With flavors as unique as its business model, Malbon Bros. Corner Market complements eco-friendly, soft-touch car washes with family barbecue recipes developed on the Malbon family farm in 1923. A wall-size pig mural splashed across the eatery's façade announces a spread of pulled pork and ribs that make mouths water from behind a classic red-tiled counter. Breakfast items, creamy slaw, and a duo of signature sauces segue into the offerings supplied by a fully stocked convenience store nearby.
As the other draw at Malbon Bros., car-wash bays peek out from a crimson-framed glass structure containing twirling red and blue brushes designed to knock away road grime with minimal water use. The brushes' gentle taps work in tandem with a Blue Coral Beyond Green program, which ensures contaminant-free cleanings, and Rain-X solutions, which repel the outpourings of emotional clouds from glass surfaces.
Pollard's Chicken & Catering’s boasts that they have the best chicken in town, and in their case, it’s actually true. Many locations garnered gold-medal status in the Best of Hampton Roads 2012 poll, orchestrated by the Virginian-Pilot’s online affiliate HamptonRoads.com. Beyond morsels fresh from the fryer, the eatery’s titular dish comes in many other forms, from buffalo wings and kid-friendly tenders to barbecue pulled chicken sandwiches. An array of other meat adds diversity to the dine-in menu, including barbecue pork ribs and tender crab cakes.
Pollard's Chicken & Catering also lives up to the other half its name, with various outposts also taking top honors for catering in the HamptonRoads.com poll. Clients can piece together their own spreads by ordering bulk fried chicken and à la carte hors d’oeuvres, or choose one of nine party buffets, which, like a well-packed piñata, include meat and vegetables for 25 or more people.
Metro Grill Richmond puts a fresh spin on comfort food. Dishes include shrimp and cheddar cheese grits with a sherry cream sauce, house-made meatloaf wrapped with bacon, and macaroni and cheese flavored with truffle oil. Updating their own favorites, chefs often incorporate unexpected ingredients such as Sriracha, citrus marinades, and goat cheese. Special Tuesday date night specials feature wine pairings, while Wednesdays offer half off everything in the small plates section of the menu.
Montego Island Grill's menu is rooted in Caribbean flavors, with traditional dishes such as curried goat and ackee with salt fish. You can also hang after dinner in the Caribbean Lounge, where revelers sip on tropical drinks as they're entertained by live DJs, a stand-up comic, or a softshoeing panda. And if you wish to tote exotic flavors to your home or kayak, there's an onsite grocery with Caribbean, Hispanic, and African takeaway goods.
Lulu's Smokehouse and Tavern has the three B's?barbecue, beer, and bourbon?and no shortage of each. With more than 100 beers and 40 bourbons to choose from, you can sip to your heart's delight before diving into the saucy, smoky menu. Throughout the week, Lulu's serves American favorites that include burgers, prime rib, and tacos.
Executive Chef Jeff Brown transforms a host of farm-to-table ingredients into traditional southern dishes. He drenches meatloaf in mushroom gravy and pairs chicken with homemade biscuits. More creative endeavors include a burger topped with bacon, crab meat, cheese, and a fried egg; and a free-range chicken breast stuffed with country ham and mozzarella. On select nights, servers cart fried green tomatoes and pork chops to tables as guests play poker or exercise their minds during trivia.