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Hard Times Cafe

Certificate of Excellence
Old Town
American, Southwestern, Bar
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1404 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314-2715
+1 703-837-0050
11:00 - 23:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun 11:00 - 22:45
Mon - Thu 11:00 - 23:00
Fri - Sat 11:00 - 23:45
More Info
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578 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 573: English reviews
Hinckley, Ohio
Level Contributor
60 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

We visited after a long morning/afternoon in DC for Inauguration ,heading back to our hotel. We loved that you are given samples of the 4 types of chili. I ordered the Texas one, which I originally thought would be my last choice. The onion rings and cornbread were good too. A short walk from the King Street metro station and... More 

Thank Hygienist83
Willis, Texas
Level Contributor
24 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

Friendly staff. Nice environment. Affordable. Chili had no heat. The description says it is an old Texas chili cook off recipe. The chili in Texas has heat. Suggestion, add a 5th option with some extra jalapenos and give it a kick with a habenaro pepper.

Thank Robertson820
Level Contributor
20 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

My first visit to Hard Times...love the Cinci chili! Sort of a spare atmosphere, but nice. I would go back again

Thank 1Jp1
Zionsville, Indiana, United States
Level Contributor
328 reviews
247 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

On a cold January day, a bowl of chili sounded like the best lunch option. Hard Time Café was an excellent choice. They feature four styles of chili, each with or without beans and it can be combined with other options (Chili lovers will understand when I say you can get a "six-way" serving). Also excellent were the home made... More 

Thank HoosierWisdom
DC C, Owner at Hard Times Cafe, responded to this review

Thank you for your kind words. I will pass them on to Deborah and the staff. They love hearing from our guests and we post all the reviews. Thanks for your business. More 

Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
117 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Four choices of chili with thoughtful sampler plate to let us try before buying- great idea. Tasty cornbread and hearty bowls of chili with beans or white rice- shame all the toppings were priced separately as extras as that pushed the bill up a little. Good choice of local beer and great friendly and welcoming atmosphere- nice. Model horse on... More 

Thank Barbara C
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Like the name, we had a hard time visit there a couple of weeks ago! Our time there was almost a 3 hours ordeal included the wait, order and the time that the food arrived! It was nuts! Yes, chili was good but not worth the hype! Service was average! Cleanliness of the place was questionable as well!

Thank Seinfe
Level Contributor
18 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We are big chili lovers and this place hit the spot with us! I loved that they offer a sampling of their chilis to help you make your decision. The chili frito pie was the bomb. The service was great and our waitress was super fun. We will definitely go back when we are in town!

Thank Zoie M
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
44 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Wandered in the place after seeing the signs for Chile on the outside. It has been there for nearly 4 decades and has a lot of character. Take them up on their offer to taste their 4 chili's (no charge). Each are unique and very good. If you want beans added you need to ask. Even the vegetarian chili was... More 

Thank jeffandellen77
DC C, Owner at Hard Times Cafe, responded to this review

Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to let us know. I will pass them on to the staff. Most Mother's of the world but beans in their Chili, they are inexpensive and a good source of protein. We like to give you a choice. Thanks for your business. More 

Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

I love this place. They have the best chili dogs in the DC area. Don't let the run down look fool you, there's a gem of a restaurant hidden inside. This is also a great place to grab a beer (or three) after work. I highly recommend it!

Thank cmsmith0009
Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We were looking for a "not so fancy" place to eat. And boy, we found it. They give you free cornbread and chili sample. That was cool. But the food in general was ok (I would expect a $10 burger to be cooked properly). The eggrolls were tasty. You won't leave hungry but you won't be back. The place as... More 

Thank Michele R
DC C, Owner at Hard Times Cafe, responded to this review

Thanks for your feedback. I apologies for the miss cooked burger. We will work with the cooks and staff to get this fixed. We should have checked back to make sure it was cooked how you ordered it and fixed it on the spot. We really blew it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it's how we make it... More 

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 bubbles
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
    4 of 5 bubbles
American, Southwestern, Bar
Lunch, Dinner, After-hours
Restaurant features
Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Highchairs Available
Good for
Cheap Eats, Kids, Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Open Hours
11:00 - 22:45
11:00 - 23:00
11:00 - 23:00
11:00 - 23:00
11:00 - 23:00
11:00 - 23:45
11:00 - 23:45
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 1404 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314-2715
  • Location: United States  >  Virginia (VA)  >  Alexandria>  > Old Town
  • Neighbourhood: Old Town
  • Phone Number: +1 703-837-0050

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Hard Times Cafe and other visitors
2 questions
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Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia

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Questions? Get answers from Hard Times Cafe staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?