BBQ Joint Opens in Bloomingdale
Former Hill Country Barbecue pitmaster Rob Sonderman recently opened his own BBQ joint in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. The DCity Smokehouse carryout opened about three weeks ago at 8 Florida Ave. NW, sharing its kitchen with Revive Catering.
The Revive owners used to sell carryout chicken and waffles and fried fish platters there, but closed the take-out more than a year ago because they didn’t have anyone to run the space. Sonderman, who lives in the neighborhood, said he found the space by responding to a help wanted ad.
DCity Smokehouse kept the chicken and red velvet waffles with maple bourbon syrup, crispy catfish sandwich and a few of the other soul food favorites, but added smoked brisket, pork, turkey, ribs and wings. Sandwiches include brisket with crispy fried onions and house made pickles; smoked chopped pork with creamy red chile slaw; the Meaty Palmer with smoked turkey and pork belly, smashed avocado and jalapeno aioli; red chile marinated grilled chicken with smashed avocado, fresh herbs, queso fresco and chipolte aioli; shrimp po’ boys; and burgers. Sandwiches range from $8.50-$12.
House specialties include meat platters with chopped meat and pork ribs, pit-smoked wings and a fried seafood platter. They range from $10-$18. Sides include hush puppies, crispy Brussels sprouts, BBQ pinto beans, green chile cheddar grits, smoky brisket chili, braised greens, red chile coleslaw, potato salad and house-made pickles. All sides are $3 except the pickles, which sell for $1.
Sonderman says everything is smoked on site with hickory and cherry wood from Virginia. National beef brisket and Smithfield pork shoulder are smoked overnight. Most of the other meats are smoked four to five hours, except the wings that smoke for 2 1/2 hours.
A D.C. native, Sonderman attended the Culinary Institute of America and previously cooked at Craigie on Main in Boston as well as a country club there before cooking 2 1/2 years at Hill County. He also did externships at Bistro Bis and Vidalia here in D.C.
“My experience is mostly fine dining,” Sonderman told DC on Heels. But once he started cooking BBQ, he was in love. His mother’s side of the family is from central Texas and his dad’s side is from the St. Louis area. “My style is a conglomeration of what I tasted around. Wherever I found a barbecue place, I try it,” Sonderman says. “I’ve tried barbecue all over the country.”
Sonderman uses a dry rub. “That’s the only way to cook real barbecue,” he said. “Then sauce on the side.” His meats are dry rubbed with three different rubs — one for the pork, another for the brisket and a completely different one for the wings — then smoked.
It is only a few doors down from North Capitol Street on Florida Avenue, but only street parking and five seats at the counter, so it is primarily a carryout spot. And there isn’t a lighted sign, so look for the Revive sign. DCity Smokehouse is open noon-8 p.m Tuesday-Saturday.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.