Six restaurant openings to be thankful for in Northern Virginia

Published in Northern Virginia Magazine. By Laura Hayes

Photo courtesy of Laura Hayes

Four buzzed-about restaurants are headed to Northern Virginia in the coming weeks and months, and two others opened yesterday. There’s something for everyone to be thankful for in this class of newcomers, from ramen and barbecue to naan pizza and fresh pasta. Here’s what to expect at Yona, Texas Jack’s, Palette 22, Hank’s Pasta Bar, Spice-6 and Hula Girl Bar & Grill. 

Restaurant: Texas Jack’s
Status: Opening Dec. 7
Location: Arlington (2761 Washington Blvd.) 
Hours: Daily from 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

You can smell heavenly smoke before you even open the doors to Texas Jack’s from partners Steve Roberts and Paul Capetanakis. The Greek Americans don’t bat an eye about opening a barbecue joint. “We started it all 7,000 years ago,” Roberts says. “There is a two-sided terracotta grill (known as the firedogs) in Santorini that forms the oldest grill on earth,” he add as evidence. But Roberts and Capetanakis won’t man the kitchen. That job belongs to chef Matt Lang, who brings experience from Hill Country BBQ locally and Fette Sau in New York.

Lang is particularly proud of his Texas-style brisket and beef short ribs, as well as his pork shoulder that’s inspired by the Yucatan dish cochinita pibil. “It may not be served on a banana leaf, but I am injecting it with bitter orange juice,” he says. Also expect fresh takes on sides that won’t weigh you down, seasonal pies for dessert, a brown liquor-based cocktail program and an arsenal of craft beers.

The expansive space is divided into a bar, main dining room and private dining room all appointed with handmade furniture and rustic stylings by Akseizer Design Group. But what draws you in is a digitally printed black-and-white mural of an 18th-century etching that could keep kids playing I spy for hours. The motif is even printed on to-go bags. Eating here you might feel like a cowboy, as you should: Texas Jack’s is named after Jack Omohundro, a Virginia-born cowboy who Roberts describes as the Brad Pitt of his time.

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