dcaCRL

Pork Barrel BBQ, Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray - From The Owners of Mango Mike's

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ETA - kind of interesting that Mango Mike's is participating, even though they're located nowhere near Del Ray smile.gif

Mango Mike's owners are opening a new place (supposedly bbq?) in that former gas station/now construction site next to the Dairy Godmother. I guess they're participating to generate some buzz/goodwill in the new neighborhood.

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Mango Mike's owners are opening a new place (supposedly bbq?) in that former gas station/now construction site next to the Dairy Godmother. I guess they're participating to generate some buzz/goodwill in the new neighborhood.

Apparently the place is going to be called "Hog Thaid." It looks like a train wreck in the making, from what this article says it will be "divided into three sections — barbecue, Asian fusion and sushi." Oh, and apparently Del Rayians don't like the smell of burning smoke.

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In that neighborhood it does not shock me one bit. Too bad.

and so the beat goes on for DelRay, a neighborhood in which I live in, and try to support. problem is that many of the retail places that I visit say the same thing 'what looks to be a perfect little world is far from it' As many of the retail shops that are not food-oriented are suffering. I have always said that the neighborhood needs a 'bar' Not just one attached to a restaurant, but a 'bar'. I need that the guys who own La Strada have taken over the old pest control shop right next to their establishment and someone is opening a pizza place which used to be West Title company and juxtapose, corner of Mount Vernon and Delray I believe. need a bar! still looking.

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In that neighborhood it does not shock me one bit. Too bad.

can you think of any neighborhood that would want it 24/7? especially given how close housing is to the location?

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I was initially looking forward to a new barbecue joint in the neighborhood, but that changed with the news that it would be a BBQ/Sushi/Asian Wok restaurant. It's just a Sbarro's away from being a mall food court. No thanks.

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Weird. I thought this was supposed to be the Pork Barrell BBQ location. Anybody know if this three-part concept was the idea from the beginning?

The notice attached to the construction fencing does indeed read "Pork Barrel BBQ", but I can't answer your other question.

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Weird. I thought this was supposed to be the Pork Barrell BBQ location. Anybody know if this three-part concept was the idea from the beginning?

It is the same thing - the Pork Barrel BBQ guys are partnering with (Mango) Mike and someone else. Not sure if the current plan was what they were looking at doing when the project got started.

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I was initially looking forward to a new barbecue joint in the neighborhood, but that changed with the news that it would be a BBQ/Sushi/Asian Wok restaurant. It's just a Sbarro's away from being a mall food court. No thanks.

BBQ, sushi, fusion - this isn't a new concept - see SEI, Zengo, Masa 14, etc. It just so happens those joints use Asian BBQ. I have no interest in any of them (don't like BBQ, don't care for fusion, and I don't eat sushi rolls) but I don't see why Hog Thaid wouldn't work. :lol:

I'm just kidding - sounds like a trainwreck.

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It is the same thing - the Pork Barrel BBQ guys are partnering with (Mango) Mike and someone else. Not sure if the current plan was what they were looking at doing when the project got started.

I talked with them months ago at a Chamber Event and they said BBQ joint with no mention of fusion. But we didn't go on and on about it.

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Pork Barrel BBQ- it's promising.

Although not expected to open until late November, PBB was selling sandwich platters today at Del Ray's Art on the Avenue. I had the pulled pork sandwich with their original sauce, and Mr. MV had the brisket (tasting notes were "good, smokey and could be a little jucier"). The sandwiches came with coleslaw and beans (I remember the mention of rum in the sauce).

I'm encouraged with the pulled pork. It was quite smokey, juicy (not dependent on sauce for moisture) and tender. Nice topped with fresh slaw that was more vinegar than creamy, which I think compliments the meat better, at least to my tasters.

Plus, the platters were $6 and delightful when enjoyed sitting in the shade listening to live music :(

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Pork Barrel BBQ has a really cute logo that is up on the windows already.

