Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sub Hub

332 Maryland Ave
Hopewell, VA 23860
(804) 541-0800

                There are not many reasons to go to Hopewell if you do work in town. It is a sad, desolate little town that always seems to get the short end of the stick. But there is at least one beacon of light radiating out of the darkness and that place is Sub Hub. Located off of the traffic circle next to McCay’s Hardware and across from Heretics’ Feed and Seed, it seems like your typically hole in the wall, which it but boy do they have good subs. Not only are the subs delicious and made with actual meat, unlike Subway, they are very inexpensive between six and seven dollars for a foot long.  It is a takeout only establishment and the prices you see on their menu is the price you pay, tax and everything is already added in.
                Last week Harvey (my dog) and I had to run some errands in Hopewell and figured that the only way to make it bearable was to stop by Sub Hub for lunch.  I parked right out front and left Harvey in the car, as soon as I stepped in the door the ladies behind the counter started going on and on but how cute Harvey was. They even gave me a large piece of turkey to give to the spoiled mutt, which he quickly gobbled up. Ordering, I was torn between the Rueben sandwich that my parents rant and rave about and the Italian Stallion. I’ve had both before, numerous times, the Rueben was delicious and I will get that the next time I find myself in Hopewell. But this time I had to get my long time favorite sub in the world, the Italian Stallion. The Italian Stallion is an amazing concoction of thickly diced deli meats with cheese and lettuce covered in their special house sauce, a sort of chunky marinara.
                As always the Italian Stallion was delicious. The meat and sauce was full of flavor and complemented each other very well. I recommend that if you are going to sub hub for the first time or have never tried it , to try the Italian Stallion.  I promise that you will not be disappointed. With that said it is not the only great sub on the menu. As I said earlier the Rueben sandwich is amazing and a lot of people think that their steak and cheese subs are the best anywhere.  If you’re in the mood for a great sub or sandwich go to Sub Hub. No matter what you decide to try you will love it and definitely go back again and again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Big Mike's Burger Shoppe

Off of 460 on the Prince George-Petersburg line lies a dinky, dingy little building with a sign out front that reads “Big Mike’s Burger Shoppe”. I have driven past these little joint numerous times but have never stopped. A few weeks ago my uncle, Corey, came by to grab lunch. After dismissing a dozen restaurants I suggested that we go to Big Mike’s Burger Shoppe. We were out the door and on our way to Big Mike’s.
Big Mike’s is known for their BIG burgers, well actually practically no one knows about it but if they did it would be for their BIG burgers. We fall into the place and it is the most redneck little joint I have ever stepped into; I was immediately in love. There were numerous roughnecks hanging out at the bar drinking beer in their camouflage and overalls getting drunk at noon on a Sunday. Corey and I took a seat in a dark corner next to what appeared to be the first karaoke machine ever made.
After 10 minutes of people just staring at us wondering what we were doing there our waitress  (who was very sweet) came to give us menus. We both got sweet tea which was extremely homemade and an order of loaded bacon cheese potato skins. We received 6 large potato skins with cheese so hot that it was practically molten lava.  Once they cooled off they were quite enjoyable and were served with sides of jalapenos and sour cream. The menu consisted of burgers, a few random sandwiches and wings. You could order just about any size burger you wanted from 1/4lb. all the way to 4lbs. a 4 lb burger with cheese and 18 strips of bacon cost $40.00. While they had HUGE burgers they did not have any specialty burgers or any fun, unusual toppings.  Corey ordered a 1/2lb cheese burger with bacon which cost around six dollars. I ordered a 1/2lb burger with cheese and chili. We split an appetizer sized order of onion rings.
It took a while for our food to come but it was because it was being freshly prepared which I will never complain about. To pass the time we watched Indian Jones which for some reason was being played when there were numerous football games on.  The burgers we received were pretty massive and cooked really well. My burger was loaded with chili which was hidden under a layer of cheese and of course shot out and covered my shirt in meaty goodness. My only complaint about my burger was that it had way too many sliced onions that were hard to bite through. Other than that it was very good but not really out of the ordinary. The onion rings were freshly cut and fried and were very sweet and crispy. For the price we received a lot of them.  Before we left Big Mike, Massive Mike might would be a better name, came out to make sure that everything was good.  It was but even if it wasn’t I would not say it to his face for fear of being made into about 50 4lbs burgers.  
Overall Big Mike’s Burger Shoppe was fun, friendly and very redneck, just my type of place. The food was good and reasonably priced. The burgers were not extremely unique but they were BIG. If you’re looking for a burger adventure this might not be your place but if you want a well cooked traditional burger, Supersized, you will love Big Mike’s Burger Shoppe.  I will defiantly go back for a drink and a burger.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Dockside Restaurant

