Out-of-town barbecue joints sure seem to love Washington. The latest: Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill is planning a major expansion in the market.
The Orange Country Register reports the California-based company "plans to open 10 restaurants over the next three to four years, targeting much of its growth in affluent markets in Washington, D.C., and Maryland." One of those will open in 2015 at the redeveloped Springfield Mall.
Update: Alex Benes, a partner in the company and director of culinary development, confirms the plans. No leases are signed beyond the Springfield location, but they hope to open that one by May if all goes as planned with permitting and construction.
“What will happen, most likely, is since it’s so competitive out there, once we open the one in Springfield, local developers will be able to come in very easily and understand what we’re about,” he said. The company would like to do up to 25 locations in the East Coast in general. He’s scouted such neighborhoods as Tysons Corner and Falls Church. Suburban locations are more likely than ones in D.C. proper because of size and space requirements, but they are keeping an eye on the Southwest Waterfront.
Benes says the restaurant isn’t as much a barbecue joint as “an american restaurant that features barbecue.” Some people have likened it to a Houston’s for families, he said. Both he and another partner have spent time living in D.C., so they’re comfortable with the market.
The restaurant also features salads, seafoods and gluten-free items.
The company isn't the only out-of-town barbecue joint to eye D.C. Franchise Dickey's BBQ Pit recently started opening locations in Northern Virginia (Hill Country already has a location here). And Oklahoma Joe's recently announced intentions for Washington, though details are scarce right now.