhappy with me, because they want me to have a veggie burger but I’ve yet to find a veggie burger that I’ve thought was great. I’ve had some that were okay, but I just have not been able to find something that meets the standards of everything else on the menu,” said Flay, who suggested having one of their salads or grilled cheese instead.

The other two components are the fries and milkshakes. The fries, which are offered as original or sweet potato, are hand cut on the premises and made from scratch using a two-day labor-intensive process. And if you’re in the mood to dip your fries or douse your burger in sauce, then consider their three signature sauces; a chipotle ketchup, jalapeno hot sauce or burger sauce.

After a year of happy sampling, Flay perfected his milkshake recipes, which come with a whopping 11 oz in each glass.

“They’re the right thickness and have a tremendous amount of flavor. The calorie count’s about 20 – but I was the one that was counting,” chuckled Flay.

Flay’s “Palace” offers 10 different milkshake flavors, as well as malted milk powder as an add-on. One of the milkshakes that has garnered the most attention from customers has been the pistachio shake.

“I’ll let you in on a secret – the pistachio shake is a cult favorite. If you like pistachio at all, I urge you to taste it,” Flay said. If you’re trying to lay off the sweets, then consider their signature margarita, which is also served at Flay’s Mesa Grill.

No matter what you order, Flay wants to make sure that your experience is as great as the food.

“I want them to really have a good time. I think the thing that I love about this place is that we’re always having a good time. I want this to be the go-to place that they come for their burger craving and that’s a hard thing to do because people often have a place in their minds when they think of their favorite burger,” Flay said.

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Meal Deal Offered at ‘Taste of Lake Ridge’

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – The restaurants in and around Lake Ridge are tasty, and the organizers of the annual “Taste of Lake Ridge” want you to come out and take in what community has to offer.

The neighborhood event will feature food from area restaurants like The All-American Steakhouse, Tim’s Rivershore, Langiappe on the Bayou, Glory Days Grill, Rita’s Ice, Harbor One Comfort Snack Mix, Oscar’s BBQ, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and and Confections Cupcakes.

It’ll take place from Tuesday, May 14, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Tall Oaks Community Center on Cotton Mill Drive, just off Mohican and Old Bridge roads in Lake Ridge.

“This is a fun event where families can walk to the community center, and commuters can get off the bus and walk down, and try some delicious food from great area restaurants,” said Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association spokeswoman Victoria Blevins.

To get a “taste,” tickets for the event are 50 cents each. A special Dinner Deal will be offered where event goers can buy 25 tickets for $10. As a bonus, anyone who refers a restaurant to participate in the Taste of Lake Ridge gets a free dinner deal coupon, said Blevins.

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Jimmy the Greek Restaurant: Family Friendly Greek Fare

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — When you hear “Jimmy the Greek” you may be picturing the renowned sports commentator, but instead think tasty and affordable authentic Greek dishes.

Located off of Garrisonville Road in Stafford, this restaurant is part experience and part food. If you’re on your lunch break and looking for a bite to eat, then you’ll likely have two immediate impressions before you enter the front door; the restaurant is situated on it’s own Boulevard, and they have free wifi.

A blending of authentic Greek décor and Americana trinkets, Jimmy the Greek Family Restaurant is a popular local destination, and was fairly crowded on the afternoon when I sat down to try out their Greek fare for myself.

The menu, which covers breakfast, American favorites, traditional Greek fare and lunch and dinner specials, can make it very difficult to decide on one dish. Making the decision to tread new waters and try Greek cuisine, I settled on the Greek plate lunch special ($8.95) and a side of sweet potatoes; I am admittedly a sweet potato addict.

I found the television and the menu and place setting overly laden with advertisements to be a little distracting, but my server was attentive and I got my food quickly: a must when you have a short window to eat.

The tzatziki sauce paired well with the pita and the cucumbers, which balanced out the rice and pork that took up a large portion of my plate. While the rice was on the blander side, a scoop of the sauce mixed in makes all the difference.

Never being one to say no to dessert, I settled on the turtle cheesecake ($4.95), after selecting from several contenders in the glass display case in the front of the restaurant. The slice was huge, so have a glass of water or your leftover beverage ready.

When you’re in Stafford, you need to stop in and give the Jimmy the Greek Family Restaurant a try. It’s affordable, quick and offers delicious Greek food and a long menu of choices that will keep you coming back for more.

