Restaurant Spotlight: Local restaurant ‘Harvey’s’ offers a venue for ‘good food and friends’
By Patricia Leslie
Area farms, antique shops, breweries and wineries help fill the bill for the new Harvey’s Restaurant on West Broad Street.
For the art and props that adorn the walls, for the food that feeds customers, owner and chef Thomas Harvey buys as much as he can from the locals, including pork from a Mt. Jackson farmer who feeds his pigs with melted ice cream.
That’s right, pigs eating expired ice cream that the farmer buys from nearby restaurants. (Ice cream expires? Not in my freezer.)
Once you know what pigs eat, the bacon you eat at Harvey’s has a silkier, sweeter spiciness than your taste buds might expect.
Some of Harvey’s specialties are rarely found at other restaurants, like his deviled eggs ($8) which are topped with a strip of bacon delicacy, bits of it also sprinkled over the fluffy white and yellow foodscape with pieces of chicharones (pork rinds).
Homemade chilli cheese hides under the filling and, strange as it may seem, the deviled eggs I brought home tasted better the next day.
Another specialty is Harvey’s wife’s honey cake, made with 10 layers of light decadence, not as rich or overwhelming as it sounds. It’s light, not too sweet, made with spices, honey (!), buttercream and pastries, in as thin layers as I’d like ($8 each and worth every dollar).
Inna is his wife who spends about four hours several nights a week baking the cakes from a family recipe, which they often sell. She’s a “rock star,” Harvey emailed with three exclamation marks.
“She does her job full time and cooks late at night when we need cakes.” By day, Inna is a project manager who designs and builds restaurants like Harvey’s.
Customers go wild over Harvey’s burgers and cheesesteaks, the latter of which are “close to my heart,” Harvey said in an interview with his New Digs. “They got the ball rolling” to start his own restaurant when he “did popups with a grill and had all the food” to sell at the breweries.
The sauce for his cheesesteaks is made with an IPA beer he buys from the Rocket Frog Brewery in Sterling whose “owners grew up in Falls Church and some still live here”.
Its beef supplier is Seven Hills Farms in Lynchburg, which prepares a special blend for its cheesesteaks.
Being a (casual, alas) calorie counter myself, I avoided the cheesesteaks (which come in three varieties, $14-$15), and instead ordered the “7 Hills Burger” which comes with a choice of cheese and fries ($15), and for $2, a gluten-free salad, side or roll in place of the fries. (For $2 more you can get an egg to go with this burger [an egg?]bacon, mushrooms, chilli or beer cheese.)
The big, juicy burger came out the way I wanted it, with the usual fixins on a soft bun, and so big it gave me two meals.
Harvey developed his full-service menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, collaborating with others on wine and beer.
“I have a very good team here. We just changed our menu a few weeks ago,” and he’s found a lot of inspiration from his cooks.
“My Sous Chef, Jim Fitzgerald, offered different opinions on the sauces and did a great job helping put together the menu.”
Harvey prides himself on his wine list which he described as “very eclectic”, with new and old world wines and “beautiful flavors”.
“We really focus on the wines,” he shone.
The restaurant has started a wine club that meets the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. For $45, members get two bottles of wine and a few “small bites” and if they stay for dinner, there has no corkage fee. (To register, email Harvey at [email protected] or its beverage manager, Robin Miller at [email protected])
Wines rotate, as do the 28 beers available, with six beers on tap.
For those who want to get high, there’s a hearty breakfast menu including a “Little City” sandwich with a scrambled egg, bacon, American cheese, caramelized onions, mayonnaise and a choice of bread (7 $) available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. , weekdays and for weekend brunch lovers, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with galettes et fruits ($15).
“We really tried to do [the restaurant] a family environment, not only for customers but also for staff,” said Harvey. “We want to make sure everyone feels included and welcome inside.”
He and his wife live in Alexandria where they searched unsuccessfully for a restaurant space.
“Everyone told me I had to look at Falls Church because I was looking for an urban area that had a small town feel to it.” They came in 2020 and “fell in love” with the small town and decided to go there wholeheartedly.
“We are so happy to be here. This city is amazing. They love local businesses and we love them back,” smiles Harvey.
The restaurant has the feel of an intimate hotel lobby, the kind where you want to sit and relax, soak and enjoy the company of good friends and food amidst an environment of woods and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in natural light, where the mantra is “home to good food and friends.” No rush, ma’am.
Next time I visit, I plan to try some “beer mustard” with my Little City sandwich, and of course, order another helping of honey cake. I’ll be in pork heaven.
Harvey’s uses recycled containers for takeout food and has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Free parking is available at the back and in the garage.
Harvey’s is located at 513 West Broad St, Falls Church. Call 540-268-6100 for more information. Harvey’s is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 7:00 a.m. — 10:00 p.m., Friday; 9:00 a.m. — 10:00 p.m., Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.