By Virginia Linza
British food has something of a bad rap. It has a notoriety for being of low quality and unappealing to the palette of anyone not British. However, British fare, especially British pub food, has a strong cult following. Alongside the meteoric rise of the brewery restaurant, British-inspired restaurants are working to break down the old stereotype that British food is unpalatable. Hawk & Griffin in Vienna, Virginia is ready to crush those misconceptions.
We went to sample the British cuisine revolution at Hawk & Griffin, a pub and restaurant located near Washington, D.C. Although Hawk & Griffin just opened in June of 2021, the owners are also the creators of Pure Pasty, a beloved pasty (a British meat and vegetable pie) shop in downtown Vienna. The owners took their popular options at their pasty shop and have expanded the menu to an entire British-style pub.
The cuisine hails from across the Atlantic, but the restaurant’s name pays homage to the community around it. The hawk and the griffin are the two mascots of the rival high schools of Vienna. The restaurant, once a pizza joint, the rebranded location has full British decor– including a red phone booth out front.
The Drink Selection
It wouldn’t be a British pub without a whole lot of beer to choose from, and Hawk & Griffin has you covered. The bar serves beers imported all the way from the United Kingdom as well as local breweries’ offerings. They partnered with a local wine merchant, Vienna Vintner, to create an extensive selection of wine offerings. The range includes a pinot noir from California to a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand to prosecco from Italy.
The food is the cornerstone of the restaurant, and it does not disappoint. Of course, you can get yourself a nice pasty – with or without meat – but the menu does not stop with the pasties. The offerings also include a wide array of other British pub staples, including bangers and mash (a dish that combines sausages and mashed potatoes), and the ever beloved and iconic fish and chips, alongside a menu of appetizers, salads, desserts, and a kids’ menu.
The television in the bar is sure to be offering a soccer game. Hawk & Griffin brings a little bit of the British pub experience to the heart of Northern Virginia. The immediate success of Hawk & Griffin, alongside the continued success of its grab-and-go sister restaurant Pure Pasty, shows that this culinary market can thrive in the States.
Virginia Linza contributed this review. She is majoring in Film and English at George Mason University. She enjoys art while snuggled up with a warm cat.