Eat Creative, Authentic Southern Revival at Tupelo Honey Café

by Keri Shull

Stepping inside this Courthouse neighborhood restaurant, you’ll first notice the striking warm tone interior, with its American Flag in a nook and artfully spaced rows of honey in mason jars. Weathered window panes suspend from the ceiling; crisscrossing pulleys and cables connect three two-blade ceiling fans. It’s a rustic and comfortable atmosphere. This is Tupelo Honey.

Tupelo Honey Café is a North Carolina-centered chain that specializes in Southern Revival dishes made from scratch. Tupelo Honey pride themselves on cooking with sustainably-sourced seafood; pasture-raised beef; chicken raised without the use of antibiotics; and fruits and vegetables grown responsibly. In the video above, see Drew Carpenter of the Keri Shull Team take us inside Tupelo Honey.

Southern dishes have their roots in American history, as the south was the farming center of the nation in its infancy. Simple dishes depend on the quality of their ingredients, so early southern cooking was focused on grains and vegetables that flourished in pre-industrial farming days. Southern Revival cooking explores the heritage of southern cooking and then builds on that history.

Tupelo Honey’s creations will appeal to those open to a new take on Southern food. Here you can order grits with goat cheese and chorizo; or sweet potato pancakes with pickled blueberries, apple cider bacon, and grilled fruit. For brunch you can get avocado toast points with a sriracha honey drizzle.

Tupelo Honey’s general manager Ryan Daly recommends the honey-dusted fried chicken, a half bird brined for 24 hours, flavored with 19 different spices, and sprinkled with the house’s signature “honeybee dust.”

Handmade cocktails

Stepping up to the bar you’ll see the bar front is reclaimed wood; above the bar you’ll see a row of plants behind hexagonal-patterned chicken wire. Behind the bar, liquor bottles nestle inside metal honeycomb shelves.

At the bar you can get cocktails shaken, muddled, and mixed using handmade syrups and house-made liqueurs. The Tupelo Bloody Mary is made with Dixie black pepper vodka, and comes garnished with pickled okra, pimento cheese-stuffed olives, shrimp, and more. Ryan also recommends the Tupelo margarita — made with El Jimador tequila, house-made honey liqueur, lemon, lime, mint, and chili-salt on the rocks.

If you prefer a pint, Tupelo carries 20 draft beers, including DMV-made favorites like Right Proper’s “Raised by Wolves,” Center of the Universe’s “Chin Music” lager; Port City “Optimal Wit”; Triple Crossing’s “Paranoid Aledroid” American pale wheat ale; and “Suns Out Hops Out” Session IPA by Solace brewing.

Your turn

Southern Revival has been increasingly popular for years now in the DMV. What’s your favorite spot for delicious Southern Revival in Arlington?

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