Jul 10, 2023 - Food and Drink

D.C. area's best BBQ joint 2Fifty to expand into Mt. Vernon Triangle

2Fifty Texas BBQ platter

More meaty eats coming. Photo courtesy of Rey Lopez/2Fifty

The Washington metro's best barbecue spot, 2Fifty Texas BBQ, is expanding from the Maryland 'burbs with a new D.C. restaurant next year in Mt. Vernon Triangle.

Why it matters: Plans are underway to open a K Street smokehouse with 100% wood-smoked barbecue prepared on the premises — extremely rare in D.C.

Catch up quick: Pitmaster Fernando González and wife/business partner Debby Portillo, both El Salvador natives, have smoked the competition since opening their barbecue restaurant in Riverdale Park in 2020.

  • Their unique style, "Central Texas-style BBQ with a bit of the tropics," has made 2Fifty a destination 'cue spot, as has González's dedication to ethically sourced meats and steakhouse-quality cuts such as Creekstone Farms wagyu brisket.

Yes, but: They face an uphill barbecue permitting battle, with plans to operate two 1,000-gallon Texan smokers in a tricked-out storage facility near downtown.

  • While live-fire cooking is popular in D.C. restaurants, most BBQ operations transport wood-smoked meat from the 'burbs to the city or use gas-assisted smokers (e.g,. Federalist Pig).

What they're saying: "We just want to be treated like other [wood-burning restaurants]," says Portillo. "We're driving into undriven territory. We know it's going to take some time."

What's happening: The restaurant is slated for next winter. 2Fifty will expand operations in Riverdale Park with the new custom smokers, and transport meats as they do to their Union Market location.

  • The food hall stall will close on December 31 — the end of a three-year lease.
  • For the D.C. smokehouse, they've tapped design team Active Air, which is behind some of the best urban wood-smoked joints (e.g. Houston's Truth BBQ).

The bottom line: Expect more 2Fifty deliciousness: ribs, chicken, brisket, and the kind of Central American specials — barbecue pupusas, smoky chicharrones — that they say make their parents proud.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to remove a reference to Rocklands as an example of BBQ operations that transport wood-smoked meat from the suburbs to D.C. The restaurant performs the smoking at its Glover Park location.

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