By Patricia Leslie
Area farms, antique shops, breweries and wineries help fill the bill at Harvey’s new restaurant on West Broad Street.
For art and accessories which decorate the walls, for the food which feeds the customers, owner and chef Thomas Harvey buys from locals as much as he can, including pork from a Mt. Jackson farmer who feeds his pigs melted ice cream.
That’s right, pigs which eat expired ice cream the farmer buys from nearby restaurants. (Ice cream expires? Not in my freezer.)
Once you know what the pigs eat, the bacon you eat at Harvey’s has a silkier, sweeter piquancy than your taste buds might expect.
Some of Harvey’s specialties are rarely found in other restaurants, like his deviled eggs ($8) which are lined with a strip of the bacon delicacy, bits of it also sprinkled over the fluffy white and yellow foodscape with pieces of chicharones (pork rinds).
Homemade pimento cheese hides under the topping and, as strange as this may sound, the deviled eggs I took home tasted better the next day.
Another specialty is Harvey’s wife’s honey cake which is 10 layers of mild decadence, not as rich or overpowering as it might sound. It’s light, not too sweet, made with spices, honey (!), butter cream and pastries, in layers as thin as I would like to be ($8 a piece and worth every dollar).
Inna is his wife who spends about four hours several nights a week making the cakes from a family recipe, which they often sell out of. She’s a “rock star,” Harvey emailed with three exclamation points.
“She does her full time job and bakes late at night when we need cakes.” By day Inna is a project manager who designs and builds restaurants like Harvey’s.
Customers go hog wild over Harvey’s burgers and cheesesteaks, the latter which “are close to my heart,” Harvey said in an interview at his new digs. “They got the ball rolling” to start his own restaurant when he “did popups with a grill and had all the food” to sell at breweries.
The sauce for his cheesesteaks is made with an IPA beer he buys from Rocket Frog Brewery in Sterling whose “owners grew up in Falls Church and some still live here.”
His beef supplier is the company Seven Hills Farms in Lynchburg which blends a special mixture for his cheesesteaks.
Being a (casual, alas) calorie counter myself, I steered clear of the cheesesteaks (which come in three varieties, $14 — $15), and instead ordered the “7 Hills Burger” which comes with a choice of cheese and fries ($15), and for $2, a salad, side, or gluten-free bun as a substitute for the fries. (For $2 more, you can get an egg to go with that burger [an egg?], bacon, mushrooms, pimento or beer cheese.)
The big and juicy burger came out just like I wanted, with the usual fixins on a soft bun, and so large, it made two meals for me.
Harvey developed his full-service menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, collaborating with others on wine and beer.
“I’ve got a really great team here. We just changed our menu a couple of weeks ago,” and he found lots of inspiration from his cooks.
“My sous chef, Jim Fitzgerald, offered different opinions on sauces and did a really great job of helping come up with the menu.”
Harvey is proud of his wine list which he called “very eclectic,” with new and old world wines and “beautiful flavors.”
“We really focus on wines,” he gleamed.
The restaurant has started a wine club which meets the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. For $45, members get two bottles of wine and some “little bites” and if they stay for dinner, there’s no cork fee. (To join, email Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or his beverage director, Robin Miller at email@example.com.)
The wines rotate, like the 28 beers available, with six beers on draft.
For those who want to go high on the hog, there’s a hefty breakfast menu including a “Little City” sandwich with a scrambled egg, bacon, American cheese, caramelized onion, mayo and choice of bread ($7) available from 7 — 11 a.m., weekdays, and for weekend brunch lovers, from 9 a.m. — 3 p.m. with hashbrowns and fruit ($15).
“We’ve really tried to make [the restaurant] a family environment, not only for guests but for staff as well,” Harvey said. “We want to make sure that everybody feels included and welcome to come inside.”
He and his wife live in Alexandria where they searched with no luck for a restaurant space.
“Everybody told me I needed to look at Falls Church since I was looking for an urban area that had a small town feel.” They came in 2020 and “fell in love” with the Little City and decided to go whole hog here.
“We’re so happy to be here. This town is amazing. They love local businesses and we love them back,” Harvey smiled.
The restaurant has the feel of an intimate hotel lobby, the kind you want to sit in and relax, to imbibe and enjoy the company of good friends and food amidst surroundings of wood and large glass windows which let in natural light, where the mantra is “home to good food and friends.” No rush, ma’am.
On my next visit I am planning to try some “beer mustard” with my Little City sandwich, and for sure, order another serving of the honey cake. I’ll be in hog heaven.
Harvey’s uses recycled containers for food to go and has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Free parking is available in the rear and garage.
Harvey’s is located at 513 West Broad St, Falls Church. Call 540-268-6100 for more information. Harvey’s is open 7 a.m. — 9 p.m., Monday — Thursday; 7 a.m. — 10 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m. — 10 p.m., Saturday; and 9 a.m. — 3 p.m., Sunday.