D.C. residents who haven’t yet tasted the masterfully smoked, premium-cut brisket 2Fifty Texas BBQ sells out of its home base in Riverdale Park, Maryland, will soon be able to do so from inside city lines. CEO Debby Portillo and Fernando González, her barbecue-obsessed husband, have struck a deal with the mega developers at Edens to operate a food stand selling their critically acclaimed Hill Country-style barbecue inside the Union Market food hall in Northeast.
The food hall stall will operate with a condensed menu of meats, sandwiches, and sides under the name 2fifty’s, which is expected to open inside Union Market by mid-May. The company is asking customers to RSVP for the grand opening at the new location using a Google form, and more updates will be posted to a new Instagram page for 2fifty’s.
“Union Market shares our view of focusing on quality,” Portillo says in a statement provided to Eater. “We were born on a 10x10ft [space] at our local farmers market, so we are familiar with this type of setting.”
After opening in Prince George’s County just under a year ago, 2Fifty Texas BBQ drew immediate notice from local media and landed the coveted No. 1 spot on Washington Post food columnist Tim Carman’s annual barbecue rankings. González’s studious approach to Texas barbecue, commitment to cooking exclusively with wood fires, and decision to source from highly respected beef purveyors all factor into the final product. During the pandemic, when finding beef could be a challenge, the company began acquiring prime briskets from Creekstone Farms, in Kansas, and “American wagyu” briskets from Snake River Farms in Idaho. Beef ribs, St. Louis-style pork ribs, turkey breast, pulled pork, sausage, and other specials are all available in Riverdale Park alongside sides like Central American red beans that reference the owners’ Salvadoran heritage.
One of the biggest challenges for Portillo and González has been how to placate customers who are upset when they find out the barbecue has sold out for the day. The recent arrival of a 1,000-gallon, direct-flow smoker from Georgia-based manufacturer Primitive Pits allows 2Fifty to ramp up production to serve the second business.
González tells Eater all the barbecue will travel from the Riverdale Park headquarters to the Union Market stall, where it will be held in a new proofing cabinet with humidity and heat control before being sliced to order.
“It’s a 16 [minute] ride from here and we have been working hard prototyping and monitoring everything for months,” he says in a text message. He says 2fifty’s will start out with limited options and hours, and the company is looking for employees to staff the D.C. location.