I remember talking to my guy friend about dating apps and how dumb people can sound on them. “I love food and traveling.” Like woah. Really Bethany? You too enjoy eating and leaving your home? Groundbreaking.
So it feels ridiculous saying things like “I love food” but like…I love food. So much. It actually hurts. Like, the first time I bite into something really, really good I swear I black out for the first few seconds. Admittedly, I don’t feel this way about a lot of home cooked food. My mom’s spaghetti and cheesecake hits the spot. My dad’s a really good cook too. I had a friend in college whose dad cooked some of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life, and a friend from North Carolina that knew how to make almost anything slap. But in general, I only experience this at restaurants. And as someone that truly loves food, I’m adamant about supporting local restaurants right now.
The truth is, most local restaurants can’t sustain 2 weeks of quarantine — never mind the months we could be staring down. The restaurant business is cutthroat in general, but this crisis is adding a level of strain and pressure that none of us have probably witnessed firsthand. I know there was a recession back in the 2000s, but I don’t remember any real impact on my life at all. My family was fine. I never heard anyone talking about money. We still went out to eat, and things seemed normal. But we literally can’t go out to eat, and the restaurants that we love are STRUGGLING. The restaurant profit margin is between 0 and 15% with most restaurants falling between 3 and 5%. They need us.
It’s honestly a little surreal thinking about the role restaurants play in our lives. The first dates and the trips to the bathroom to make sure there’s nothing in your teeth. The spontaneous nights out with friends. The comfort food after a long, demoralizing day. They’re such a huge part of the human experience, and play such an important role in shaping a community.
Community is a word we’ve seen over and over in the wake of coronavirus — and with a good reason. Because now especially, we have to think outside of ourselves, our comfort and our immediate gratification. We have to think about what’s best for the people around us.
That’s why I’m sharing 10 restaurants in my community that I hope my neighbors will support if they’re able. These restaurants offer something special and unique to Arlington, and I hope the people that live here will do their part in keeping them above water.
Pupatella is hands down the best pizza place in Arlington — maybe in the D.C. area tbh. It’s traditional Neapolitan pizza — and even certified by the official Italian association of Neapolitan pizza (because of course that’s a thing). It was founded by an Italian immigrant that was studying medicine, and found himself frustrated with the lack of authentic Neapolitan pizza, and that’s how Pupatella was born.
I LOVE Duccinis. It’s the closest I’ve got to the greasy, hole in the wall pizza shops in Boston that make damn good pizza. They’re open late and they’ve literally never disappointed.
Vocellis is in a similar league to Duccinis even though I’d say Duccinis has better crust. It’s good, greasy American pizza — plus they have the cup pepperonis and a pesto sauce that truly, honestly slaps.
We, the Pizza
We, the Pizza is a more modern local pizza chain. It’s the kind of place you go to that has a bunch of different pizzas on display where you pick a slice or two that they heat up for you. It’s solid pizza. They have beer, gelato and wings too.
I love, love, love Sushi Rock. I’m a sucker for an over the top roll, and their specialty rolls are A1 — plus they have great deals.
All About Burger
A coworker from California told me about this place following a heated debate on Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out, and my life hasn’t been the same sense. It’s a simple enough menu but with a lot of options and good products. It’s open late on weekends and they’re also big on deals like their $2 burgers.
Big Buns is a somewhat overpriced burger joint but in this case, a $13 burger that doesn’t come with fries is actually worth it.
First Down is a dive bar in Arlington that has really good trashy cheap bar food. Curly fries, corn dogs — you name it, they’ve got it, and it’s probably good even if you’re sober.
I’m never in Rosslyn. Like, I can literally count the number of times I’ve been in Rosslyn on one hand. I’d actually wanted to go to the Pembroke that night but ended up here. Everyone seemed to struggle picking a meal but ended up liking whatever they went with.
I have personal issues with Crafthouse ever since they changed the mac n cheese ball recipe, but they still have good food and I would be really disappointed to see them go out of business. Big fan of the chorizo flatbread, and the food’s still good even if they’ve betrayed me.
I know some people are afraid of coronavirus being transmitted through delivery, and with all of the misinformation going around out there, I don’t blame them. It’s hard to know what to take seriously anymore or who to believe. Most delivery services have employed a “leave at door” option that allows zero contact with the courier. And if you’re still nervous, consider refrigerating a meal for a day before eating it. Or if you’re really that skittish about delivery, get some gift cards. If you can afford to get $100 gift cards or more, do that, but if all you can afford is $15 or $20 here and there it will still help.