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Tom Sietsema Crowns Cracker Barrel King of Chain Dining, Plus More Intel

Falafel-slinging Halal Bros. land in Tysons this weekend

Country fried steak at Cracker Barrel.
Photo: Cracker Barrel

The chain gang

Washington Post restaurant critic and native Midwesterner Tom Sietsema (“weaned on a beige buffet a la Fargo,” per his bio) spent part of the year evaluating the top selling chain restaurants that dot the dining landscape. His favorite: Southern-themed Cracker Barrel, a fount of endless sodas (but no beer or wine), “tasty meatloaf streaked with vegetables,” and cheesy hash browns.

Expansions

Middle Eastern-themed chain the Halal Guys is adding a fourth Northern Virginia outpost to its portfolio this weekend with the debut of a new shop inside Tysons Corner mall. The restaurant (7943-L Tysons Corner Center) is scheduled to open at 10 a.m. Friday, December 15.

Christmas cheer?

Per a pool report, politicos attending Vice President Mike Pence’s recent holiday party faced slim pickings when it came to refreshments. “Drinks included a so-so white wine and a seasonally appropriate mulled (virgin) cider. Food included a delightful baked salmon,” the observer noted.

Switcheroos

Arlnow reports that new restaurant Miso Men is expected to replace the late Asian Kitchen at 5731 Lee Highway. “We are currently remodeling. Coming back soon,” reads a sign tacked to the door of the transitioning neighborhood eatery.

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