Story time: I used to work in the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington, VA (just a short metro ride over the river from DC) and when I started, one of my coworkers’ biggest complaints was the lack of dining options right by the office. It didn’t initially bother me since I typically pack a lunch, but after working there for a few months it became apparent that going to the same divey Irish pub to celebrate new arrivals and birthdays wasn’t really the most festive or exciting choice. Then Tupelo Honey opened in mid-2015 and we started going there pretty much any time there was an excuse to go to a sit-down meal. Guys, it’s so good, especially if you’re a fan of southern food. Katie (who was born in North Carolina and is definitely more “southern” than I am despite my Dallas upbringing) and I went on a dinner date the other week and I wanted to share some highlights!
What: Creative Southern food
Locations: North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Texas (in Frisco, right outside Dallas!)
One of my favorite parts about dining Tupelo at is the buttermilk biscuits they serve before every meal–they’re delicious and come with jam + honey on the side. This pre-app app is quite filling, so keep this in mind as you order (I’ll share my favorite ordering strategy in a minute). Katie and I also ordered frosé…it was a rainy, hot, and humid June Friday so a frozen cocktail was definitely in the cards.
The Avocado Toast Points are probably my favorite thing on the menu right now. They used to have these delicious crab wontons that sadly are no more, and I was bummed about it until I tried these. The bread is light, generously piled with avocado, and the dish has a unique blend of flavors that really sticks with you. I want to figure out how to replicate them because they’re the kind of thing you could consume daily if you’re an avocado fan! When I go to Tupelo I’ll either just order an entree and split a dessert (and treat the biscuits as an app) or if I’m with someone or a group who’s willing to share, the move is definitely to order a bunch of plates and split everything; the latter is what we did here, and still had leftovers!
In addition to the avocado toast, Katie and I also started with the fried green tomatoes that are served over a bed of goat cheese grits–J and I have gotten these every time we’ve been, too. They’re on the heavy side, so definitely plan on splitting these or else making them your main course. We followed the tomatoes with the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad and the Pimento & Fried Pickle Burger–I’ve ordered that salad several times (highly recommend the Cobb, too), and every burger I’ve had from Tupelo has been very generously stuffed and very filling. My general philosophy with ordering at restaurants is to get something that I can’t make at home, and fried pickles definitely fall into that category! My favorite sandwich does continue to be the Fried Chicken BLT…it’s so good and I’ve gotten it several times (my ideal meal at Tupelo would probably include the biscuits, the avocado toast, the Fried Chicken BLT, and a dessert–splitting the latter three with a friend!)
Re: dessert…this is an area I need to explore more of because I’ve only ever ordered the Glamping S’mores Cake, which is super decadent and delicious like a dense molten lava cake. Next time the Brown Butter Pecan Pie is definitely happening. The main downside of southern food being so rich is not always having room for dessert, which is why splitting (or planning to take home leftovers) is the way to go in this case!
Also, good news for those of you who live near a Tupelo location! They now do to-go ordering online and are offering 20% off your order through this Friday (8/18) with TH20CakeandLilies. And if you’re dining in during the week, try and catch their happy hour. The Arlington location has a gorgeous bar with tons of seating, and everything is $5 or less including the fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese nachos, draft cocktails, and more!
Thank you to Tupelo Honey for partnering on this post. As always, all opinions are my own! // Photos by Monica Dutia