Though the space at Broadale Village Shopping Center on W. Broad St. has been vacated by Famous Dave’s, the residents of Falls Church will still be able to get their barbecue fix when Liberty Barbecue opens up in the Little City this fall.
The restaurant will carry on the brand of Liberty Tavern, a critically-acclaimed restaurant and lounge in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington. Liberty’s ownership group consists of brothers Steve and Mark Fedorchak, Brian Normile and head chef Matt Hill, and also currently owns Northside Social and Lyon Hall in Arlington. The group is also expanding its Northside Social brand to Falls Church, opening a second location of its popular coffee and wine bar at the intersection of S. Maple Ave. and Park St.
The concept of a barbecue restaurant stems from Hill’s roots as a native of Charlotte, North Carolina which gave him a passion for the cuisine.
“It’s always been kind of a dream to open a barbecue restaurant,” said Hill. “Members of my family have big smoke rigs and we’ve always just smoked meats. I can remember being 16 and smoking pork shoulders for the Super Bowl, myself and for all my friends.”
Hill has been the head chef at Liberty Tavern since 2014 and designs the menu for all three of the restaurant group’s properties. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has had previous stints as head chef at Range and Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, D.C. When it comes to barbecue, however, Hill says he is self-taught.
Casual connoisseurs of barbecue might know that it’s a style of cooking with strong regional identities whether it’s the heavily spiced dry rub from Memphis, the hickory-smoked multi-meat variations from Kansas City, the pulled pork shoulder variety from the Piedmont region of the Carolinas or the brisket-based Texas style.
“We’re not sticking to a specific style. We’re gonna take influences from all over. Our focus is just trying to be good food,” said Hill.
The barbecue selection will include fried chicken, brisket, pork, spare ribs and southern side dishes.
Liberty Tavern currently offers a pickle-brined fried chicken for a special night they call Fried Chicken Monday and sells it at Sunday brunch alongside biscuits and various rotating southern sides. Fedorchak sees this as a test run of sorts.
“We figured it’s an opportunity to connect Liberty Tavern and Liberty Barbecue with an item that’s appropriate for both places,” he said.
The restaurant will offer both over-the-counter service along with a separate bar area and adjacent diner seating.
Liberty Barbecue will also feature a performance stage. They haven’t yet determined the programming but hope to work with the local music community.
“We’d love to work with the local music community in Falls Church and Arlington and McLean, because we want to appeal to our local guests, I think, and there’s a sense of authenticity there.”
When asked what drew him and his co-owners to the city of Falls Church for his expansion projects, Fedorchak said they were drawn to the sense of identity of the city and also said that it’s been a very collaborative process with the city.
“There’s a great pride in the community from the people who live there. We love the liberty city identity from the people who live there, but it offers the community feel of a smaller city and we love that aspect of it, where we feel we can basically find ways to listen to what our customers want and be there for a variety of occasions,” said Fedorchak.
While no official opening date has been set, Mark Fedorchak says they aim to open Liberty Barbecue at 370 W. Broad St. in November.