There are a multitude of places to eat in Fredericksburg. One in the historic district even pays homage to John Washington by hanging a portrait of him in the dining hall (FoodE on Princess Anne Street). But if you’re looking for an obscure, local dine-in experience with a light dose of historical context, I’d recommend driving the extra 20 or so minutes to the east.
Tim’s II at Fairview offers seafood and the occasional music event right on the Potomac River. I chose this place because of the location. Up until now, I had never really experienced the Potomac River. I had driven over it in early “Campaigns” into Virginia and Maryland, but never gazed across its expanse to reflect on the significance of the river and the role it played in American history.
Nothing particularly interesting might have happened in the 19th century at this spot along the Potomac, but going to a restaurant on the water would have been something I was familiar with, growing up on the “Emerald Coast” of Panhandle Florida. The inside, decorated in a fisherman’s motif of nets, fake fish, driftwood art, framed newspaper clippings, and wharf memorabilia, was like stepping into any seafood joint in Destin or Pensacola back home. It’s amazing that even over a thousand miles away, some themes can transcend beautifully.
We were seated at a corner booth and I enjoyed the novelty of the table design. Seashells were showcased in the tabletop itself and preserved by a thick layer of sealant. Our backs were to a window and beyond were outdoor diners, so yes, there is outdoor seating available for those who want to brave the wind coming off the water.
My one lament about Tim’s II was the service. It seemed to take a while for the waitress to notice we had been seated in her section, but I also saw that she was handling a large party in the other dining room, which makes the delay excusable. I also noticed that many of the wait staff were of high school or college-age. Take that bit of information as you wish. The wait wasn’t all bad, however, because we could sit and relax after our long day of trekking across the North Anna and Cold Harbor battlefields. (Tim’s II is about an hour or so away from Cold Harbor, to put that in perspective)
Jared and I decided to share a dish, something we had resolved to do earlier on this trip to avoid excessive leftovers we would have to take with us on the road. Of course, when I saw mozzarella sticks on the menu, I insisted we try them. I order these at every given chance. While I’ve had better, the cheese sticks at Tim’s II were satisfying to my hungry stomach.
For our main course, we decided on the Rock Fish dinner plate. I had never had Rock Fish before that I can recall and now I’m eager to find it at other seafood places. Biting into the perfectly cooked and seasoned fish was like being back in Florida. As a girl who grew up eating seafood at pretty much every big family gathering, that’s saying something. If a place in Virginia can provide the same quality of seafood as a place in Florida, you’ve scored big.
I picked one side (fries) and Jared picked the other (potato salad), but I ended up snitching from his side periodically throughout dinner. Something I’m usually very picky about is my potato salad (I don’t like the crunchy pickle bits), but Tim’s II hit that sweet spot between tender and sweet that had me dipping my fork in his potato salad quite a few times. The hushpuppies were fried well. Not too dry and not too soft.
True to our plan, we didn’t have leftovers, which was slightly disappointing now because I wished we could have had another round of Tim’s II again.
Overall, if you’re far from home and want some excellent seafood right on the water, I recommend Tim’s II. It doesn’t have as much historical essence as some other places, but it’s steeped in local culture. I could tell that from the numerous newspaper clippings on the wall. But if you’re willing to drive the scenic route from Fredericksburg, it’s well worth it.
For more information about the menu, directions, additional locations, and events, visit: