Texas Jacks: Designing for Barbecue

Published by DC by Design. By Jennifer Sergent.

Photo courtesy of DC by Design

When I wrote for Arlington Magazine this summer that Texas Jack’s was coming to town, I was excited to see that the interior designer on the job was Jeff Akseizer, whose warm, contemporary aesthetic can be found in ultra-high-end spaces such as The Lauren condos in Bethesda, and the White Moose Inn in Washington, VA.

Well, Texas Jack’s is finally open, and Jeff invited me and my family to dinner there last week. The wood beams are reclaimed from Virginia barns, and the tables were commissioned and built with floor boards from a barn in West Virginia. The Virginia connection is relevant, because “Texas Jack” Omohundro was born Pleasure Hill, VA, in 1846 before moving to the Lone Star state to become a well-known cattle rancher.

“We really wanted to have that sense of home—a warm and inviting space,” Jeff says. Indeed, owner Steve Roberts told me that Texas natives have already found their way here, and the menu feels as much like a homecoming as the interiors do.

Chef Matt Lang’s wife is vegetarian, so it was a happy surprise to see so many yummy meatless offerings on the menu, such as pan-fried corn and cilantro, crispy brussels sprouts, smashed cucumbers with Greek yogurt and jalapeno honey, and kale Caesar salad. (For more on the menu’s offerings, check out this recent post on Arlington Magazine’s food blog.)

Just like the meat-focused menu has some vegetarian surprises, the interior design has some nice detours, too.

This 19th-century mural in the bar has nothing to do with cowboys or cattle ranching, but the owners—and Akseizer—loved it. “We wanted something that was whimsical, that allowed the fantasy of the visual to take over,” he says.

And this mural, painted by local artist Lisa Tureson of Studio Artistica, breaks free from the vintage feel with this cool, modern, rustic mural of the U.S. map.

There’s also a back room, where private parties can host events. This is where you get a sense of Texas Jack’s life in his cattle-ranch heyday.

Thanks to Jeff, Matt and Steve for hosting us last week—we will be back!

See original article and more photos here.



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.

Read full article here.