Old Hickory Grille, fitted snugly among other small restaurants within Loehmann’s Plaza in Falls Church, redefines Southern hospitality. And with a motto like “The Place with the Pigs in the Window,” there is much more to love than the conversational waitresses and the Texan feel of the diner.
Lined along the walls are seemingly out-of-place, yet somehow perfectly aligned, statuettes reminiscent of the countryside. To the right of those, colorful wooden roosters welcome the Grille’s customers, with a podium situated under them in polite silence. Off to the side of the small bar, the restaurant proudly shows off its numerous awards and reviews from newspapers like the Washington Post in endearingly-crooked frames.
Forget the fancy outings at high-top French restaurants that claim to be élégant et raffiné, and break out your bibs and knives. Old Hickory is praised for its “real American taste” as some say, distinguishing it from other copy-cat restaurants that weakly attempt the same full-blown heartiness.
Beginning with the appetizers, diners can expect nothing short of a plateful of flavorful kicks. Though starters, none are to be mistaken for dainty.
The Soup of the Day, for one, is worth every penny of the $3.50 for a cup or $4.50 for a bowl. The red bean and Andouille sausage soup, made with unbelievably sweet beans, a bit of chili and a few staple veggies, could easily beat the familiarity of homemade chicken noodle soup.
As its namesake hints, grilling is this establishment’s forté. The kitchen is crammed with bustling chefs, and the sizzling fire of the grills exhort fumes so deliciously aromatic, there’s not a mouth in that house that isn’t watering.
The menu, of course, reflects every bit of the restaurant’s reputation, with the House Specials taking up a vast majority of the space. The Taste of the Grille ($17.50), in particular, draws the attention of any true barbeque lover. The dish is served with samplers of each of the famed specialties, like the Hickory Smoked BBQ Pork Ribs, Jamaican Jerk Chicken Breast, Lime Shrimp and Andouille sausage. Complete with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled onions, even the last bite is worth the effort of a doggie bag.
Don’t overlook the other five or so pages of the menu. The Old Hickory Grille’s sandwiches paired with thinly-cut fries are another example of grilled meats at their best. The Creole Chicken Club sandwich ($10) confirms patrons’ expectations with its chicken breast coated with tangy Cajun spices, while Andrew’s Atomic Chicken Sub ($11.25) takes it to a whole other level. With names like Oyster PO’ Boy ($13.75) and Bayou BLTC ($7.75), you’ll want to wait until you’re hungry again for round two at the Grille. Top it off with the Chocolate Pecan Pie ($4.50) or the Margarita Lime Pie ($4.50) for dessert, and you’re good to go.
If that isn’t enough to convince, the Old Hickory Grille has also been named on the list of “Cheap Eats” by the Washingtonian for several years in a row. So whether you’re simply looking for authentic American cuisine or an experience that’ll have you coming back for more, the Old Hickory Grille is well worth the money.
Old Hickory Grille
7263-G Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, VA
Sunday – Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.