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Houlihan's, Herndon, Springfield, and Front Royal - A Kansas Chain With Over 70 Restaurants Nationwide


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I didn't know that it was possible to find something that excited me less than the prospect of a Sex in the City movie, well that is until I read about the movie's cross promotion with Houlihan's. Hopefully on Wednesday I can convince my wife to let me travel to Springfield so that I "can get my girl on".

Amelie Gillette at the A.V. Club took one for the team and went off to try these concoctions at the Penn Station Houlihan's because nothing says hip like drinking bright red drinks in the shadow of Roy Rogers.

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I used to be a huge Houlihan's fan. Loved them in high school and the Friendship Height's location next to Woodies was my go to place for a special treat in college if I had a little extra cash for the week.

And then most of the local ones closed. And then most of the New York ones closed. And I was never in Penn Station at the right time to try the one there.

Finally went to the one in Chantilly a few years ago. Didn't live up to my memories although I see the stuffed chicken breast is back on the menu.

Probably not worth the drive to try it again.

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I used to be a huge Houlihan's fan. Loved them in high school and the Friendship Height's location next to Woodies was my go to place for a special treat in college if I had a little extra cash for the week.

And then most of the local ones closed. And then most of the New York ones closed. And I was never in Penn Station at the right time to try the one there.

Finally went to the one in Chantilly a few years ago. Didn't live up to my memories although I see the stuffed chicken breast is back on the menu.

Probably not worth the drive to try it again.

They were one of my special treats in high school too! I used to get (and still do, on the rare occasions i see a houlihan's) the 'shrooms--giant mushroom caps filled with some sort of horserashishy/cheesy cream cheese, battered and fried, and then served with creamy horserashishy sauce. heaven, and totally worth the calories.

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They were one of my special treats in high school too! I used to get (and still do, on the rare occasions i see a houlihan's) the 'shrooms--giant mushroom caps filled with some sort of horserashishy/cheesy cream cheese, battered and fried, and then served with creamy horserashishy sauce. heaven, and totally worth the calories.

Strangely enough, the Houlihan's at Friendship Heights provided one of my special treats in high school as well... in that they didn't seem to have any problem serving a bunch of 17-year-olds booze until our eyes were floating. I remember hearing that the Friendship location had the most lost liquor of any Houlihan's. Though that may well have been apocryphal, we did get treated pretty well.

The food, though? I don't think I ever had the food. I've kinda thought of it as a Bennigan's equivalent. Am I doing the place a disservice when I say that?

Alex

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Strangely enough, the Houlihan's at Friendship Heights provided one of my special treats in high school as well... in that they didn't seem to have any problem serving a bunch of 17-year-olds booze until our eyes were floating. I remember hearing that the Friendship location had the most lost liquor of any Houlihan's. Though that may well have been apocryphal, we did get treated pretty well.

The food, though? I don't think I ever had the food. I've kinda thought of it as a Bennigan's equivalent. Am I doing the place a disservice when I say that?

Alex

I think they were a small step above Bennigan's but I can't say that they still are. And now that I think about it, I did quite a bit of underage drinking there myself...

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They used to have this Snickers ice cream pie that to this at-the-time highschooler was the greatest thing ever. Maybe they still have it. The thick chocolate cookie crust stands out in my memories.

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This took a surprising amount of digging for me to find, but the J. Gilbert's chain (there are four of them nationwide) is owned by Houlihan's.

I've eaten at the Houlihan's in the Springfield Hilton, and it's not bad. It's not great either, but it's a better meal than say, Mike's. I wouldn't necessarily seek it out for a meal, but if someone else wants to go and invite me along, I'm OK with it. I recall a shrimp dish with nicely-sized shrimp grilled to a good texture and topped with a sprinkle of lemon sauce, and it was good.

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I had lunch at the Herndon Houlihan's today, and it was godawful....yuk. Fried stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer, recommended by the server as being very good, were horribly bad. Like right our of a Sysco bag and into the fryer for not long enough bad. The fish tacos featured fried tilapia of probably the same Sysco pedigree, flavorless and heavy and dripping with gross and undefinable sauce. Bleccch...! Thankfully I didn't pay for this garbage, but my poor companion did.

[When the new and improved 'lovable quirk' of a Multiple Locations category appears on this site, this is the kind of dreadful establishment that should be enshrined there, not Jaleo or Zeffirelli's or Lebanese Taverna....]

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Also, fwiw, Houlihan's was the best in the unholy trinity of Houlihans, Bennigan's, and TGI Fridays.

Agreed re: Houlihan's.  We still occasionally go to the one across from Worldgate in Herndon--they do a pretty good French Dip sandwich (the accompanying fries are below average).  The rest of the menu is kind of hit-or-miss.

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in high school, we went there every year to celebrate my friend's birthday. i was in love with the 'shrooms--the fried mushrooms stuffed with horseradish and cheese. i went to one in an airport about five years ago and had the shrooms again, and though they werent as amazing as i remembered, i still enjoyed them. but i love the combo of mushrooms and horseradish and also love anything fried, so i may not be an objective judge.  :)

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