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SBC Cafe, Centreville Road in Herndon - A New Ownership, and All Spruced Up - Closed

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I had a good soup for lunch today at SBC Cafe.

I would have sworn there was a topic on SBC Cafe around here somewhere, but that must have been in a previous life. So I'll bring things up to speed so my post has a little substance and to "expand the literature" on SBC.

This little spot in a strip mall in Herndon got a bit of attention a few years back, early in its life after a rave from Sietsema and has been a favorite stop of mine for a nice lunch.

When the owners left to open 21 P, they sold SBC along with the recipes. The new owners have done a lot of work sprucing the spartan interior up (new flooring and tile work and chairs and tables and pictures on the wall) and have done a good job keeping the spirit and quality consistent, although the service is a little overwhelmed at times these days.

I'm a big fan of their soups - the regulars are Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper, Gumbo and Conch Chowder. Only once that I can remember have I ventured into their soup of the day and found it to be less than good (a gummy, over floured cream of mushroom).

Today's special was Cream of Pepper Jack Cheese and Black Bean. A mellow cheese soup on one side of the bowl and a contrasting (in both appearance and flavor) earthy black bean on the other side (they do this same trick with the roasted pepper soups). Both were good on their own, but together the slight heat from the pepper jack cheese perked up the bean side and the texture of the bean soup eased back the richness of the cheese side.

One of the best soups I've had in recent memory.

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Is this the place the took over the space the used to be a Tippy's Taco?

Edited by Sthitch

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For some reason, I seem to recall that they make a good Cuban sandwich.

They do. That was my order last week, with the conch chowder.

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Everytime we've gone to Le Grille or the Thai restaurant in the Clocktower, I've almost suggested to my fiance that we look at SBC, then I remember that they sold out. What do the prices look like?

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Everytime we've gone to Le Grille or the Thai restaurant in the Clocktower, I've almost suggested to my fiance that we look at SBC, then I remember that they sold out.  What do the prices look like?

I've not been for dinner, but a bowl of one of the soups and a sandwich (comes with a side) normally runs me $12 or $13.

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Had dinner here for the first time last week after years (literally) of pushing SBC aside for the slop served elsewhere in the Clocktower center. Nothing fancy, just a bowl of the pepper jack and black bean soup, the tuna tartare with wasabi cream, and the Cuban sandwich with potato salad. Everything was exceptional - with a caveat. Maybe not "exceptional" when compared against DC's finest, but truly a breath of fresh air in the culinary wasteland (IMO) of the Dulles corridor. And yes, I've tried El Manantial (waaaaaaaay overpriced for good but not great food), and the other supposed standard bearers of Herndon/Reston.

It has been a long time since there's been a post for SBC - any other Rockwellians out there who have tried it since the new owners have come in?

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It has been a long time since there's been a post for SBC - any other Rockwellians out there who have tried it since the new owners have come in?

I go on a fairly regular basis - once or twice a month. Quality is down a little since the change in management, but still better than most around here.

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I used to work in Herndon and we would stop by SBC every two of three weeks for lunch. It was always good and pretty creative for a small lunch place in the middle of a rundown strip shopping center. Alas, I don't work there anymore, but I took the day off today and went to lunch with some old work colleagues and ended up at SBC. I had the chicken pot pie, which was well worth the $9.95 price tag, and everyone else seemed happy with their choices (mostly sandwiches). And, it must be doing pretty well, when we left around 1:00 there was about a dozen people waiting for tables and that is a lot since it is a pretty small place.

I would stick to lunch there though. I went once for dinner after work and I felt like we got the same menu, same portions, but got stuck with a tab about two times as much as normal.

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Wife is looking for somewhere to go tonight with a couple friends. This place still good?

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Wife is looking for somewhere to go tonight with a couple friends. This place still good?

We haven't been there in probably 18 months. Used to go regularly for the tuna tartare and sea bass. I would really like to return, but they just seemed to be struggling to pull in customers for dinner, so I was hesitant to continue ordering tuna in a place that was always completely empty. I think they do a hopping lunch and catering business.

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 sad. this is where i got my real start in the cooking world when mark sakuta owned it. in it's hey day when mark ran things, it was truly a hidden gem with cutting edge cuisine, even by city standards. it was one of the first (if not first) outside of the beltway reviews sietsema did and although we received a good review,i feel this place should have received more kudos. mark's ecclectic cooking style was really inspirational and came from an organic drive for greatness. i will never forget having such a great family environment to work in (my sister, my best friend, a vuluptuos crush, steeph, jorge and senior pepino) and making such from the heart food. unfortunately sbc will probably be remembered to the public as a great little sandwich shop with "cute little owners who tried their little hearts out but couldn't make it" (aka had no idea what they were doing). it was a travesty what the subsequent owners did to it. i will pour out a little liquor for the fallen homie that was SBC.  sweet dreams.

ps. ^^^^ that recipe was one that mark sakuta and i wrote in 2002 and was the same recipe used there till it closed.

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