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Belmont Bay’s Osprey’s Restaurant Ceasing Regular Operation

Osprey’s Landing restaurant in Belmont Bay has reopened after it closed for two years. (Stephanie Tipple/PotomacLocal.com)

Osprey’s Landing restaurant in Belmont Bay has reopened after it closed for two years. (Stephanie Tipple/PotomacLocal.com)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Easter Brunch at Osprey’s Restaurant will mark the final chapter in a sort of part two for the only eatery in Belmont Bay.

Executive Chef T.J. Fisher says the restaurant nestled inside of a golf club among high rise residential homes overlooking the Occoquan River will no longer be open to the public when it closes Sunday. Afterward, the restaurant will only be used by private caterers during special events like parties and weddings.

“It’s sad because we all really put a lot of effort into this place to make it work,” said Fisher.

And some things did work here, like the restaurant’s happy hour specials, and special events like this Sunday’s sold out Easter Brunch. At $25 per person, it’ll feature cinnamon French toast, Lavender Barbeque Chicken, baked Atlantic Salmon with peach salsa, and pretzel dusted three cheese macaroni.

But what didn’t work here was the location, said Fisher. While the Occoquan River is clearly visible from the restaurant, it sits at the very end of the Belmont Bay neighborhood, making it hard for passersby to notice. While Osprey’s was a neighborhood favorite by those who live and could walk here, it never became a destination restaurant.

After it closed for the first time in 2009, Osprey’s reopened for its second incarnation in 2011 and quickly brought back their signature American food served with French flair, along with popular deserts like waffle bread pudding and crème brulee.

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Baylor’s Soft Serve Opens, Replaces Familiar Ice Cream Stand

DUMFRIES, Va. — Virginia’s first town has a new sweet spot, and it opened in a familiar roadside location.

Baylor’s Original Soft Serve opened for the first time Sunday on Main Street in the heart of Dumfries’ growing business district, joining a newly built McDonalds restaurant in nearby Triangle Plaza.

It replaces JoJo’s Original Soft Serve which closed last fall after owner Joseph Ruhren became embroiled in a legal battle that has him charged with forcible sodomy and sexual battery of a minor. Ruhren will stand trail on those charges in September, according to court records. But the owner of Baylor’s, Penni Graves-Rodriguez, wanted to do something to bring the community back together.

“I’m excited about bringing the community back to the gathering place. I was a customer of JoJo’s back in the day as well, and the kids would want to run around eating ice cream and play with their dogs, and it was just a fantastic spot,” said Graves-Rodriguez.

The renamed ice cream stand takes its name from Graves-Rodriguez’s father. His middle name was Baylor, and he died in June 2011.

As for the ice cream, Baylor’s opened for the season on Sunday to long lines with customers ready to try out the newest restaurant in town. Graves-Rodriguez said her ice cream is still the same as it was when it was JoJo’s, and the same faces will continue to greet customers from behind the counter.

“I’m looking for a few things that we can make better, but going with the flow and getting handle on business while get the hang of things before we change anything,” said Graves-Rodriguez.

The small ice cream stand is valued at $139,000, according to Prince William County property records, and spent only a short time on the market following the closure of JoJo’s last year.

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Great Wraps Coming to Potomac Mills

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A fast-food chain more than 10-years-old will soon open in Woodbridge.

Great Wraps, a quick serve restaurant specializing in wrapped sandwiches, salads, and curly fries, will soon open in Potomac Mills mall’s food court. It’ll join several other decidedly more upscale restaurants like Cheesecake Factory and Bahama Breeze that have opened their doors in outparcel locations in the mall’s front parking area.

The Georgia-based Great Wraps chain has grown to have 20 locations in the U.S. In Virginia, the sandwich chain has locations on the campus of Virginia Commonweath University in Richmond, in Harrisonburg, and at Tysons Corner Center mall.

The new Woodbridge location will be Great Wrap’s fourth location in the state.

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Lunch at Stafford’s German Roadhaus Eatery a Bustling Experience

Inside the Roadhaus Eatery in Stafford. [Photo: Stephanie Tipple / Potomac Local News]

Inside the Roadhaus Eatery in Stafford. [Photo: Stephanie Tipple / Potomac Local News]

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE
Features Editor

While the words ‘gulasch’ and ‘schnitzel’ may not sound the most appetizing, once you’ve ordered a plate at the Roadhaus Eatery & Bier Garten in Stafford, you may have to change your mind.

