Few things in life — at least to a foodie — are as compelling as the smoky aromas of barbecued pork ribs, brisket, sausage, and KC burnt ends. You get all of that in the Willard’s BBQ place in Reston, across the parking lot from Home Depot. Add to all the tempting aromas the background country music, and that’s the perfect setting for a super-casual meal.
Opened not quite a year, Willard’s is a well-known name in the Northern Virginia area — the parent store in Chantilly has been pleasing and feeding customers for at least 10 years. But this much smaller offshoot is a welcome addition to Reston’s food scene: this smoky BBQ is the real deal — and it is the only BBQ place in the Reston area. Yes, Mookie’s is in Great Falls, but Willard’s is just around the corner.
What to order, you may wonder, besides 16 different dishes? Fortunately, you can eat in, though seating is a bit cramped at mealtimes, so plan to order something to enjoy at that moment, plus another option to take home.
Good choices — though they all probably are — would be the NC pulled pork sandwich with two sides. This comes as a roll filled to overflowing with pork and your choice of sides could include mac ‘n cheese (not on the menu but usually available), cornbread, collards, coleslaw, potato salad, and much more. Desserts, should you have any appetite left, consist of assorted pies (including Key lime pie, sweet potato pie or peanut butter pie) or a big, crunchy chocolate-chip/pecan cookie.
If you still hanker for the smoky pork flavors, order for home pig-outs a half or whole rack of ribs, your choice of sweet or spicy sauce on the side. To make this a full-fledged meal to share, pick up a few sides and a few dessert choices. Or you can just take them home to indulge your own BBQ whims.
Note that in the short time Willard’s has operated its Reston store, it attracts plenty of customers who eat in or take out. On a recent noontime, the tables were filled, and although there is a stand-up counter that’s probably not for eat-in patrons. For them, it is grab and go…
Plan to go often, and try out such dishes as the BBQ burrito, a large flour burrito stuffed with rice, beans cabbage, and salsa as is, or filled with pulled pork or chicken, brisket or burnt ends, and with cheese as an added treat. If you are looking to sort-of cut calories, opt instead for the Big Green Salad with cornbread. The salad can be greens only, or with your choice of pulled chicken, spicy chicken salad, or smoke turkey breast.
Actually, this eatery has so many tempting offerings that these justify frequent trips. You can even place catering orders if you want to feed groups of friends. But chances are you will come back often and eat plenty of goodies yourself.
Willard’s Real Pit BBQ, 11790 Baron Cameron Ave., Reston, VA. 703-429-1755. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.