Where to Call And Carry - Prince William County

Papa Petrone's Take 'n Bake
Papa Petrone's Take 'n Bake "scramble bread" in the making. (By Hyosub Shin -- The Washington Post)
Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dixie Bones is a county landmark, a bright orange celebration of the everyday heroes of law enforcement, firefighting and the military. So many people seek out Dixie Bones for the fine Southern barbecue, served up by Birmingham, Ala., native Nelson Head and his friendly staff. Tons of barbecue pass through the doors here every week, along with untold gallons of coleslaw, potato salad and other fixings, and what must be hundreds of pies. The pulled pork has a tendency to be a bit dry, so just add a little more sauce, slap on some of the world's best coleslaw and be happy. If you can't eat it right away, buy it by the pound to reheat at home. 13440 Occoquan Rd., at Route 1, Woodbridge, 703-492-2205,http://www.dixiebones.com.

Papa Petrone's Take 'n Bake became a neighborhood institution in Springfield and arrived in Woodbridge in late 2004. The concept is simple: They prepare the pizza and shrink-wrap it for carryout, and the customer bakes it at home. There are other items on the menu, including fresh pasta, different varieties of ravioli and fresh sauces. After pizza, the second most popular item is "scramble bread," made from chunks of pizza dough mixed with various pizza toppings. It, too, is a bake-at-home product, similar in concept to tear-apart "monkey bread," and positively addictive. 4168 Merchant Plaza (Prince William Parkway at Route 641 in the Glen Center), Woodbridge, 703-878-4100.

Among the Mexican and Salvadoran restaurants that line the strip malls of the Route 1 corridor, Tortilleria La Esperanza might be difficult to spot. It's at the end of the Build America commercial area, out of the direct line of sight from the highway. Seek it out, and you'll find stacks of fresh tortillas of all types -- thick Salvadoran ones that substitute for other breads, thin Mexican versions perfect for tacos, and miniature tortillas just right for appetizers. There is a limited menu, which includes pupusas, tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, breakfast items, soups (including tripe on the weekends), sandwiches and hamburgers. 14845 Build America Dr., Woodbridge, 703-490-3020.

Medina Kabob Restaurant, across Interstate 95 near Potomac Mills Mall, has an all-day buffet of Pakistani favorites, and that alone draws a steady stream of regular customers. But the stars at this plain storefront are the kabobs and the tandoori bread. The lamb kabobs are especially flavorful and juicy; they reheat well. There are also chicken, beef and fish varieties. 2780 Metro Plaza, Woodbridge, 703-492-2780,http://www.medinakabob.com.

Inmar Villatoro, who hails from El Salvador, worked at many restaurants in the Washington area before he decided almost two years ago to open his own place, Ricky's Chicken in Dale City's Mapledale Plaza. There was a growing Latin American population in the area with few ethnic restaurants to serve them, Villatoro said. Now, it's not just the locals who queue up for Villatoro's Peruvian-style rotisserie chickens. Some customers drive from miles away. Villatoro said he sells 50 to 70 chickens each weekday and as many as 100 on Saturdays. Order a whole chicken, which comes neatly cut into pieces, along with a green salad and a choice of french fries, fried yucca or rice. The green chili sauce lends a fiery touch to the moist chicken. The menu includes pupusas and quesadillas, chicken wings and sandwiches. 5840 Mapledale Plaza, Dale City, 703-897-1616.

Most of the shopping centers that are quickly lining Route 29 in Gainesville are filled with chain restaurants. But just a short distance away, in tiny Haymarket's downtown, is PW's Eatery and Dessert Shoppe. The carryout menu is extensive and largely standard American fare. But the desserts -- slices of cake large enough to intimidate even a New York deli patron -- are the best reason to make a detour here. Quite simply, the slice of Boston cream pie is the largest confection designed as one serving that I have ever encountered. And except for a couple of bites he let me have, my husband (though not a great lover of sweets) ate every bit. Its moist chocolate layers sandwiched a slab of cream that must have been two inches thick. PW's yellow layer cake with chocolate icing was the traditional version I had been craving for weeks, and the German chocolate cake was spectacular. All the desserts are made in-house. 14914 Washington St., Haymarket, 703-754-7053.

Carmen and Isaul Molina spent 10 years operating mobile meal trucks for local construction crews before they opened Taqueria El Michoacano. Now, their simple restaurant on Old Centreville Road, where Ben's Whole Hog Barbecue once reigned, supplies several trucks each morning, then prepares traditional Michoacan dishes made to order. The taqueria offers traditional taquitos (soft tacos) and sopes (round corn shells) with various toppings, plus tripe and hominy soups on weekends. For Coca-Cola purists, Taqueria El Michoacano serves Cokes imported from Mexico, where the drink is made with the original cane sugar formula. 7422 Old Centreville Rd., Manassas, 703-361-6688.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company