Located on U.S. 1 in Stafford County, between Garrisonville Road and the Quantico Marine Base, this restaurant promises genuine German fare, along with a few more Americanized dishes for your friend or spouse who’s a bit of a xenophobe.

Not afraid to try some foreign fare, I stopped by the Roadhaus Eatery one evening. Or should I say, I attempted to. After reading the hours posted for the restaurant, I drove there, only to find they were closed – with a hand made sign that showcased their new ‘winter hours’.

Disappointed but not deterred, I ventured to Roadhaus during lunchtime on a different day to give it another shot. This time the restaurant was buzzing with activity, with several customers coming in for lunch from Quantico.

I was immediately greeted by my server and brought to a table, where I could take in all of the décor. With different knick knacks that reinforced the German theme, complete with cuckoo clocks and a full bar stocked with German beer and spirits, I could tell I was definitely in a place where lederhosen wasn’t just Will Ferrell’s costume in Elf.

With the lunch rush there was a high volume that resonated throughout the building, so if you’re sensitive to loud noises, or you want a more relaxing environment, it’s best to come during the evening.

Many of the menu items were normal lunch fare, including a Chicken Salad sandwich ($7.95), or the Southwest Chicken wrap ($8.95). But if you want an authentic experience, you want to stick to the specialty sandwiches section of the menu or splurge on a meal from the dinner menu.

And while it’s almost impossible to properly pronounce some of the items, the menu offers short ‘German lessons’ that define the different food items – very helpful when trying foreign food. They also offer an endless salad bar ($9.45) for those with dietary restrictions.

I ordered the Schnitzel sandwich ($9.95), which is a pork cutlet that is breaded and served on a Kaiser roll with a lemon zest mayo. My food came quickly – a major plus for someone with a short lunch break – and I began to dig in.

Biting in, I immediately noticed the presence of the lemon zest mayo, which was subtler than I imagined, but had a unique taste that broke up the flavor of the breaded pork. I was satisfied after eating a majority of my sandwich – a good portion size for a bigger lunch.

My sandwich was served with frites, or French fries, which were crispy and delicious. It took me till the end of my meal to see a small puddle of grease at the bottom of my plate, so avoid this particular sandwich if you can’t eat greasy foods.

Aside from enjoying my meal, I was pleased with a majority of the service I received. My waiter was quick and attentive, and other staff checked on me to make sure I had been served. I do feel that I was rushed a bit out the door with the check, and that I wish I could have seen if there was a dessert menu, but I chalked it up to all of the busy patrons stopping in with a short lunch break and a big appetite.

I would recommend this as a lunch stop when you’re in the area. The prices are reasonable, the concept is unique and the service is excellent. While some of the dinner entrées seem pricey, like the Jaeger Schnitzel ($19.95), it’s worth taking the time to try it out.

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Mick’s Restaurant & Sports Lounge Revamping Menu, Staff

By URIAH KISER

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — It’s not a full on make over as much as it will be a new way of doing things.

Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge plans to revamp its menu, build a more female-friendly atmosphere, and improve the quality of the service inside the restaurant now known for Tex-Mex and American food.

On the new menu, you’ll find things like flatbread pizza, seafood, and new healthier salads and wraps. They’ll be more consistency behind the bar so made-to-order drinks are poured according to their recipes. And servers waiting on guests will be taught to trade phrases like “sure, no problem,” for “absolutely.”

It’s a new plan to help redirect a 4-year-old restaurant that needs some sprucing up.

“We want people to come in to the restaurant with their families and say ‘this is our bar’ where we love to go out to eat,” said manager Lexi McDaniel.

Mick’s as we know it today will be closed for lunch on Thursday so servers will get new training from everything from new menu items to clearing tables.

“No one wants to go into their next course with a reminder of what they just had to eat, and we recognize that,” said McDaniel.

The restaurant will reopen Thursday at 4 p.m. with a re-launch party where customers have been invited to come in and try new menu items.

The restaurant sits on a hill in North Stafford where U.S. 1, Interstate 95, and Va. 610 all come together near bustling Aquia Harbour. While the residential neighborhood stays busy, the nearby shopping center in which Mick’s sits – Town Center at Aquia – has been slow to redevelop five years after many businesses were boarded up and were demolished to make way for newer ones.

