Former Tallula Space to Become Texas Jacks

Lyon Park will welcome a new barbecue joint this fall.


Diners heading to Lyon Park will encounter a whole new dining experience when Texas Jacks Barbecue opens in the former Tallula/EatBar space on Washington Boulevard this fall. The building formerly occupied by a sleek, wine-driven restaurant and hipster bar is soon to be resurrected as a family-friendly destination where kids can get their picture taken with a cow, and old cowboy movies will be playing in the background.

According to Partner Steve Roberts, “Texas Jack” (born John Baker Omohundro) was an American cowboy, frontier scout and native of Palmyra, Virginia, who gained notoriety after the Civil War by driving cattle from the Lone Star State to parts north to help ease postwar hunger.

Roberts, who has opened five restaurants in Cleveland since 2002, came to the D.C. region last year with a hankering to open a barbecue joint in Arlington. “I have friends in the area, and there’s been a lot of growth,” says the restaurateur, who grew up on a farm in Montana. “Clarendon’s been growing like crazy and I knew we could do a lot of good things here.”

One of his first orders of business was assembling a team that knows its cuts of meat. Heading up the kitchen will be Chef and Pitmaster Matt Lang, formerly of Hill Country in D.C. and the 2011 winner of the Food Network reality cooking show Best in Smoke.  Roberts also tapped Remzi Yilmaz, a fellow Hill Country alum, to serve as Texas Jacks’ beverage director and assistant general manager.

As one would expect, the menu will offer a veritable bonanza for carnivores, including brisket, beef short ribs, pulled pork and sausage, along with more exotic proteins such as jerked goat, bison and beef cheeks. Sides will include what Roberts refers to as “mind blowing” mac ’n’ cheese, along with seasonal produce.

At the bar—housed in the former EatBar space, but with windows cut into the walls so there’s more of a visual connection to the restaurant—Yilmaz will be serving cocktails that complement all varieties of smoked meats, along with local craft beers on draft, keg wines and a menu of whiskey and bourbon blends.

Alexandria interior designer Jeff Akseizer has outfitted the space accordingly, with rough-hewn timber columns, walls clad in reclaimed barn wood, cowhide barstools (custom fabricated by The Strong Oaks Woodshop in Front Royal) and booster seats that have tots secured to real saddles. Carbon Industrial Design in Alexandria produced the rustic-industrial looking bar. A wall mural will feature Texas Jack on one of his famous cattle drives.