Sweet Fire Donna’s in Alexandria Reviewed By a Reader

Sweet-Fire-Donna'sA great new BBQ joint opened up recently in the Carlyle neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia called Sweet Fire Donna’s. You can catch my previous posts on this restaurant at this link. The joint is located at 510 John Carlyle Street in Alexandria. Parking information for the area is available at this link.

A reader wrote in with this review of the BBQ joint:

“Dear Red Brick Town,

This restaurant opened a few months ago and has common ownership with the folks from Holy Cow in Del Ray and the former Mango Mike’s on the west end (soon to reopen as a new concept), so our expectations were pretty high, and we weren’t disappointed.

Sweet Fire Donna’s is a counter-service operation with seating inside and out. All the tables were occupied when we got there, but they turn pretty quickly, so by the time our food came we had a place to sit. Order taking is friendly and efficient; when your food is ready they call your name. The specialty, unsurprising given the name, is barbecue of all kinds of meats. The layout is such that some of the time you will be sharing a table with strangers, unless you want to wait. The decor is modern and fits the concept. I got the pulled pork sandwich and Sarah the chicken salad, and we each ordered a side of macaroni and cheese.

The macaroni and cheese was absolutely delightful. There was a wonderful spiciness to it, and the flavors were spot on. Some people may prefer the macaroni more al dente but we were both perfectly happy with it.

When you buy a sandwich, you then choose any one of a number of barbecue sauces at the table. I chose the “Carolina Treet Mustard” for my sandwich, which was a great match, but next time I might go for the honey chipotle. There’s also a vinegar based sauce and their “original”, which tastes like what you’d expect from a decent barbecue sauce.

Sarah’s salad was astonishingly large for eight bucks, and there was probably a cup of chicken on it. If we had one complaint it is that they don’t make their own salad dressings; at the counter you have a variety of choices from Ken’s or Paul Newman’s. Also, if anyone in your party is vegetarian or vegan – and again, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, given the concept – the choices are very limited.

Unlike some of the counter-service places in Old Town, when you pay, there is no opportunity to leave a tip (which, at a counter-service restaurant, I always marveled at: tip for what exactly?), and neither of us bought drinks (they have an urn of ice water, completely self serve), so the total bill – two entrees and two sides – was less than $20. Altogether, a very pleasant, quick and inexpensive lunch. Four and a half stars.”

Lee Hernly, Editor
the authorLee Hernly, Editor
Founder & Editor
Lee Hernly is the Founder and Editor of Port City Wire, Alexandria, Virginia's best source for hyper-local news, opinion, and events. I live in the Old Town Alexandria area with my fantastic wife and son Sam. Oh, there’s Serena & Bea too. I’m so excited to meet new readers and see where you are from! Please be sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog so I can check it out!

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My hubby and I love this place!! I’m a vegetarian, and there are a number of delicious sides for me and there are no-meat nachos at happy hour. I also love the cornbread, desserts, and sweet tea. My hubby loves the many BBQ options. Friendly service, good food and prices, and nice decor make this an amazingly great addition to Carlyle!