A true diamond in the forest, The Main Street Pub of Clifton, VA is an atmosphere many restaurants wish they could mimic…

If there is one thing on my agenda as far as dining out is concerned, I would say that I encourage you to find out where the locals eat at and brag about. Ask an employee at any small business in the area you are exploring about their favorite place to dine, or even walk into neighborhoods within the vicinity and ask that lady walking her dog where she enjoys some good local flavor. This way, you do not have to worry about the hop off the tourist bus for the Olde Country Buffet sort of answer.

I did my homework, and I found the Main Street Pub in Clifton, Virginia tucked away a few miles into the woods in Fairfax County. Over three-quarters of a century old and located in historic Clifton, VA next to the train tracks in a Victorian-era town, we have ourselves a family owned general store plus a restaurant plus a pub owned by Tom and Judy McNamara and General Managed by Sean McNamara. You will recognize it as the green building with the tall Texaco sign (it once was a gas station). Antiques abound the interior, as age-old relics and catchy memorabilia are everywhere you look.

So how about the food? Well, locals and visitors return for it, on the regular. I have heard chat about “Katie’s Rodeo Burger”. This monstrosity is the creation of executive chef Katie McNamara, and I had to know more. So now, I am on an assignment: To discover what makes this burger such a bite to be had.

And so I order a Katie Burger and it was delivered to me tall and pretty with a steak knife stabbed through the top middle of its brioche bun. I decided to interrogate my Katie Burger to find out more details…

As Katie Burger sits in front and across from me on a plate I ask:

“What do you know about hungry customers enjoying you?”

Answer: I know people enjoy my Certified Angus Beef, two large onion rings, bacon, three slices of cheddar stacked high on a bakery fresh Brioche Bun with BBQ sauce on the side for pouring all over me. That is all I know, sir.

I considered what Katie Burger said. In 9 out of 10 cases, the first impression that someone or a hamburger gives you is correct. I then had a cohort of mine sit in with me at my table and pretend to whisper false words into my ear. I gave The Katie Burger a short glance and walked away for a couple of minutes. This should get the burger worried enough, to tell the truth, and melt in its own cheese even more than it already was. I returned to the table and I could see the worry on the burger´s bun in lieu of what I had recently left the table to discuss.

I accused The Katie Burger of the first-degree burger but she kept to her story. She never glanced upward (which would signify lying) only downwards (which signifies the truth) while recalling all the time’s people were satisfied. Soon enough, I realized I was making a cartoon character out of myself in front of all the other happy diners, so I quite the interrogation bit. But I did have one last question for her…

If you are so innocent, then why is their a steak knife stabbed through your bun?

She (Katie Burger) told me one of the chefs did it. Maybe I should have been having a talk with the cooks instead, I thought.

Many different gourmet style sandwiches and creative wraps are available as well as seasonal and all-time favorite soups. Try a Tom´s Hot Turkey Melt sandwich on sourdough paired with a bowl of their famous chili to share with your partner. Or stop in for breakfast (8-11 am) and find out why everyone in town knows about their famous Breakfast Taco Wrap and even choose to grab it to go on their way to work. It could truly be everything you want inside of a tortilla for just a few dollars.

So do take a trip through the forest and on into downtown Clifton, Va to visit The Main Street Pub. The drive is scenic, consisting of small hills and dense trees while the town is the pure get-away-from-it-all charm that is not quite like any place else in the Washington, DC area. Which in itself, feels slow paced and free. It is a precious find for the area that we all live, work and play in, and a visit here will surely only satisfy the longing for a change in the everyday routine. And yes, the antiques around The Main Street Pub are real, just do not try to take them with you. That would be considered stealing.

The Main Street Pub, 7140 Main Street, Clifton, VA, (703)266-6307