Tupelo Honey Cafe is now open in Arlington at the corner of Wilson Blvd. and N. Troy St. It’s the 10th location of the southern chain which began in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2000. At a recent dinner, executive chef Brian Sonoskus, who has been with the company since its founding, and beverage director Tyler Alford offered a glimpse of what guests can expect.
First though, let’s skip straight to what has been causing all the commotion around town — Tupelo’s “Moonrise Brunch.” Why wait until morning to load up with D.C.’s favorite meal? Stop in for late night fare from 10pm to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays with choices such as bacon biscuit sliders, sweet potato and bacon hash, and other breakfast small plates and specialties.
Another unique offering is the build your own ordering form available for either an Old Fashioned or a Champagne cocktail. In the case of the DIY Old Fashioned, choose your whiskey, your bitters and your garnish, with different price points depending on your whiskey selection. Elsewhere at the bar, find house specialty cocktails, sangria on draft, and a lineup of about two dozen craft beers.
The heart of the menu at Tupelo is their array of southern small plates. Standout choices here include jumbo lump crab cakes, salt roasted beets with pistachio pesto and goat cheese, honey chipotle wings, fried avocado, and baked macaroni and cheese with Cajun blackened shrimp. The fried avocado, which is served with tomato salsa and sour cream, may be the big winner.
There are also classic southern choices, such as fried green tomatoes and southern fried okra, as well as new twists on tradition, such as a warm pimento cheese dip with chips, country ham stuffed wontons, Appalachian egg rolls with pulled pork, and chorizo and goat cheese grits.
For a hearty meal, order up a supper plate, which comes with your choice of eight different mains, as well as two sides, with more than a dozen options to select from. Elsewhere on the menu, find salads, sandwiches and soups, along with a roundup of specialty entrees. Here, choices range from pan-seared jumbo sea scallops, classic shrimp and grits or a kicked up “shoo mercy” version with the addition of bacon, spinach, caramelized onions, mushrooms and even more shrimp, to grilled frenched lamb chops, bone-in porterhouse pork chops, and char-grilled beef tenderloin.
Tupelo Honey Cafe, with its large, open space, festive bar scene and outdoor patio, is focused on serving fresh, “scratch-made” southern comfort food, and what you’ll find at the restaurant is a fresh take which stands out — from DIY cocktails to the Moonrise Brunch — and should make it worth a visit.
Check out TupeloHoneyCafe.com for more information.