Donna Anderson, right, gets flowers from daughter Dakota at the Feb. 27 opening of Sweet Fire Donna's BBQ restaurant in the Carlyle neighborhood of Alexandria.
Photo by John Bordner
It took a bit longer than expected because of weather and permit delays but it was worth the wait as BBQ fans lined up Feb. 27 to sample the fare at the opening of Sweet Fire Donna's, the latest offering from "Mango Mike" Anderson, Bill Blackburn and Anderson's wife Donna.
"It took a lot of work but we are excited to be here," said Donna Anderson as she tended to the opening night crowd that included Mayor Bill Euille.
Located on John Carlyle Street in the space formerly occupied by Jerry's Subs and Pizza, the 1,800-square-foot restaurant has indoor seating for 48 people and a barbecue oven that holds up to 700 pounds of pork.
"We are different from Pork Barrel BBQ in that our menu has a decidedly Carolina twist," said Anderson in reference to the group's sister restaurant in Del Ray. "You wouldn't believe how many Carolina BBQ fans come out of the woodwork to check us out."
The menu at Sweet Fire Donna's features a signature Carolina Treet sauce, used to toss the wings, and a North Carolina vinegar sauce used in the chopped BBQ.
"There's no other place you can find chopped BBQ," Anderson said. "That makes us different from other BBQ places."
With a bar top made of unpolished Brazilian soapstone with copper veins as its centerpiece, Sweet Fire Donna's features an interior of wood and stone.
"It's very cozy here," Anderson added. "People can come down, get comfortable, get to know the bartender and feel right at home. We play country music and try to provide customers with a good down home feel."
Sweet Fire Donna's is hoping to fill the void of restaurants in the growing Carlyle neighborhood.
"Business has been off to a good start," Anderson said. "Our dinner crowd has almost matched the lunch crowd, which has been a real surprise. The residents here are supporting us and I am getting good feedback from the office buildings around us so I hope it keeps up."
For more information, call 571-312-7960 or visit www.sweetfiredonnas.com.