Freddy's BBQ Joint in House of Cards may be fictional, but chef Andrew Evans of Maryland's The BBQ Joint wants to channel a bit of the Frank Underwood favorite at his new D.C. location. Granted, Evans has never actually watched the hit Netflix series, but his brother has been hammering to "do this House of Cards thing" in the capital city.
"I don't think anybody owns the rib market in D.C. quite frankly," says Evans, who operates a barbecue counter in Union Market in addition to restaurants in Easton and Pasadena, Md. And so, he's looking to "take ribs up a notch" at his new location of The BBQ Joint, which will be located in the former Den of Thieves space at 14th and U streets NW. Restaurateur Eric Hilton is partnering in the venture.
For the first time in his restaurants, Evans will be using pellet smokers, which he uses for barbecue competitions, for his ribs. In all of these contests, Evans says the optimal time to serve the meat is 45 minutes after the rest period in the smoker. To let everyone know when the ribs are at their peak, The BBQ Joint will have a red light that goes on with a timer. Evans says it's a riff on the "Hot Now" light that Krispy Kreme turns on when its doughnuts are fresh.
"I do think I may be one of the first barbecue restaurants in America to do this," Evans says.
Evans will sell ribs by the full rack (roughly three pounds)—no half or quarter racks. "That way the ribs are pristine and you get your own rack, and they're all together," he says. "They're actually better that way." Diners will, however, be able to get just a couple ribs as part of a meat platter with brisket, pulled pork, and other meats.
Texas native Cody Penton, previously of Hälsa, will oversee the open kitchen. Aside from the barbecue staples, other menu items will include Frito pie, a smoked pastrami and slaw sandwich, smoked tofu chili, and a Texas cheesesteak with chopped brisket, shaved jalapeños, red onions, and Evans' own homemade cheese whiz.
At the bar, expect bourbons and bourbon cocktails plus some local craft beers, PBR, and Saranac root beer on tap.
Evans hopes to open the restaurant no later than March 1—which just so happens to be right before the March 4 premiere of House of Cards season 4.
Photo courtesy Andrew Evans