Tucked into the space formerly occupied by the Beacon Street restaurant in the Greenbriar Town Center, Sweetheart's restaurant and nightclub offers New South cooking, live bands and giant TV screens in a laid back, casual environment.
"DURING THE day we're a restaurant and at night we're an upscale nightclub," said owner David Ricks, 56, who began a second career by opening the restaurant in July with his wife, Fatima. "We specialize in new Southern cooking. We tend to grill things more than we fry."
The couple met while dancing at the old Blackie's in Springfield. "We used to dance two or three times a week," said David Ricks.
Designed with a 30x30-foot wooden dance floor and stage, Sweetheart's offers different choices of entertainment nightly. With a new sound system, the acoustics are perfect for the live bands on Fridays and Saturdays, '80s nights on Wednesdays, country night on Thursdays and karaoke on Tuesdays. There are even special events like a Halloween party/costume contest with the band, The Sparkplugs, on Saturday, Oct. 28. Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. until 2 a.m.
"We offer live music every weekend — rock, country, R&B. It's for a slightly older crowd, 25-and-up," said Ricks. For sports fans, there are two, 96-inch TVs for watching NFL football and Major League Baseball games.
"We've really designed the place for the area around us in Northern Virginia," he said. "Our neighbors are hard-working and affluent. They want some place local so they don't have to drive to the city."
"This is a warm place where you can relax with your family or friends and have a good meal," said manager Oscar Zarate. "We offer higher-quality food with fresher ingredients. It's not fast food."
He says the secret ingredients are the fresh, local vegetables and herbs with some international spices. "We do not use anything frozen," he said.
The specials include Shenandoah Chicken, spicy Virginia chicken with diced fresh veggies and Shenandoah dipping sauce for $10.95. There are Chesapeake crab cakes for $18.95 and a signature Beach Party with marinated beef, chicken and fresh seafood with a sampling of dipping sauces at $19.95 for two people. The country kebabs have top round steak marinated in a fruit-juice blend, with fresh tomatoes, onions and green and sweet red peppers for $13.95.
THE ENTREES come with a choice of Mama's Rice, country green beans, summer squash with red onions, fresh broccoli with pine nuts, grilled red potatoes and more.
"We have a wonderful combination of fresh vegetables. We offer choices like sweet-potatoes fries, which you won't find anywhere else," said Ricks.
In addition, there are country strip steaks for $15.95, country burgers for $7.96, Virginia fried chicken for $8.95, and barbecued chicken kebabs for $10.95.
Starters include fresh tomatoes and cheese for $7.95, chicken pecan apple salad for $6.95 and fresh fish salad for $7.95.
A Kids' Menu offers burgers for $4.95, chicken nuggets for $5.95, spaghetti for $4.95 and grilled cheese for $3.95.
Desserts include chocolate mousse for $5.95, hot cherry pie for $4.95, and Blue Ridge Custard for $4.95.
There is a stocked bar with an extensive wine and beer menu that includes Virginia reds (Horton Norton) and Virginia whites (Chrysalis Patio White), as well as Virginia draft beers (Sweetheart's Amber).