Monday, June 29, 2009

Foodie Travels: Vienna Inn (Vienna, VA)

This weekend I made the trek up to the DC area to see some friends and gigantic robots fighting each other (Transformers II). While there I was taken to dinner at the Vienna Inn for some Chili Dogs.

The Vienna Inn, which is almost 50 years old, is a dive. There's no better way to describe it. Our table still had ketchup splattered on it, the laminated menus were stained and tattered, and the inside is dark and cramped. But, it's a neighborhood dive, and that makes all the difference.

In this bar and restaurant, you will find a broad cross-section of the area. From blue collar guys at the bar, to suits sucking down chili dogs, to large and small families, everybody there was a local, and everybody seemed to have a great time.

After we grabbed a seat and looked over the menu, I decided to go with the red pepper poppers (like jalepeno poppers, but hotter) that I'd split with my friends, and a chili dog.

I've gotta admit, I was a little concerned about the chili dog. It was listed as $1.55. Yeah, that's right, only $1.55! The low price worried me. After all, what the heck are they using so that $1.55 makes a profit?? The dogs I make at home are probably more than $1.55! But after my friends assured me that I'd be fine, I placed the order.

The peppers arrived first, and they were great. The generous helping of breading on the outside was fried to a crisp. The peppers had some heat, but the cream cheese stuffing and the sweet-pepper relish on the side helped to keep my mouth from lighting on fire.

Then came the chili dog. As you can see from the photo, it's a normal size hot dog. The bun was steamed, and the dog was given a generous helping of chili and nacho cheese. However, there wasn't so much chili that I needed a utensil. Which is good, because we weren't given any!

The chili had the normal chili flavors, beef, onion, cumin, etc. However, there was one flavor on the after-taste that I couldn't quite put my finger on. It was sorta sweet, and I think it could have been oregano. However, my friend thought it tasted sorta like bananas. So, when you go there, be sure to have a bite, and let me know what you thought the after-taste was!

Restaurant Info:
Atmosphere: 3 /5
Food: 4/5
Service: 2/5 (The waitress forgot about my buddy's order, so she gets a 2 instead of a 3)
Total: 9/15
Price: $
Kid friendly: Sorta. It is a family friendly place. There were tons of families, and hot dogs and chicken tenders on the menu are perfect for kids. Just make sure the high-chair isn't near a walk through. It's a tight fit in there, and your child could get wacked (by mistake) a few times as people walk by.

Conclusion: The Vienna Inn is a messy family-friendly dive bar and restaurant. It's been around for almost 50 years, and will probably be around another 50. Don't let the low score fool you. You'll enjoy your meal. Think of it as eating with your family -- just more disfunctional. Check out the insult generator on their website if you don't believe me! I'll definitely return.

Restaurant Info:
Vienna Inn
120 Maple Ave E
Vienna, VA 22180-5793
p) 703-938-1480

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