Sunday, November 27, 2011

F. W. Sullivan's

The Richmond-based F.W Sullivan's held their official opening of the Fredericksburg location last week. Anxious to check them out, we stopped in for dinner on Friday. The restaurant is located at 409 William Street in Old Town Fredericksburg, and open daily from 5:00 pm - 2:00 am.

The decor of F.W. Sullivan's is, shall we say, sparse. The overall impression invoking of very tight budget constraints. The cavernous restaurant is divided into the "bar side" and the "dining room side" by a center row of tall backed booths. The booths are built of plywood and varnished (the varnish aroma still fresh.) The three-sided booths, with somewhat cramped seats have high backs and sides. One can't really slide in to the seats as they are a little rough. Perhaps with a few weeks of butt-polishing they'll slicken up. Due to the height of the booth backs and one end it was nigh on impossible to see anything outside the booth. It's a bit isolating. There are a few standalone tables scattered about. We chose to eat on the dining side, but upon reflection we would have chosen the bar side. The open end of those booths is towards the long bar so it seems a bit less closed in, and there's something to see other than a bare wall.

Upon being seated we were given food menus, but the beer selection was read to us by our server from her notes. There were a lot of "factory beers" listed but also rattled off were "Blue & Gray", " Franziskaner", (but not which beer from these breweries) and Hop Devil. It does seem as if Sullivan's is making an attempt at craft beer, but perhaps it's still too soon for the servers to know the beers. I opted for the Victory Hop Devil while Colleen selected the Falkensteiner, correctly assuming a hefeweizen.

Beer selection out of the way, we perused the food menu. The menu lists a wide variety of food, from burgers to wraps, pastas, quesadillas, salads, and larger entrées such as fish ‘n’ chips and meatloaf. We ordered the Buffalo Chicken dip as an appetizer. We asked for both pita and tortilla chips on the side. The flour tortilla chips were obviously made onsite and flavorful. This starter was very well-done with a moderately spicy creamy base and small chicken bits.

My entrée selection was the London Fish 'n' Chips. Alas, the response from the server was the entrée was only available in Richmond. I then opted for the Sully Burger, topped with bacon, white Irish cheddar, caramelized onions, stout mayo and a fried egg. The caramelized onions and "over-easy" fried egg made for a flavorful burger. Others in our party ordered the American burger, Philly cheese steak, and crispy chicken sliders. Our food arrived within a reasonable time and service was very attentive throughout our stay.

It will be interesting to see how S.W. Sullivan's shakes out. The staff are very casually dressed and it's a little hard to tell the employees from the patrons as there is no standard uniform or dress code. The sparse decor and unprofessional attire does not give a sense of permanence to the restaurant.

While the "ambiance" left a little to be desired, the product coming out of the kitchen was a different story. The food we enjoyed at F.W. Sullivan's was very well-done and flavorful. No one in our party had any complaints about the food and everyone enjoyed their selections. Our waitress was attentive, the only delay in service appeared to be in getting the beers from the bar. We all decided we'd certainly go back again for the tasty food.

Update: After our visit, F.W. Sullivan's began making the local crime news much too frequently for my comfort. I actually have not been back. Casting no aspersion, but better safe than sorry.

Update, August 13, 2102: See "Fredericksburg Police release list of incidents at city nightspots"

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