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Al Dente

Hard Times Cafe - Local Chili House and Dive Bar Now In Numerous Area Locations

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"What's our collective verdict on Hard Times?", Al asks as his stomach rumbles from a lunch of Texas 5-way with a side of jalepenos.

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"What's our collective verdict on Hard Times?", Al asks as his stomach rumbles from a lunch of Texas 5-way with a side of jalepenos.

Chili-cheese dog with Cincinnati style chili and onions. The eating is almost worth the aftermath. Plus, they have Dominion root beer on tap.

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"What's our collective verdict on Hard Times?", Al asks as his stomach rumbles from a lunch of Texas 5-way with a side of jalepenos.

Terlingua Red 4-way or Frito Pie. Keep them there beans away from the chili - them's fightin words! (wife is from Texas...)

Actually, the wings are quite good, if you get them grilled rather than fried.

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'Texas 5-Way Chili Mac with extra onions, pour on the vinegar sitting tableside.' That's what Jim Parker, one of the founders, told me the best thing was at Hard Times. We used to have some friends in common (I even went sailing with him once) - he's still somehow affiliated with the company, but I believe his ownership was sold years ago. His competition/cook-off chilis are great, but I've never been a huge fan of the gut-busting food that comes out of the restaurant.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Four-Way, half Cincinatti - half Texas with the onions on the side. I can only eat it occasionally.......but when I do I'm happy! And it's great with the kids as well as my no-carb husband.

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Actually, the wings are quite good, if you get them grilled rather than fried.

I agree, BUT - in fact, they are fried and then grilled :P .

I was very disappointed to find this out one evening as I sat at the bar. From my vantage point, I watched them dump the wings out of the fryer, into the sauce, and THEN throw them on the grill. All my virtuous illusions of eating a 'healthier' version of wings, went up in a puff of greasy smoke over that grill...

I still order them.... :lol: AND enjoy them with just a hint of guilt.

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Terlingua Red, wet, with jalapenos and onions. It's pretty mild to my tastebuds; the vinegar-based hot sauce on the table only helps a little. My husband goes for Texas-style, and doesn't understand why anyone would put chili on spaghetti. I'm fond of their onion rings, and keep meaning to try the wings.

Get on their mailing list for occasional special offers.

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I like the cincinatti with onions and cheese, and never miss an opportunity to get some of their wings (fried), I love the chili powder that they top them with.

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Old Town and Herndon locations only. At the Herndon location, they'll throw your Buffalo wings on the grill after saucing them...mmmmmm.

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Clueless about chili here. Does Hard Times Cafe's web site have a primer about all of these variations?

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This year, I believe, is Hard Time's 25th anniversary. Get this, 25 cents drafts of the house lager on the 25th of every month this year. Only two more chances to get your drink on, on the cheap. And I'm only speaking for the Herndon location 'cause that's the only one I've been to.

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This year, I believe, is Hard Time's 25th anniversary.  Get this, 25 cents drafts of the house lager on the 25th of every month this year.  Only two more chances to get your drink on, on the cheap.  And I'm only speaking for the Herndon location 'cause that's the only one I've been to.

Craig...shut yer yap and get driving mate...

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I'll have a platter of mini bugers with chili and cheese, an order of rings, and a diet coke, please.

I still do not understand why people enjoy Hard Times chili. Am I in the minority?

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I still do not understand why people enjoy Hard Times chili. Am I in the minority?

I WANT to love Hard Times, but it's really tough at times. We went there a couple weeks ago and while the cheeseburger was huge and pretty tasty, the chili was greasy and awful. I do a far meaner Cincy chili-mac at home.

It's disappointing because I want to support the HT in Old Town, but it didn't surprise me when I was reminded why it's usually a lengthy period of time between visits.

edit to add: the buffalo wings were servicable....not bad, not bad at all.

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I still do not understand why people enjoy Hard Times chili.  Am I in the minority?

I like the wings there (grilled), reasonable prices, lots of things my kids eat, and it's 5 minutes from my house.

My wife, who is from Texas, says that their chili is good, but not great. However, she also says that it is BY MILES the best chili in the area that she's had (other than her own). Texans and their chili...

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The food used to be better than it is now. I like their chili dogs, they are 2 minutes from our pool, and kids eat free on Thursday nights. If I order just chili it's usually the vegetarian. And the Dominion root beer on tap is pretty good.

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texas 4 way, sour cream, jalapenos and lots of cheese

4 way is when they include beans, right?

I'm actually in Texas on business right now, and I think I'm in danger of being arrested just by typing about adding beans to chili.

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4 way is when they include beans, right?

I'm actually in Texas on business right now, and I think I'm in danger of being arrested just by typing about adding beans to chili.

4 doesn't have beans, five does.

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Texas Three Way with a side of Onion Rings.

I love it, but can only have it a couple of times a year.

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There's on ein Laurel near my home. My wife and I dine there when we want a quick meal and have a hankering for their chili (I go Terligua, my wife goes for Cincinatti), usually as a chili mac or frito pie (I tried it as a bubba once and it was too much). Ilike their wings well enough, but have'nt had them for quite a while, but agree with the grilled comments. Their onion rings are greasy and huge, but good (especially with that side sauce). But oooooof can you get full there but quick.

Generally though, I prefer to make my own chili.

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