Although the site states Spring 2010, obviously permit & inspections or construction delays have created a nice obstacle that barred them from opening (but appears on track for monavano's prediction above). I think it will be a nice addition to the Del Ray community, and of course, another excuse for me to make the Evening Star-Planet Wine-Cheesetique-Dairy Godmother glutton circle.

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Mango Mike's owners are opening a new place (supposedly bbq?) in that former gas station/now construction site next to the Dairy Godmother. I guess they're participating to generate some buzz/goodwill in the new neighborhood.

Two and a half years later, Pork Barrel BBQ has not yet opened - any idea when this is supposed to come to fruition?

(Not that I really care, mind you (other than for people's well-being), but I'm always daunted when these projects string out over months and years.)

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Two and a half years later, Pork Barrel BBQ has not yet opened - any idea when this is supposed to come to fruition?

(Not that I really care, mind you (other than for people's well-being), but I'm always daunted when these projects string out over months and years.)

I live up the street and see Mike in there from time to time. Not sure as to what the hold up is, but anticipation is leading to flat out frustration. More restaurants is what the neighborhood needs, but at this rate........

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I live up the street and see Mike in there from time to time. Not sure as to what the hold up is, but anticipation is leading to flat out frustration. More restaurants is what the neighborhood needs, but at this rate........

Agreed. We are also eagerly anticipating the opening of The Happy Tart bakery, but it seems to be creeping along as well. I know Alexandria can be slow sometimes - when Atlantis expanded in the Bradlee shopping center, it took months to get the permitting, and they already existed. (I know, not fine dining, but a neighborhood fixture nonetheless.)

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All three restaurants in the space must be completed before they can get inspected. The other two were much less close to ready than the BBQ space when I was given a tour in July.

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Chef Will Artley, formerly of The Evening Star, has been hanging out in there all weekend. Looks to be cooking and tasting with the Pork Barrel guys. Hopefully good news for the food when the place finally opens in 2013.

Speaking of The Evening Star, their renovation seems to be almost through. I am excited by the new beer program and the many new taps. I saw numerous kegs being loaded in on Saturday.

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Looks like they're open tonight from 5-10 to the public! Pork Barrel BBQ

We drove by and saw happy looking people in there last night... Mr. lperry will give them a couple of weeks to get things running smoothly before he'll try it, however, anyone else, please do report!

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Went by opening night and they had ran out of food. Reported 800 customers in 3.5 hours. I believe we were the first people to be refused food, so Mango Mike actually bought us a round of beers, which was very nice. The bar was packed, but the tables were not. I was disheartened with the beer selection.

From memory only 6 drafts: Starr Hill, Port City Monumental, Fat Tire, and something called Buffalo Sweat. Don't remember the rest.

I was very confused because the entire time I thought this was going to be a sit down restaurant. There are no servers, only bartenders. There is a take-out counter in the rear. All of the seating is first-come first-serve fend-for-yourselves. The food was served on a large aluminum cookie trays lined with paper. I am really unsure how this is going to work in the bar area, as space is a premium. I also don't know if you can order food through the bar tenders or you have to snag a seat at the bar, get up and get your food and make sure someone doesn't swipe your seat in the meantime.

Anyways, I think the form factor is going to hurt them. People aren't going to like other people buzzing over them in line while they sit in eat. The line kind of winds through the table seating area. The decor is very nice though, they spent a lot of time on it.

I was pleased with the menu selection. Sausage, ribs, chicken, pork, brisket. Sides looked yummy, smoked veggies, beans, cole slaw, mac and cheese, etc. You can order any of the meat or sides by the pound for a party or whatever. They also have a 1 lb. sandwich for $18. I was intrigued.

I am happy that it is so conducive to take out, but they are almost promoting it. It will be so unpredictable at a busy time that going there with a larger group of people will be a crap shoot and not ideal.

I hope to try the food soon. .

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So do you snag a table, decide, then go up and order? Or, go to the take out counter, order, then find a table? :blink:

That's the unfortunate dilemma.

People are going to have people save a table while they order for them, consecutively people who don't have tables that just ordered are going to get enraged at people sitting at an empty tables without food.

