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Smokecraft BBQ to Open in Clarendon Later This Month

A new barbecue joint is hoping for an opening sizzle despite other restaurants going up in smoke during the pandemic.

Smokecraft Modern Barbecue is planning to open at 1051 N. Highland Street in Clarendon, in the former Citizen Burger Bar space, on Friday, July 31, the restaurant just announced.

Given the reality of opening during a global health crisis, some things have changed since the restaurant was being planned last year.

“Originally slated to open in the spring, Owner and Pitmaster Andrew Darneille had to reimagine his business model and adapt to COVID-19 times with protocol prompted by guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the CDC,” notes a press release. “In addition to taking necessary health and safety precautions to protect the restaurant’s team and guests, the seating layout has been altered to allow for ample social distancing, menus will be projected on screens to minimize high touchpoints, and a takeout program will be offered with to-go beverage options.”

The food menu — available for lunch and dinner — includes duroc pork belly burnt ends, smoked avocado deviled eggs, grilled peach and prosciutto crostini, St. Louis ribs, wagyu brisket, smoked spaghetti squash, and applewood-smoked chesapeake crab cakes.

There will also be a brunch menu, with “smoked monte cristo and proper chicken and waffles,” and a “distinct and interactive beverage program.”

More from the press release:

Smokecraft Modern Barbecue (1051 N Highland St, Arlington, VA 22201) is excited to open its doors to the public on Friday, July 31. Smokecraft Championship BBQ, which won over 70 awards in 2019, including being named a KCBS Pork Team of the Year Finalist, and Reserve Grand Champions at the York County BBQ Festival just last month, seeks to continue pushing the limits of barbecue with their first brick and mortar location. Smokecraft will offer a diverse menu to satisfy every taste for lunch, dinner, and brunch, accompanied by dynamic beverage offerings and an expanded takeout menu.

Originally slated to open in the spring, Owner and Pitmaster Andrew Darneille had to reimagine his business model and adapt to COVID-19 times with protocol prompted by guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the CDC. In addition to taking necessary health and safety precautions to protect the restaurant’s team and guests, the seating layout has been altered to allow for ample social distancing, menus will be projected on screens to minimize high touchpoints, and a takeout program will be offered with to-go beverage options.

“We are excited to finally be able to share our award-winning barbecue with the local community,” says Owner and Pitmaster Andrew Darneille. “While these are challenging times to open a restaurant, we will continue to evolve our brand, while never waiving in our commitment to use the highest quality products to produce an amazing barbecue dining experience.”

Joining Darneille at the kitchen helm is Executive Sous Chef William Burke, specializing in everything from preserving and canning to low and slow barbecue. A self-trained chef, Burke spent time in southern and midwestern kitchens developing a unique perspective on barbecuing and the desire to bring aspects of smoke and ash into his cuisine. He fine-tuned his curing and smoking techniques at restaurants including Bull and Bird Steakhouse, Revival Social Dinner, and The Smith Restaurant in Burton, Ohio. At Smokecraft Modern Barbecue, Burke looks to evolve his cooking and weave his barbecuing methods into the culinary experience.

Smokecraft’s Southern Pride commercial smokers allow the team to smoke over 2,000 pounds of meat while using an assortment of woods to create various flavors. Guests can choose from numerous appetizers like duroc pork belly burnt ends, smoked avocado deviled eggs, and grilled peach and prosciutto crostini. Entrée options include Smokecraft’s award-winning favorites such as their St. Louis ribs and wagyu brisket, and modern takes including smoked spaghetti squash, and applewood-smoked chesapeake crab cakes. The restaurant will also offer an expansive brunch menu. Dishes such as the smoked monte cristo and proper chicken and waffles highlight a selection of offerings that will be available on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The restaurant’s expansive 35-foot bar is the perfect backdrop to showcase Smokecraft’s distinct and interactive beverage program, designed by Chief Mixologist Lauren “LP” Paylor. Having studied under Derek Brown at Drink Company, and worked for DC staples such as The Dabney, Dos Mamis, and Silver Lyan, Paylor brings a wealth of knowledge developing cocktail programs and training bar teams. A nationally ranked bartender, Paylor was named a finalist at the 2019 United States World Class Competition 2019 and winner of the 2019 Hardy Legends Cognac Competition.

Paylor’s cocktail program plays with density and tannins, featuring three key components to complement the barbecue flavors: heat, smoke and baking spice. Enjoy cocktails like Smoke on the Water, a variation of the old fashioned with Catoctin Creek rye whiskey, spiced simple syrup, and aromatic bitters, smoked in a glass with wood chips, and The More, The Mary, a build-your-own bloody mary with an assortment of garnishes like roasted vegetables and candied applewood smoked bacon. Those seeking a low-ABV beverage can order the Summertime Punch with green tea, lemon, spiced honey syrup, and sparkling wine. If ordering drinks for carryout, enjoy classic cocktails to-go like highballs, martinis, Aperol spritzes, and more. Growlers of craft beer and wine bottles will also be available for takeout.

Smokecraft Modern Barbecue will be open for dine-in service, takeout, and delivery Monday through Thursday from 11am to 10pm, Fridays from 11am to 11pm, Saturdays from 10am to 11pm, and Sundays from 10am to 10pm.

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