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Mar 17 2013
Rocklands: Barbeque Tradition Throughout the DC Area

Sometimes, you just don’t want to deal with the hassle of going out to dinner, particularly if you live in the Washington, DC area. If, for example, you live in Fairfax, Virginia, and want to try out a restaurant in Montgomery County, Maryland, it’s probably not going to happen.

There are multiple reasons for this. First, there is simply no way to reasonably traverse the gauntlet from Northern Virginia to Southern Maryland during any hours that closely resemble dinner time. If you start driving at 5:30 p.m., you won’t get there until 7:30 p.m. Bank it.

Many readers who are not familiar with the DC-Maryland-Virginia Metropolitan Area will assume that I engaged in clever exaggeration on this point, but I wish that were the case. Then, once you arrive, you will roam around for anywhere from 20-30 minutes to find parking. If you have not completely punted from frustration, you will park 10 minutes from the restaurant, make the walk through the rain to front door, and then wait in line for another 30 minutes. Count yourself lucky if you leave before 10 p.m. – only your luck will run out when you enter into another traffic jam on the George Washington Parkway getting back to Fairfax. Home at midnight. Hope it was worth it.

Fortunately, for Beer and Pig fans in the D-M-V, there is a great restaurant for you that solves all of these problems, called Rocklands. Founded in 1990, Rocklands has four locations: Wisconsin Avenue in DC, Arlington, Virginia, Alexandria, Virginia, and Rockville, Maryland. While many pig joints have only one venue, these multiple locations generate a convenience for barbecue aficionados that brings back the ancient tradition of pleasurable dining-out in Washington. Further, once you make the commitment to try out one of the suitable locations, you will find parking plentiful. Finally, and this is extremely important, Rocklands has service that delivers tasty barbeque with a velocity that rivals any fast-food restaurant. In short, Rocklands manages to remove all the inconveniences normally associated with dining out in DC.

As I live in Arlington, Virginia, I decided to try out the local Rocklands, conveniently located 10 minutes away on Quaker Lane, in

Alexandria, Virginia. As the Thanksgiving holiday approached, I needed to eat fast to catch a train for a visit with the family. I stepped into the restaurant, and immediately noticed that to my left was a convenient sit-down, comfortable dining area, while to my right I could order from a take-out menu.

I stepped up to the front of the take-out line in about two minutes, and ordered the Barbecued Beef Brisket sandwich and fries. I paid, stepped out of the restaurant to take a quick cell call, and the woman that took my order brought my meal out to me while I talked on the phone for no more than three minutes. In summary, following a five-minute drive, I ordered my food and left in about five minutes. This just doesn’t happen in this town.

For less than eight dollars, I then ate the most tasty barbeque’d sandwich that I have eaten since I moved back to the DC area from North Carolina in 2007. The meat melted in my mouth and the juices added a slightly spicy, but savory flavor. The fries were hot and equally flavor-filled. Overall, the meal completely satisfied, and for that price, I could have ordered a second sandwich if I so desired without busting the piggy-bank. The total experience of moving from decision-to-eat to actually eating in less than 15 minutes, to the great price, to the friendly atmosphere, is one-of-a-kind in my experience.

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