These weekend delights with a piece of cake at Mark’s Pub make for a delectable duo sure to reward most who need a break.
Sitting center in the hidden Idylwood Shopping Center behind Whole Foods on Route 7, Mark’s Pub serves these bottom-priced drinks with brunch entrees. Tasting is believing.
The drinks are not weak; my mimosa was every bit as strong as any I’ve had. No diluted champagne at Mark’s.
When my friend, Mary, heard the price, she immediately ordered a bloody mary with her eggs Benedict, the drink she proclaimed “nice, without too much horseradish” and her compliments flowed nonstop throughout the meal.
The brunch entrees include a “hangover breakfast” of tots, pork, eggs, cheese, pico and a special sauce ($16); plain, blueberry or chocolate pancakes ($13); “poutine” with french fries, sausage gravy and egg ($16) or the traditional eggs Benedict or brisket Benedict (both $16, with potatoes).
I ordered the brisket Benedict which came with tender and moist meat spilling over muffin tops — and the serving was so big, I left half on my plate. (Counting calories, I substituted coleslaw for the potatoes.)
Mary said her potatoes were “zesty and just right, without too much seasoning” and the eggs Benedict were “perfectly fine.”
Our friend, Peyton, who had joined us, also ordered the traditional Benedict and echoed Mary’s sentiment, labeling her entree “lovely.” I suppose it would be hard to mess up eggs Benedict, but I’m sure it’s been done.
At the end of the meal, Mary inquired about dessert. “Well…,” the waiter drooled.
I knew the background to Mark’s desserts, having spent some time earlier in the week with the restaurant owners, Lisa Cedrone and Lod Granger. Cedrone’s husband, Mike Pallesen, who roasts pigs on the side, sat with us.
Cedrone took to cake making on a whim at Mark’s about two and a half years ago and the item has been so popular, cake sales continue at $6 a piece. (Special requests to the owner can get you a whole cake for $20 — $25.) She makes about seven cakes a week which are not listed anywhere because they sell out quickly.
Cedrone apologized for her cakes’ plain decorations, but who needs decorating when it comes to taste?
For our table, the waiter checked and found some pieces left of Cedrone’s lemon pound cake. When he brought out Mary’s piece, Peyton’s eyes grew large and she seized the waiter: “Can I have some, too?”
Mary thought the cake was “not too sweet — and a generous serving.”
Peyton and I agreed. (Due to calories and stinginess, and with her permission, of course, I nibbled off Peyton’s piece rather like a mouse, which I doubt most mice think about these things.)
“I’ve given up trying to get a piece of blueberry pound cake,” Granger had told me: “I can’t get here fast enough.”
Selections for vegetarians are somewhat limited at Mark’s. On an earlier visit, my vegetarian friend, Eleanor, struggled to find something on the menu, settling on the shrimp salad ($15) which was a great surprise. It came out like a big merry-go-round platter of rainbow colors, filled with lots of avocado slices, “tiny shrimp,” corn, cherry tomatoes, and lime on a bed of iceberg lettuce which Eleanor loved.
She and I lucked out eating at Mark’s on a Tuesday when burgers are half-priced. I got a smash burger for ony $7.50 which came with fries. I waived them for a delicious salad, another healthy serving. It was honestly better than the burger of two slices of meat and its “secret sauce” of tomato and mayonnaise, but I am a faux vegetarian anyway.
By declining the “secret sauce,” I goofed big when I learned later it’s a “must-eat” ingredient and makes the burger special.
When I earlier met with the owners outside under an umbrella at a patio table, the trio laughed and cajoled each other about the joys of owning and running a restaurant.
Their three pooches, Bentley, Brady and Stella, squirmed under the table. Bentley’s likeness is featured on the restaurant’s logo on the glass window.
Yep, this place is dog friendly, all right, and Mark’s is hosting a golf tournament August 29 at the Herndon Centennial Golf Course to benefit the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation of Falls Church.
Mark’s fundraisers sometimes benefit humans. They sponsor a baseball team and during Covid’s peak when schools were closed, the restaurant collaborated with a church to make meals for Section 8 students in Falls Church. Mark’s will be at the Taste of Falls Church September 17 and at Pimmit Hills Day September 25.
When Cedrone and Granger bought the restaurant four years ago, it was called Art’s Tavern, but after everyone kept calling it Mark’s Pub, the owners took it back to its namesake. No one seems to know who Mark is or where he’s gone.
The pub is almost 50 years old (founded in 1976), about the age of some of the regular customers who come in for good country vittles like the pot roast sliders and mashed potatoes (Cedrone’s grandmother’s recipe, $15), ribeye over fries with onion and bearnaise sauce ($22), or a half rack of smoked ribs with cornbread, slaw and mac and cheese ($19).
Once Cedrone tested a tuna salad with stuffed tomato which caught on, to her surprise, and now it’s a menu staple ($16).
Mark’s outdoor seating is complete with lighted palm trees, a long hula straw skirt which rings along the perimeter and live music several times a week. Karaoke starts in October. Guests smoke on the patio under a “no smoking” sign.
Prices at Mark’s have gone up only once since Cedrone and Granger took over. For the “excellent value,” I’ll be going back, hoping there’s some cake left. The heck with counting calories! YOLO! Cake and champagne…not many combinations can beat that, and maybe, I’ll find Mark.
Mark’s Pub, located at 2190 Pimmit Dr Falls Church, VA 22043 is open daily, 12 p.m. — 2 a.m. and 12 — 4 p.m for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Happy Hour is on Monday — Friday, 4 — 7 p.m. Call 703-356-3822, visit markspub-fcva.com or find it on Facebook for more information.