700 Jordan Point Road  
Hopewell, VA 23860-8249
(804) 541-2600

                I will not lie, the first few times that I’d ever been to Dockside I hated it. I did not enjoy the food that I ordered, the service was bad and they did not serve sweet tea.  Not too long ago there was a change in management which at first seemed like for the worse, if that was possible.  But recently my parents and brother, who also did not like Dockside, have raving about their “awesome” crab cakes.  They claimed that they were some of the best they’ve ever had, especially in the Tri-City area.  Although I trust my family I did not believe them and did not want to waste my money at a place a “knew” was bad.
                A weekend or so ago lent me the opportunity to try these “awesome” crab cakes without wasting my own money.  Ever since father’s day I promised to take my father shooting in Charles City. The range is only open seasonally so we were not able to go until this last month. So we loaded up the rifles, picked up my brother and headed to Charles City. The range was free and very nice. After an afternoon of shooting we were heading back to Prince George and our route brought us right by the Dockside. Since we had not eaten lunch my dad stopped so that I could try a crab cake.
                The place was totally dead, as it usually is, so we had our choice of tables. We sat next to a large window              . The view of the James River would have been beautiful except for the fact that we were staring directly at the factories on the river which their smoke filling the air. We arrived too late to order crab cake sandwiches because they are only served at lunch which ended exactly 2 minutes before we were seated.  Since we wanted the crab cakes we had to order the crab cake dinner which comes with two grilled crab cakes, 2 sides and rolls for $17.99. This is actually cheaper per crab cake than the sandwich and it comes with two sides.  Since there were three of us we had to order two. For sides we ordered a baked sweet potatoe, cole slaw, french fries and sautéed zucchini and squash. Be warned if you decide to share an entrée at the dockside you have to pay a $3.00 “plate fee” which kind of stinks.  
                I was very happy to discover that the owners, although Yankees, have learned how to make pretty good sweet tea.  After one round, our waitress quickly discovered that it would be easier to just leave the pitcher on the table. It was not long before we were brought our plates. Before us sat four delicious looking and smelling crab cakes and four sides. The waitress offered to get us buns since she knew that wanted crab cake sandwiches but we decided that the fresh baked rolls that were brought out with the meal would more than suffice. The side dishes were surprisingly good.  The sweet potatoes were moist and tender not at all dried out and our waitress was more than happy to supply us with as much brown sugar as we needed.  The french fries were thick cut fries and were ok. The cole slaw was also the thick cut variety with not too much mayonnaise. It had a nice flavor and a good crunch.  It was the zucchini and squash that really stole the show as far as the sides were concerned.  They were sautéed until extremely tender with a nice buttery flavor that did not totally over whelm their actual flavor.  The sides were very good but let me get to the really amazing part, the crab cakes.
                These crab cakes were very large and stuffed with crab meat and very little filler and perfectly pan seared. The searing left a nice crush on the outside of the crab cakes but left the inside moist and juicy.  The crab cakes were large enough that I was able to cut it in half and make two sandwiches. I have to say that using the rolls instead of buns was a great idea and they went perfectly with the crab cakes.  Topped with a little remoulade  sauce, these crab cakes were awesome.
                I was planning on putting the menu for Dockside up but I really felt that there was no point because if you come here the only things that you should order are the crab cakes.  If I am ever in the mood for crab cakes the Dockside will be the only place I go in the Tri-Cities from now on.