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Hard Times Cafe near Washington, DC - exterior
Hard Times Cafe near Washington, DC - nachos
Hard Times Cafe near Washington, DC - dinner

Hard Times Cafe near Washington, DC

1404 King St. Alexandria, VA 22314
Hard Times Cafe is located at 1404 King St.

in Alexandria, VA. In 1980, brothers Jim and Fred Parker opened their restaurant from the simple beginnings of an award-winning chili recipe created from their Grandfather Ira's original recipe. That original distinctive taste came from when Ira was a trail drive cowboy in Texas who learned how to make chili from the chuck wagon cook. The recipe was passed down to Ira's daughter, Irma. After years of serving their famous chili mac to friends and family, Jim and Fred decided to make their dream of owning a chili restaurant a reality.

Of course, the menu today is not just chili. Hard Times Cafe serves up the best chili nachos, Santa Fe egg rolls, and even deep fried pickles as appetizers. Many regulars also say that Hard Times Cafe has the best wings around and it also serves up savory burgers including the Whiskey River BBQ Bacon Burger and a Veggie Burger for the non-carnivores. Sandwiches and wraps, including a Buffalo Chicken Wrap and a Big Fish Sandwich, also grace the menu along with big salads, suppertime platters, Jim and Fred's Signature rootbeer and, of course, their award-winning chili!

Not only are Jim and Fred Parker providing the best chili around they are also supporting local live entertainment. For musicians, poets and comics, there is a great open mic night every Tuesday at 9 pm. On the web page, you can find secret recipes for the chili that you can make at home when you can't visit Hard Times yourself.


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