A Cajun shrimp boil: Smoked Shrimp, andouille sausage, corn, and potatoes. From Hops n Shine.
Let’s face it: It’s been a year of cooking at home. Maybe this is one Memorial Day weekend you’re looking for someone else to do the heavy lifting while you simply sit and enjoy the results. If so, you’re not alone – and plenty of restaurants around town are up to the task.
Chadwicks, 203 Strand St.
Looking for the all-American burger? Look no further. It’s one of the things Chadwicks does best. From beef to turkey to veggie, Chadwicks starts with a strong base and then levels up with toppings such as bacon jam, fried egg, mushroom, pickled onion and more. If you’re not in the burger mood, whet your appetite with a crabcake sandwich, a fried green tomato grilled cheese, a salmon BLT and more.
Hops n Shine, 3410 Mount Vernon Ave.
Hops n Shine is known for its grilled cheese sandwiches, and it would be a shame not to take them up on their specialties on such a festive weekend. For a full-throttle choice, you could do worse than the Holy Cheesus, which features American, pepperjack, cheddar and muenster on the inside of the sandwich with a crust encased in shredded cheese. Or go with the meatier steak and cheese. Don’t do cheese? No sweat – Hops n Shine offers a dairy-free substitute.
PLNT Burger, 1700 Duke St.
Located within Whole Foods, PLNT Burger can be relatively overlooked by those not already indoctrinated to its ways. But – whether plant-based or not – pop in to take a taste and you’ll soon see what all the fuss is about. Go for the standard-issue PLNT Burger – a Beyond meat patty with caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and PLNT sauce – or venture further afield with the mushroom bacon burger, the steakhouse burger, the limited-time Baja burger (featuring guacamole and fried jalapenos) and more. Don’t forget some herb fries on the side – and maybe a milkshake, because it’s hot outside.
Café Pizzaiolo, 1623 Fern St.
And finally, let’s finish off with a less conventional choice. Sometimes, the best cookout isn’t even a cookout – it’s a fiery-hot oven with a piping pizza as the end result. Café Pizzaiolo definitely brings its best to the table. From the Caprese to the White Tomato to the Spicy Veggie and many more, Café Pizzaiolo is a one-stop shop for any manner of toppings you can dream up. Not feeling like a pie? Calzones work just as well to bring out the Memorial Day spirit.
Hope Nelson is the author of “Classic Restaurants of Alexandria” and owns the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.