Steak and cheese with the works
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🙂 = First of all, the food is AWESOME! Secondly, the customer service here is SECOND TO NONE! The owners are OUTSTANDING and make every customer, whether it’s completely packed or not, feel like they’re the only ones in the room! I simply cannot say enough great things about their effort, care, sincerity, and kindness. WOW! Just…WOW!

🙁 = No dedicated kids menu but there are plenty of kid friendly items on the regular menu. No high chairs, booster seats, or changing tables. But really, who cares?! I can easily overlook all  that because Mrs. Sunny and Mr. Michael are like…my new best friends!

Hours: MON -FRI: 7AM-4PM. Closed weekends.

Notes: They serve a different hot entree each day. On the days we visited they had Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Kung Pao chicken. They also have rotating soups and was told Friday was pho day! It’s located within an office building in suburban Virginia about 20-25 minutes outside of the city so it can be very easy to miss.  As well, it’s only open from Monday to Friday from 7am until 4pm. But if you find yourselves with a day off during the week or have extra time in the morning before heading to the office, I highly recommend you pay them a visit!
Show me the Carfax!

That’s what the old man told me to yell as we got out of the car. I had no idea why. Yet, there I was. At a quiet, pristinely manicured office park in Centreville on a gorgeous November afternoon yelling “show me the Carfax!” at the top of my lungs. Then I saw the large lettering against the crystal blue sky. C-A-R-F-A-X. It all began to make sense now. Well, not really. I mean, I can spell. But reading?! I can read about as well as Daniel Snyder can run a franchise.

This was Carfax headquarters. And tucked comfortably within it’s lower level walls like a joey in its mama’s pouch was Uptown Cafe – what I was soon to discover would be Northern VA’s gem of all hidden gems. 30 Yelp reviews. Not a rotten one in the bunch. Okay. Maybe one. But I think he was dropped on his head one too many times during his formative years. You can’t praise a place for it’s convenience but complain about high prices. Convenience demands price mark ups. Duh! I’m only three and even I know that! Why do you think a bottled water costs more at 7-11 than Safeway? Convenience! Sheesh! And Uptown’s prices aren’t even expensive!

The interior and exterior of Uptown Cafe

BGC/AGC (Before Grilled Cheese/After Grilled Cheese)

Grown ups, man. They frustrate me sometimes. Anyway, immediately after we walked in, owners Mrs. Sunny and Mr. Michael, greeted us with an enthusiastic hello and intuitively knowing it was our first time, explained their menu and specials in great detail. Mrs. Sunny operates the grill. She has her repeat customers’ “usuals” and how they like them prepared permanently etched in her brain. If a supercomputer could have a really bright personality it would be Mrs. Sunny. Her name couldn’t fit her any ‘perfectlier’. Mr. Michael runs the register and pops out from behind the counter every now and again to make sure all his customers are taken care of. The moment we walked in he was out from behind his post shaking daddio’s hand, giving me high fives, and tickling my baby bro’s feet!

As for the food, I had the grilled cheese sandwich. Ooey gooey American cheese on buttered white bread and grill-fried to toasted perfection. There was so much cheese that each bite oozed a warm blanket of orangey goodness onto my cheek! Pops got the steak and cheese with the works and said it was the best he’s had within a 10 mile radius. A telling proclamation from the man who mom says is, in fact, a living steak and cheese…fatty like steak and smelly like expensive cheese. And before we even got our food, while my older and almost-as-handsome doppelganger was settling me and my bro at the table, Mr. Michael showed up with cups of water for us! This was a counter service establishment. Yet, here we were getting table side service! Such a simple gesture but big on thoughtfulness. And as we left, Mr. Michael handed me a bag of Haribo gummy bears and escorted us out like we were VIP!

Grilled cheese sandwich

Cheesin’ with my grilled cheese

Dad was so impressed with their genuine care that he brought us back the very next day.  And there to greet us were my new best friends who noticed we had brought mom dukes with us this time. I got the ham and cheese filled to the ceiling with ham, moms got a fajita chicken wrap, and pops had a reuben that dripped a flavor puddle of sauerkraut and meat juice with each bite. All were fabulous. All were devoured. Then out came Mr. Michael with a free cup of spicy chicken tortilla soup. Followed by a free cup of creamy asparagus soup! And yet another parting gift. This time, a chocolate chip cookie!

Ham and cheese, chicken fajita wrap, and reuben

Look at the sammiches my local USPS dropped off!

Let me be clear, we didn’t come back a second time because we expected free stuff. We came back because Uptown Cafe charmed us with their passion and care. Five years in existence and we only discovered this now? I’m ashamed to call the old man my father. Now I know why Carfax is consistently ranked among the top places to work year after year by The Washingtonian. They have Mrs. Sunny and Mr. Michael feeding them!

5870 Trinity Parkway, Suite 150
Centreville, VA 20120

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