Not everyone is ready to dine indoors yet. But not every restaurant was prepared with outdoor seating when restaurants began opening again. Popular Arlington barbecue restaurant Sloppy Mama’s had some work to do before owner Joe Neuman could greet outside guests, but the Catoctin Creek Whiskey Garden has just opened to provide a new dining experience for customers.
Why a whiskey garden? “Basically, we needed an outdoor seating area and we wanted to do something cool and unique,” explains Neuman. He got the idea to fill whiskey barrels with concrete, then serve whiskey with his ‘cue. A friend who had done events with Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Purcellville connected Neuman with the distillery, which was happy to provide whiskey barrels for the covered seating area.
Sloppy Mama’s will get its liquor license very soon and Neuman foresees adding small batch craft cocktails to the menu as soon as it’s legal, some made using Catoctin Creek whiskey, naturally. One example of what to look forward to is the Chicken Wing Old Fashioned, made with ranch bitters and and hot sauce simple syrup. “It’s shockingly good,” he attests. There will also be pouch cocktails.
The change of seasons is also ushering in a new menu. “We’ve just created a menu that is expanded on what we were doing. Our dining room isn’t really big, we never pushed appetizers. Now we have a whole appetizer section on our menu,” says Neuman. Those new bites include seven flavors of wings and rib bites, pimento cheese with crackers and Brussels sprouts with brisket jam. But Neuman is most excited about the Coney Dog, a $3.50 chili dog made using Koegel Meats hot dogs made in Michigan. Our guess? It goes great with a Chicken Wing Old Fashioned. //5731 Lee Highway, Arlington
Photo by Scott Suchman