The chefs at Bull Branch marry local and international ingredients in a menu of salads, shareable tapas, and entrees that strikes a balance between succinct and eclectic. Served in a intimately lit Bohemian setting that The Washington Post describes as "that perfect blend of casual and sophisticated, elegant and honky-tonk," dishes such as hummus, curries, and pulled pork harness the flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East, Southeast Asia, and down-home America. Occasional live music in the evenings complements the pan-continental cuisine, as does a serving staff of UN delegates who, upon request, sprinkle borders of salt and pepper to delineate your entree and sides.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
Park Lane Tavern mimics the feel of European taverns inside and out, from an exterior that pays homage to London taverns to interior furnishings directly imported from Europe. Like a hot dog curtseying to the queen, the menu blends American staples with traditions from across the pond, juxtaposing steaks and club sandwiches with shepherd's pie and fish 'n' chips. Behind a gleaming handcrafted bar, bartenders dole out pints of the tavern's more than 24 beers on tap and pour glasses of wine, single-malt scotches, and small-batch bourbons.
The pub has long served as the epicenter of Ireland’s social life—a place where friendships are made and stories are shared over foamy pints of beer. Finn McCool's Irish Pub positions itself firmly within this tradition of communality, inviting guests to bond while eating fish ‘n’ chips or clinking glasses of Guinness at a hardwood bar that spans the length of the room.
The convivial atmosphere isn’t the only aspect of Finn McCool's that recalls the old country. Traditional Irish staples such as shepherd’s pie, corned beef, and bangers and mash fill the pub’s menu. Savory scents waft through the air as guests throw darts, play billiards, and soak in the sunshine on the outdoor patio. A lineup of flat-screen TVs hums with the sounds of the day’s sporting events, which guests can wager their pots of gold or leprechaun manservants on at the pub’s Colonial Downs betting hub. :m]]
The proprietors of Hurley’s Tavern are committed to offering locally-sourced beer and wine, and fresh food in a relaxing environment. Designed by cofounder Janice Rossano, Hurley's menu is evenly split between food for meat lovers and vegetarians, so both groups, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch notes, "can nosh together in stomach-pleasing harmony."
The carnivore menu includes steak and cheese fries, breakfast nachos, homemade meatballs, and half-pound servings of boneless wings tossed in a choice of more than 10 sauces and dry rubs; herbivore options include garlic hummus, fried mashed potatoes, house-made black bean and rice patty wraps, and pita pizzas topped with house-made broccoli macaroni and cheese. Hurley's also caters to gluten-free and vegan diners with entrees such as burgers made with bean and rice patties. A variety of local craft beers on tap and Virginia wines help wash down meals, which unfold inside a dining room where nary a seat "doesn't have a view of a TV," the Richmond Times-Dispatch happily reports. Patrons can also entertain themselves in their back room Colonial Downs off-track betting parlor.
Cuisine Type: American Cuisine - Sports Bar and Grill
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 25?50
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: American Food
Alcohol: Full bar
Delivery / Take-out Available: Takeout Only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
D?cor can say a lot about the type of food a restaurant serves. How does your d?cor inform or reflect your culinary practice?
Our [d?cor] creates an environment of relaxation with over-size booths that allow for viewing from wherever our guests choose to sit. Regardless of whether they choose a booth, table, or the bar, each guest has the opportunity to view one of our more than 20 TVs and large projector screen. We have wonderful patio seating. Our restaurant's d?cor is set up in such a manner that it includes sports fans, but doesn't exclude non-sports fan.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Traditional American with a hint of Italian. Something for everyone, including kids. Our menu was designed to offer our guests options and variety compared with what a person may find in a typical sports bar. We are not fast food, but with our new menu, we are able to produce great food faster. We keep all of our customers in mind, especially the kids. We want our customers to come in with their families, so the menu was created with variety in hopes to please even the hardest to please.