Meanwhile I'll be across the street at a picnic bench not drinking one of their beers.

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So do you snag a table, decide, then go up and order? Or, go to the take out counter, order, then find a table? blink.gif

We arrived shortly after opening today (3PM), and easily scored a couple of seats at the bar. Our strategy was to, ahem, hydrate first, order food later.

That approach paid off well. “When expected to attack, fortify” -Sun Tzu

And if the bar is full, snag a table anyway, and send someone up to the bar to order drinks. Tasty alcohol is bartender-provided, while all food and the wussy stuff (including an impressive selection of interesting bottled sodas) is ordered at a separate counter.

Because I was warned about the ordering process from Parwkster's post, I soon found the self-serve model both refreshing and laid back. Freedom arose in the form of sitting as long as we wanted without a "turn table" agenda. We relished the ability to step up and order more food when the mood struck, not when the table happened to be visited by a server grappling with other busy tables. The contrast of carrying my own roomy silver tray with brown paper lining felt like welcomed self-sufficiency in a town filled with countless doting service options.

Disclaimer: I could be happy in a centrifuge.

On to the food.

The simple menu appeals, the ingredients intuitive. Texas Caviar might be the most unfamiliar item, while other sides and meats offer straighforward understanding. We tried both the pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches, rich with smoky outer char, and pulled to order. My dining companion hails from Texas and just about wept with joy when he saw that, rather than the mass-market “pile it up first thing in the morning” method. Ordering by the pound, either eat in or take out, would be a boon for a crowd-pleasing meal.

I assumed the bun would be at best, lackluster, at worst, an afterthought, but the soft dough and welcoming bite far exceeded both standards. Try both barbecue sauces. Watch out, the darkest one in the squeeze bottle might change your life. Whether it’s some wonky preservative, elfin magic, or unholy spirits in that sauce, I don’t care, it’s hopelessly amazing, especially with the beef.

Collards (which included pulled pork) and slow cooked bbq beans were our initial sides, flavorful and memorable renditions. A later order of cole slaw was touted as “creamy”, seemed more salad-y, but touted orange bell pepper and a freshly appealing taste.

The uncomplicated menu somehow seems to appeal to every demographic. Craft beers and wine selections appear alongside PBR at the bar. Gluten-free and vegetarian dishes are noted alongside locally raised meat-based options.

Other initial impressions:

  • We asked about the 3PM open time on weekends, and learned that was due to the 8+ hour low and slow cooking process started each morning. Opening earlier would mean cooking overnight, which might be in the cards sometime, not yet.
  • Only open a few weeks and already 11 tips on FourSquare, mostly positive.
  • Dyson Airblade in the house! I nearly broke into song when I saw that in the tidy bathroom.
  • It turns out that cole slaw and contempt make a fine pairing. I kept in check my strong urge to throw several other bar patrons through the broad glass windows. People kept jostling my shoulder to reach over, order, and retrieve their beverages, even though the bar was not crowded. Maybe I had a "bump me" sign on my back from an Alexandria prankster, who knows. But a mere "excuse me" warning would have prevented both the disturbance and the ill will. Future patrons, take note.
  • Several staff appeared to be new to the restaurant industry, or at least new to this ordering format. We had to repeat our menu order twice, and then clarify again at the end due to apparent unfamiliarly with how the register reflected the menu. One of the bartenders poured glass after glass of wine nearly to the rim, and then served it to each patron by grasping at the rim (ick).
  • Yes, black bar napkins (looks better)! Yes2, brown meal napkins (which may mean unbleached paper)! A small but important touch for both aesthetics and the environment, well plaid played.
  • Different groups kept arguing with the lead bartender, asserting they knew more than he did about the original concept of the restaurant. "This was supposed to be a sports bar, you know" and "Originally this was going to be just like the such-and-such-restaurant ordering format" and a bunch of other stories. The bartender took it all graciously in stride, while hustling to continue good service for all, a friendly and adaptable presence.

In Summary: My Pork Barrel spending will continue.

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