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