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Smoke Rings, Pizza Sings

Epicure Cafe piles on the personality.

By Stefanie Gans / Photos by Kate Bohler

And it burns, burns, burns. That Louisiana Hot Sauce. That ring of fire.

Johnny Cash lends his searing tale of falling in love to Epicure Cafe’s pizza menu. Handwritten—on actual records—with what looks like a Wite-Out® pen, song names become pizza orders. The whisky soaked voice of Cash’s “Ring of Fire” parlayed into slices of soft salami, pepperoni, jalapenos and a brave dose of hot sauce. The abundance of salty meat and fiery sauce cover up the crust’s lack of char and chew.

“Here Comes the Sun,” a blend of cheddar and Jack cheese with, on one visit, underdone scrambled eggs and a few handfuls of sun-dried tomatoes, lacks the excitement of Cash’s pie but is made up from the warmth and eclectic vibe of the Fairfax strip mall restaurant.

Seven days a week Epicure brings entertainment to its corner plot. Open mic nights for musicians and comedians, including themed nights with silly R-rated original songs, corral a multigenerational crowd who drink beer, or flights of Virginia wines, while puffing on two-foot tall hookahs.

Iranian-born Mojdeh Rezaeipour co-owns—and waits tables—at the cafe. Her heritage spans the menu as the typical Mediterranean plate includes kookoo sabzi, an eggy quiche-like bake, dense with spinach. Rice-stuffed grape leaves and buttered pita with tzatziki finish the spread.

Roasted and mashed eggplants, blended with barely-there ground beef, mix with uncomfortably large pieces of dried, sticky fruit that doesn’t flow with the mellow aubergine.

But it’s OK. Take a toke from the hookah, stare at the for-sale art, listen to local singers. This is a new Fairfax.

NOTES

CUISINE
Musical Pizza + Iranian Highlights

PRICE
Starters: $5-$8;
Pizza: $12-$26;
Entrees: $10-$17.

SCOOP
Check the online calendar for musical and humorous performances.

OPEN
Weekdays lunch and dinner; weekends dinner only.

11213-A Lee Highway, Fairfax; 703-352-9193; epicurecafe.org.

Ring of Fire

“We wanted something crazy,” Mojdeh Rezaeipour says of the Johnny Cash-inspired pie. The 26-year-old owns the eclectic Epicure Cafe with her father. And you can thank her mom for the Iranian dishes.

 

(September 2012)

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