Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Company

Written by on September 14, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(rocklands.com) – Virginia Square/Clarendon neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: Foot traffic can do wonders for local business.

Type of cuisine: “We’ve been serving our wood-only barbeque to loyal DC-area fans since 1990. The story starts before that, though: John Snedden started barbequeing whole pigs when he was in college.” From ribs and chicken, to a plethora of sides ranging from corn pudding to collard greens, macaroni & cheese to minted cucumber salad, pork, beef, chicken and sausage (even sold by the pound!) to a listing of delicious sweets: honey jalapeno cornbread, chocolate chip cookies, walnut brownies and a slice of pie, in our experience: Rocklands is barbeque.Rocklands

Ambiance: The stand-alone establishment is easily seen, not to be missed, as passerby find a pink-colored building with a huge, painted mural along the side facing the parking and the main entrance to Rocklands. The small, glass door with an axe for a door-handle made us so happy as we entered the cozy, wooden look of the space. The chalkboards overhead, to the right as you enter, gave way to the menu and the extensive kitchen/food preparation area. As if it wasn’t enough to see the shelves of potato chips and individually wrapped-in-plastic sweet treats, menu above, the manager, Brad cheerfully called out a hearty hello! before bringing us two samples of some of Rocklands best. A grand, antique and wooden armoir sat quietly to the left of the entryway, with an endless and colorful array of bottles of hot sauce, including Rocklands own Barak Obama Hot Sauce, from shelf to shelf! (And even more upstairs!)

Rocklands Cabinet

Just ahead of us as we entered, we found an old cash register, jars of pickled vegetables including pearl onions and green beans, menus, and a silver bucket of shelled peanuts. We were invited to munch on the peanuts as we made our menu selections. While Samyar & Chris looked over the menu, I made my way through the large, yet cozy establishment, walls diving seating areas from each other to create more, intimate spaces. A hefty, wooden barquette just beyond the peanut gallery hosted wooden, backed seats and retro-metal stools, leading its way to the darkened bar. Continuing to the left and into the seating area, hardy wooden tables and chairs were pushed up against the side wall to create a personal space for pure dining bliss. To the far end, making our way back towards Washington Boulevard, the bright, naturally lit space not only gives patrons the opportunity to sit at the window and enjoy their finger-lickin’-good sandwiches and plates of yumminess, but also offers seating at the thick-cut-wooden tables with tons of space for elbows and the many sides that come with each plate.

What I ordered: My husband walked in and knew immediately to stick with his favorite: a whole rack of baby back ribs ($22.99) with two sides: Macaroni & Cheese ($4.89), Old-Fashioned Mashed Potatoes ($4.89). Cody immitated the order with the baby back ribs and Mac & Cheese, substituting Sweet Potato Fries ($4.89) for the potatoes. I selected the Three Meat Plate with BBQ Chicken ($10.99), Beef Brisket and Shredded Pork, with a side of cole slaw and red potato salad. Two cups of lemonade ($1.79 each) between the three of us, and our heavy dinner was set.BBQ

On a return visit, Thursday, March 14, 2013We decided we needed to break our Nineteen Day Fast with the tastiness that is Rocklands. Two of our good friends joined us for the 7:15 p.m. feast fit for champions. Unbeknownst to us, Rocklands has an entire upstairs seating area!

Going Up?

We marked our spots and made our way to the top.

Rocklands Stairs

Tonight, Chris went with his usual: baby back ribs, dry ($22.99), and a half-pint side of mashed potatoes ($4.89).

Dry Baby Back Ribs

Initially, I was thinking of just sharing a bite of the baby back ribs and sides, but, upon entering the establishment, immediately had a craving for the loaded Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potato I sampled last year. This year, they offered a delicious – and perhaps more healthy – substitute: a baked sweet potato with beef brisket ($9), sour cream ($0.25), shredded cheddar cheese ($0.50) and chopped red onion ($0.25).

Loaded Sweet Potato

One of our friends selected the grilled chicken, scrumptiously doused with house-made barbecue sauce, fries and cucumber salad on the side.

Rocklands BBQ Chicken

Her husband enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich with fries and mac & cheese on the side.

Pulled Pork

They offered us a sampling of the jalapeno poppers – even I was tempted to purchase!

Jalapeno Poppers

What I loved: I tasted the ribs, my three meats, and all of the sides. While nothing compares to the Philly Steak baked potato I had on my second visit to Rocklands, the mashed potatoes were my favorite, followed closely by the Mac & Cheese and the BBQ Chicken! 

Why I loved it: From the large, painted mural outside to the welcome bucket of shelled peanuts waiting to be devoured; from the quirky, mismatched decor placed just so, to the artwork including a metro map of Washington, DC, to the abundance of patio seating under the cover of a large, green, awning, everything was great.

Cost: Average to high ($10-$25 per sandwich/plate)

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