A farmers market stand in Prince George’s County that sells Texas-style brisket, pulled pork, and mustardy German-Czech potato salad opened its first standalone restaurant location Sunday for carryout in Riverdale Park.
Instead of the Texas Hill Country, 2Fifty Texas BBQ’s owners come to the D.C. area by way of El Salvador. Married couple Fernando González and Debby González have a 500-gallon, smoker that’s burning oak at the former Dumm’s Corner Market.
To start, a limited menu of barbecue by the pound includes brisket ($21), beef ribs ($18), and pulled pork ($13), half-racks of pork ribs ($15), whole-smoked chicken (for $18), and sausage links ($3 each).
And since Maryland remains under a “stay-at-home” order, 2Fifty is starting service slowly, opening Sundays only for online orders and contactless pickup between 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Opening a restaurant during a pandemic has presented a few challenges, of course. Because of the novel coronavirus crisis, there won’t be full service, a marquee sign, or any indoor seating for a while.
A limited drink menu is a work in progress. Pitmaster Fernando González says he’s building a craft beer list, which already includes options from Riverdale Park’s Denizens Brewing Co. and Streetcar82, a deaf-owned brewery in Hyattsville. Expect Maryland wines and meads from producers like Gemeny Winery and Vineyards and Maryland Meadworks to come on.
González has sold his barbecue at the Riverdale Park Farmers Market for more than a year, and 2Fifty will continue that run on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“We are cautious and optimistic for the future, and we are following all guidance before we move forward with full-operating hours,” González says. “To me, opening this restaurant is all about the neighborhood, and the people I love the most.”
To serve his community, González says he’s channeling the passion and purpose of his favorite Central Texas pitmasters.
“I really try to go down there whenever I can to learn, and I get inspiration from Franklin Barbecue, Snow’s BBQ, Louie Mueller, and Terry Black’s,” he says. “I think from all of those, Aaron Franklin has been my greatest influence.”
González says he started making Texas barbecue when he loved in El Salvador. As a family, he says the group has almost 60 combined years in the restaurant business back home.
His family started a catering business in San Salvador called 265 BBQ that counted diplomats from the U.S. embassy among its regular customers.
“It was in my pursuit of new cooking styles that I made contact with barbecue,” González says. “While it’s very well known in the United States, it’s almost nonexistent in El Salvador, were we practice direct-fire grilling rather than convective heat and indirect fire.”
Now, he shares smoking duties with his wife and his brother, Moses, who on Sunday worked the line with him slicing and preparing orders.
Debby González is a third-generation restaurant owner, too, her husband says.
“Her grandmother started Tipicos Margoth, a Salvadoran-gastronomic restaurant in 1962, and it has several branches [in San Salvador],” Fernando González says.
The González family targeted Prince George’s County as the place to plant its U.S. restaurants, receiving guidance from the county’s economic development corporation and working with the town of Riverdale Park.
In October, his family acquired both the Dumm’s Corner Market, where 2Fifty is located, as well as the adjacent space, Dumm’s Pizza & Sub, a Riverdale Park mainstay that changed hands last year after three decades of ownership by another husband-and-wife team, Georgia and Mike Spiropoulos.
The pizza shop remains open, with 2Fifty smoking chicken wings and pulled pork for a barbecue-topped pie.
2Fifty Texas BBQ, 4700 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale Park, Maryland, 301-277-2208, website