While the restaurant wants to bring in families by day, Mick’s has found success in turning down the lights at night to become one of the area’s only nightclubs. Most recently in January, the restaurant hosted its “Anything But Clothes” party where revelers were encouraged to dress in anything, well, but clothes, and were told to be sure to have their vital areas covered up.

These afterhours events, which also include more common attractions like open mic nights and live music, are something McDaniel says Mick’s can continue to do all while redefining itself as a family brand.

“We are a family restaurant during the day, and our customers respect the fact that we have a bar and often hold events at night. It really shows both sides of what Mick’s is,” said McDaniel.

The restaurant’s staff, some of which are new hires, will begin a dry run of the new menu and concept starting tomorrow, and they’ll don new uniforms and start a new concept called team service – where everyone pitches in to make sure guests are comfortable and full – when the restaurant re-launches on Thursday.

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Stars & Stripes Café Offers Warmth, No Frills

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

When walking in to the Stars and Stripes Café one thing is clear – it looks and feels like home. Lined with knickknacks, collectibles and other merchandise sold by local vendors on site, this café is the epitome of what you’d see on your next trip to your grandmother’s home.

Cozy and inviting, the building has been reincarnated into several different businesses, including a home and a deli before opening as the café two months ago. Managed by Alan Melton, a chef who was trained in New York City, the café in Triangle is a quick turn from the main entrance of Quantico Marine Corps Base.

To find out if the café was worth its salt, I sampled four different food items showcased on the menu. For an opener, I ordered the baked potato soup ($4.95). Many of the items on the menu, like the soup, are homemade and delivered to the restaurant. It was creamy, served at the right temperature, and hit the spot on one of the coldest days this winter.

While the taste was delicious, the presentation was off – as it was served in a ceramic bowl with a plastic spoon. If you’re looking to bring someone on a first date and plastic cutlery isn’t their thing, avoid the soup.

Baked potato soup at Stars and Stripes Cafe and Collectibles in Triangle. [Photo: Stephanie Tipple / Potomac Local News]

Baked potato soup at Stars and Stripes Cafe and Collectibles in Triangle. [Photo: Stephanie Tipple / Potomac Local News]

The “Semper Fi”, a modern take on the Italian sandwich ($6.95 for 7-inch sandwich and $9.95 for 12-inch), was true to its description, but didn’t offer any spice or punch that would have brought it over the edge into delicious territory. This is a safe bet when ordering a sandwich, but I recommend ordering spices, oil or vinegar on the side to give it some kick.

The “Chappie James Reuben” Panini ($6.95) was true to a classic Reuben, but could have used more of the Thousand Island dressing. The “Colonel Cordon Bleu” ($5.95 for a 7-inch and $7.50 for 12-inch) was one of the day’s favorites and did a classic cordon bleu sandwich justice. It’s a large portion, so consider sharing or ordering the smaller size.

The BLT sandwich, one of the daily specials, had just the right amount of bacon, lettuce and tomato, and just enough mayo to be a sloppy eat.

Having New England roots makes me a little biased when it comes to Italian style desserts, the cannoli was just the right size and the presentation was simple and well done. A dollop of whipped cream and a cherry would be welcome additions to make this more in line with traditional cannolis.

When ordering drinks, watch out for soda prices. Soda bottles are listed $1.65, but it’s really a can for that price. They also don’t have free refills, so make sure you don’t drink your entire can or bottle of juice before your main course. They also don’t offer ice and cups, so if you want a more formal dining experience, this isn’t the place. Stars and Stripes Café is great for a quick meal while you’re in the Dumfries and Quantico area. It’s the perfect spot to come for an informal lunch with a friend, but don’t expect the works. The atmosphere is very friendly and inviting, but it doesn’t offer some of the frills and consistent service that you’d find at a more established restaurant.

News
Chick-fil-A Offers Free Breakfast

Chick-fil-A restaurants are offering a free breakfast to their customers this month.

More in a press release from the restaurant that specializes in the chicken sandwich:

The Chick-fil-A Cows are sending word to customers to “Eat Mor Chikin 4 Brekfust.” From now until Tuesday, Jan. 29, customers are invited to reserve a date, time and restaurant location to pick up a FREE Chick-fil-A breakfast entrée. Reservations can be made by visiting  chick-fil-aforbreakfast.com, and printed reservation confirmations will be redeemed each Wednesday morning until Jan. 30 at the 49 Washington, D.C. area Chick-fil-A restaurants.

Customers are being asked to go online to the web address provided let them know when they would like their free breakfast entree.

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