When The Band sings, “Oh, to be home again, down in Old Virginny,” they could easily be singing about the newly opened Dogwood Tavern. With just one visit, one certainly feels at home. The restaurant is located on West Broad Street and promises to soon become a comfortable neighborhood staple.
Dogwood Tavern celebrates the Commonwealth of Virginia, from the décor to the menu. Historical items from all over Virginia decorate the dark, wood-paneled walls of Dogwood Tavern, including some from Falls Church itself. Pictures of Virginia-born presidents, old maps and photographs line the walls. The restaurant derives its name from the state flower with a single dogwood tree adorning the patio. The menu proudly notes Virginia-native foods, wines and beers.
“We wanted to celebrate Virginia — the whole Commonwealth — where we’ve spent most of our lives,” said Chris Lefbom, one of Dogwood Tavern’s owners. “We took [the idea] and it worked.”
Dogwood Tavern’s menu emphasizes typical bar food — appetizers and sandwiches, but there are more entrées that are mostly served for dinner.
The “Tavern Bites,” as they’re referred to on the menu, range from traditional bar foods, like Heaping Nachos ($7.50) and Buffalo and Honey Pepper Wings ($7.50), to more local fare, including Virginia Mac and Cheese ($5) and Chesapeake Crab Sliders ($9). The menu notes that, had George Washington been a diner at Dogwood Tavern, he would have been a big fan of these Tavern Bites.
Dogwood Tavern boasts an impressive sandwich and wraps list, again drawing on Virginia for influence in names and flavors. The Potomac Pesto Chicken Wrap ($8) is a tortilla filled with grilled chicken, spinach, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and pesto, and it is just one of several chicken-based wraps on the menu. And because no tavern would be complete without the ultimate bar food, a signature burger, Dogwood Tavern features the Big Chimney Build-a-Burger. Diners choose a base for their sandwich — beef, turkey, veggie or chicken ($7-8) — and add a variety of cheeses and toppings, including but not limited to caramelized onions, sliced ham, bacon and guacamole ($.50 – $2 each).
With their entrées, Dogwood Tavern specializes in seafood and other land-based proteins. Their list includes Chesapeake Crab Cakes (market price), Flat Iron Steak with Wild Mushrooms ($17) and Cornmeal Crusted Catfish ($15), which is served in a spicy hollandaise sauce that gives the fish an extra kick.
The bar at Dogwood Tavern features 10 high-definition, big-screen TVs and each of them is always showing the day’s big sports game. While the televisions surround the bar, they are not visible from all corners of the restaurant, giving some tables less of a sports-bar feel. However, if a neighborhood sports-oriented watering hole is desired, that vibe is definitely achieved at the bar. Sports packages will also soon be available.
Dogwood Tavern currently features acoustic music three nights a week — Thursday, Friday and Saturday — and will soon fill out the rest of its schedule with live performances. They are also currently working on a Saturday and Sunday brunch, which will feature omelet and waffle stations, as well as a Bloody Mary Bar. Weekend brunches should be up and running within a few months.
Dogwood Tavern occupies the former location of Broad Street Tavern and opened in late April.
“Everything was replaced or refinished, from the ceiling to the floor,” Adam Lubar, another owner, said. “We wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere with good food, a comfortable neighborhood place where you can come for a dinner date or to watch whatever game is on.”
“It’s a sports bar … but it’s a place to see live music … but it’s a place to have a nice dinner,” Lefbom said. “It’s a little bit of everything.”
132 W. Broad St.
Falls Church, VA 22046
Open 7 Days a Week: 11 a.m. — 2 a.m.