Headed South with Tupelo Honey Cafe

A honey-dipped brunch spot in the heart of Clarendon, Tupelo’s offers a laid back vibe and some nice drinks.

Ambiance: ***1/2

Decor: ***1/2

Service: ****

Cocktails: ***1/2

Overall Rating: 3.5

Another week, another new restaurant in Clarendon!  Tupelo Honey Cafe is a southern chain that delivers what everyone wants out of the south — fried chicken, biscuits, and fancy cocktails.  This weekend I braved the big brunch crowd and elbowed my way to the antebellum-ish bar.  They’re still getting the kinks out a bit but the service was pretty good, especially amidst their first weekend brunch test.  My bartender was a bit concerned when I told him I’d be doing “the cycle,” but I assured him I was a professional.

I started strong with their seasonal cocktail, the “Honeysuckle and Lavender Flip” – honeysuckle vodka, lavender sweet and sour, soda water and fresh lemon.  This was strong — the lavender really made this a memorable drink, it just smoothed out the vodka in perfect fashion.  A simple and fun drink, which also had one of the better mouth feels (love that term) that I’ve had in a while.

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On to the Sangria — “Eleanor Roosevelt’s” own recipe!  Well I don’t know if that’s true, but it is named after her.  This was fine, but basically just a run of the mill sangria — I’ve had better, I’ve had worse, nice for a hot weekend day.  Also sort of ho hum was the Honey and “Chamomile Gin and Tonic.”  I’ve never really liked G&Ts, just sort of boring, and this one was more of the same.  Won’t hurt anyone but nothing special.

Ok, so a lackluster middle but we ended strong.  Probably the prettiest drink of the day was the “Violet Beauregarde” – vodka, St. Germaine, blueberry puree, and some other fun stuff.  This was the perfect combo of sweetness and vodka haze — I was a little surprised with the balance as it looked like it was going to be a sugar fest.  I’m a sucker for blueberries so that ran well, great flavor.  Then, damning the bartender’s caution, I ended the lazy Sunday with the “Carolina Peach Mai tai” which was a simple white rum, triple sec, and homemade passion juice combo.  Again, nothing memorable, a typical vitamin C-ey smooth drink.  A quality way to end the tour.  So all in all a good trip, although I suspect the biscuits are more memorable than the cocktails, sadly.


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