*Editor’s note: Thank you to Beer & Pig field correspondent Alex McVeigh for this fabulous write-up of the opening of the new Mellow Mushroom in Herndon, VA. Please make sure you check out his twitter and his other works listed at the bottom of this article.*
At the stroke of 11 a.m. Monday, July 22, the world got a little bit brighter for lovers of beer, pizza, hoagies and other forms of deliciousness. Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opened their doors on Elden Street in Herndon in the old Fuddrucker’s building.
While it’s easy to mourn the loss of a fine institution of Fuddrucker’s, one glance inside Mellow Mushroom reveals a completely re-imagined space filled with new possibilities.
“I can’t think of a better place to get us started in Northern Virginia than Herndon,” said Pooja Mehta, owner of the location. “We tailor our locations to the communities we’re in, so with this location we chose a railroad theme, which is a nod to Herndon’s history, but we also added some more futuristic elements, and some ‘graffiti,’ which can usually be found at train stations.”
When you think of Texas; salty, delicious bacon isn’t the first meat candy to come to mind. No, sir! Americans know Texas for slow-cooked beef brisket pulled out of a smoker so big you need a trailer to move it. In Austin, TX – where “weird” is a way of life – sits a small hole in the wall on west 10th street where patrons can dine on succulent sow and wash it down with canned craft beer.
As a native of Richmond I want nothing more than to wrap my arms around a Smithfield ham but pig farming just doesn’t do as well in Texas as it does in Virginia and the Carolinas. Now, I love a good piece of brisket smothered in Texas BBQ sauce but there’s been a hole in my heart for swine and I plugged it with Bacon!
On a brisk 97 degree night in late June, the Castle Hill neighborhood in downtown Austin, TX was busy with evening exodus traffic. Bacon doesn’t see much dinner clientele as the seven car parking lot was empty (lunch, however, is packed!) but as you approach the bright yellow house you can’t help but get excited for supper.
Will Brinson is an NFL Writer for @CBSSports‘ @EyeOnNFL blog. However, as good as he is with the written word, Will is an even better meat eater. He’s quite the crafty veteran. The personal sacrifices this man would make to get his hands on some quality Q are astounding, and are chronicled in great detail below. Spoiler Alert: it involves subversive stealth ops. and some lies to his wife.
My wife is rarely wrong, but as we wrapped up lunch at Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro last Friday, she’d never been more right.
“There’s nothing sadder than looking down and seeing the final bite of your barbecue sandwich,” she said despondently as we prepared for the final leg of our trip to the North Carolina coast.
This is even more true when you make the trek to Wilber’s. It’s not that far away, but let’s just say that when I volunteered for this assignment, I seeded the stop with my wife a few days in advance, took a different route than I normally would to the coast and timed our departure to coincide with lunch but just before the lunch rush. I’m not insane, I’m just hungry. I swear.
Stopping at Wilber’s, inconspicuously located just on the side of 70 just west of Goldsboro proper, is one of the few requirements when cooking tires between Raleigh and Morehead City. Be warned, though — if you’re not planning on pulling over, you could blow past it without thinking twice. Parking in the summer at lunchtime isn’t just difficult, sometimes it’s dangerous: you’ve got to manage a yank off the highway, navigate a few peach stands and then actually find an open spot.
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.
We all have family in Florida. Most of the time they are either elderly, psychotic, or both. Not that I am throwing stones. I’d move down there in a second if I could earn more than 8 dollars an hour doing anything but slinging meth or backyard wrestling. Florida is warm, located in the Dixieland and filled with crazy people that love to drink. What’s not to like?
Being familiar with Florida, I had heard of Sonny’s many times before I finally had a chance to dine there while on a work trip to MLB Spring Training. The producer of my radio show is an insufferable boob that attended the University of Florida. He’s a balding man with a lisp, yet somehow thinks that even though he’s 37 years old, he is still right there in Gainesville. On the plane ride down, this man-child had been yapping all our ears off, lauding the fare at Sonny’s. I’m a man that doesn’t need too many reasons to try a new BBQ joint, so we agreed to give it a go.
As luck would have it, our hotel was directly across the street from the restaurant’s Melbourne location. One disclaimer; my producer and I share nothing in common and most things he has told me are amazing (European soccer, knee socks, bad reality tv)? They draw my ire. Come to think of it, I may hate him. So naturally I went into this whole thing with a certain amount of understandable trepidation.
Chain restaurant barbecue is an odd thing. Purists detest it. Rubes embrace it. We here at Beer & Pig are somewhere in the middle. If it once had parents and is slathered in sauce, we will give it a shot. That’s our motto. Well, that and “We don’t hire Irish.” With that known, it should also be stated that we don’t stand on ceremony. If the pork is tasty, we will tell you. No posturing will be found in the context of these pages. Hit the jump and read about the eats. (more…)