Young and Hungry

Epic SmokeHouse Coming to Arlington

Wayne Halleran has spent the past 11 years as a waiter at The Palm in Tysons Corner. Now, he and former Palm assistant GM Joon Yang are preparing to open a place of their own called Epic SmokeHouse near the Pentagon City Mall.

Halleran tells Y&H the smokehouse will be somewhere between a fine dining steakhouse and a barbecue joint, with dishes like horseradish-crusted smoked prime rib and ancho-crusted smoked sea bass atop butter-poached portobellos in a miso broth. (A mouthful to say, if not necessarily to eat.) Also expect lighter fare like smoked tomato soup and chilled watermelon tomato soup. Entrees will average around $25, appetizers around $8. The drink menu will focus on wine and fresh-juice cocktails that will rotate with the seasons. Joon is even playing with smoked ice.

The space, located at 1330 S. Fair St. in Arlington, will have a "masculine, classy" look with a bar made of reclaimed barn wood. (Reclaimed barn wood seems to be all the rage these days.) It's scheduled to open at the end of July or early August.

Wayne grew up in Fairfax County and attended culinary school before working in a number of professional kitchens. He says he didn't want to be the kind of chef that only knew how to work the back of the house, so he began waiting tables. He also spent three years during his tenure at The Palm catering private functions and weddings as in-house chef at a friend's vineyard, Chateau O'Brien in Markham, Va.

He and Joon met more than 20 years ago at Winston's, which has since become Rhino Bar & Pumphouse, in Georgetown. Joon, a level 1 sommelier, has since worked his way through server and management positions at a number of steakhouses including Morton's and The Capital Grille in Tysons as well as The Palm.

The duo have long hoped to open their own restaurant. And as for the name? Wayne tells us simply that he hopes the place will be epic.

Interior rendering via Collective Architecture

Comments

  1. #1

    $25 a plate for BBQ food? I hope they rethink that.

  2. #2

    I'm willing to pay $25 for BBQ if its that good. Wasted a lot of money on mediocre food before. I'm willing to give it a try and willing to pay.
    Good Luck guys!

  3. Robert Zimmerman
    #3

    Having had numerous meals prepared by Chef Halleran at Chateau O'Brien, I can honestly say that I would gladly pay $25 for an entrée. Maybe Famous Dave’s is more of your speed bbqking?

  4. Margaret Harrison
    #4

    There is no "S Fair Street" near Penaton City. They must mean S. Fern Street.

  5. #5

    My husband and I have been going to The Palm for years and always enjoyed seeing Wayne when we went. I am so excited for his new restaurant to open! We love Wayne! P.S. - To Wayne ... I'll bring the lobster!

  6. #6

    Fair Street is a block east of Fern Street. Basically, Epic Smokehouse will be across the street (to the east) from Costco. From what the grapevine says, Wayne and Joon are pulling together a solid team of area front- and back-of-the-house titans. This should end up being a really interesting place.

  7. #7

    We are in a depression. $16 is the most I'm willing to pay for a meat dish. That will leave some room for 1 drink and no dessert. You are pricing yourself out of business before it begin. I'm just glad there are competition out there.

  8. #8

    I think $25 for an entree is definitely a reasonable price, especially considering the projected quality of the restaurant itself, as well as the location. I mean, seriously, we're not talking fast food, diner, or dive food. Also consider the leadership here have been working for higher-end restaurants for years, so you pay for what you get, my friends. I'm very excited to make the special trip and check this place out for myself! :)

  9. #9

    $25 seems to be a bit high for chicken dish or something on those lines. I may pay that much for a high quality steak or lobster dish. Hope they have better happy hour prices...if so, I'll be there everyday after work.

  10. #10

    Already been here a few times and I can honestly say that I wasn't too impressed. Above average, but not top-notch.

    First visit, I ordered the brisket with a side of mac and cheese. When the plate arrived I saw two thin, little strips of brisket. TWO?!? It almost seemed like a joke. Now, if the brisket was out-of-this-world awesome, I would have accepted the tiny portion and moved on. But the brisket didn't have very much flavor and it wasn't especially tender. I finished the brisket in about six bites and moved onto the mac and cheese which - thankfully - was very good. Salvaged the meal.

    Second visit, I ordered a burger and fries. The fries were great and the burger, while above average, wasn't anything to write home about. The cheese and bacon on the burger, however, were quite tasty.

    I hate to write this place off so quickly because the folks there seem very nice and open to suggestions/criticism, so I won't write it off. But I can't justify regular visits to Epic. Not yet, at least.

    My suggestion: give it a try.

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