Hard Times Cafe Chili Mac In Fairfax

I had a few meetings down in Fairfax, Virginia so I stopped at one of my favorite places to grab a bite to eat in the Old Town area. I arrived just after opening at Hard Times Cafe Fairfax for a delicious item that I was not familiar with until I discovered Hard Times a million years ago, the Chili Mac.


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I could go on and on about Hard Times, but today I’m going to focus on the Chili Mac. The Chili Mac consists of spaghetti with chili and other toppings. I go for cheese and extra onions. The combination is quite delicious and its a great alternate idea for spaghetti (Next time we’ll talk about the Frito Pie).

One of the reasons I love Hard Times is because of the chili, and the variety of items they have on the menu that mix perfectly with that chili. I am a very picky eater (mostly due to a fear of food that looks weird/gross) so I absolutely despise chili that has chunks and beans in it. Lucky for me, Hard Times has 2 different non chunk chilis. Texas and Cincinnati (there is also the Terlingua Red and a vegetarian).

I used to always go with the Texas, because it is almost like eating plain ground beef, but when I finally got the guts to try the Cincinnati (the menu mentions tomato and I hate tomato), I discovered my new goto.

The other thing I show in the VLOG video above is the lunch counter. One of the big complaints with Hard Times is the smell of smoke. They have a separate smoking section, but you can smell it everywhere upstairs. At the “secret” downstairs lunch area, you get a literal breather.

The great part, is that if you sit at the counter itself, you can sometimes get your food in a matter of seconds. (The kitchen is behind the counter). The lady that often works the counter is also really nice.

If it wasn’t clear from this article, I love Hard Times. I try to stop there just about every time I know I’ll be driving past. If you go, let me know in the comments what your goto order is, and I highly recommend trying the Chili Mac.

If you want to know more about the rest of the video, and the GMU Fireside Innovation Chat with Gary Shapiro, you can read about it on the 100 Days of Business.