Each day, Government Chef Lindsey Ayala fires up a smoker exterior the Crowne Plaza hotel in Crystal City and feeds the hearth with hickory wooden.
She is smoking meats “low and sluggish,” slathering them with scratch-made sauces and serving sides akin to mac and cheese, collard greens, and cheddar cornbread for a brand new pop-up restaurant idea inside the lodge known as Tom Bones BBQ.
The meals is on the market for supply by on GrubHub and UberEats or will be picked up from Potomac Social Tavern at 1480 Crystal Drive. It’s how Potomac Social Tavern, managed by B. F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, is trying to climate the restrictions on indoor eating whereas nonetheless cooking meals for restaurant patrons and lodge visitors.
Ayala, a pastry chef by coaching who got here to barbecue later in her profession, stated she tries to be devoted to regional barbecue kinds from in Memphis to Missouri. Even Baltimore, her hometown, has its personal horseradish sauce, though folks could not notice it, she stated.
“Wherever you go on the map, I’ve the sauce for that,” she stated.
She delivers region-specific tastes by her sauces, whether or not it’s a South Carolina-style mustard sauce or an japanese North Carolina-style spicy vinegar sauce.
“Southern states are normally the place you get critical barbecue, so when folks come to Virginia, they assume we’re Northerners who don’t know something,” she stated. “Hopefully, it’ll remind you of how they do it at residence.”
Ayala dove into barbecuing when she developed recipes to assist her father launch a household restaurant in 2014. The 2 ran the restaurant and offered their meals at flea markets, farmers’ markets and church occasions. Not lengthy after, nevertheless, he needed to depart to take care of his well being.
Now, Ayala is selecting up the place she and her father left off, smoking brisket for as much as 16 hours a day on the pool patio of the Crowne Plaza (the pool remains to be closed as a COVID-19 precaution).
Thus far, Ayala stated the brand new idea goes nicely sufficient that she wanted to rent a second cook dinner. Typically talking, she stated these pickup and delivery-only ideas — typically known as ghost kitchens — present restaurant house owners with an excellent security web, serving to to generate additional income at a tiny fraction of the price of launching a brand new bricks-and-mortar restaurant.
“I feel this may stick round,” she stated. “If this occurs once more, we want a security web to get our meals on the market with out folks having to take a seat down and dine.”
The pop-up idea is a pilot program inside the hospitality group, Ayala stated. The opposite restaurant testing out the thought is O’Malley’s Pub contained in the Vacation Inn close to Dulles airport. There, she stated, Chef Stephon Washington is working a pickup and supply idea for Caribbean-style meals, impressed by his Jamaican roots, known as Grandpa Hank’s Jamaican Kitchen.
“It’s an equally nice story,” she stated.