Perhaps we shall dub this Barbecue Week. Pork Barrel BBQ has announced that it'll finally open its doors this evening, but don't forget that there's another barbecue restaurant opening in Virginia this week courtesy of a few Tennessee natives: Memphis Barbeque. Eater took a look inside the forthcoming restaurant — which is set to open in Crystal City on December 1 — and its duo of smokers, Memphis-style menus and decor designed to evoke that Southern city, which owner Chris George says is known for two things: great barbecue and the blues.
The pitmaster here is one Redrick Rayborn, whose last gig was as a manger at Corky's in Memphis. Meats will be smoked over a live hickory wood-burning fire, available both sauced and dry rub with a house-made barbecue sauce that George describes as a cross between the Kansas City and Carolina styles — not to sweet, not too vinegary. Menu options are pork-centric, of course, in the true Memphis style and include things like pulled pork eggrolls, ribs and pulled pork shoulder. But there's also brisket, chicken and seafood on the menu such as a blackened shrimp dish and rotating fresh fish. Beers on tap in the sizable bar space include your usual domestic drafts, plus Stella, Guinness, Smithwick, Fat Tire and more.
As for the space itself, George says the team designed Memphis Barbeque to feel warm and cozy but also clean and upscale. They're trying to be the next spot for date nights or business meetings — Crystal City being the a strong intersection of business, residential and tourist traffic, according to George. So some of the restaurant's walls are made from red brick while others are painted a bright red and all are adorned with photographs and mementos of Memphis and its blues scene. They've got black booths and that aforementioned sizable bar outfitted with flat-screen TVs.
Memphis Barbeque is already accepting reservations by telephone at 571-970-2727 for its lunchtime opening on Thursday and beyond.