First Look: Hill Country

As a DC native who spent one lovely year living in Wichita Falls, Texas, let me tell you that if I’m ever missing the Lone Star State, DC’s new Hill Country Barbecue will easily take me right back to Texas.

My caveat: I am super snotty and like going to a restaurant where the food comes to me — I’m not all about the cafeteria-style (hello again DCPS) lunch line…but I LOVE this place.

So, you walk in and you get an individual menu, or “passport” if you like being fancy. Note: don’t lose the Hill Country passport, or you’ll have to pay $50 dollars. You take this passport to the different stations around the restaurant.
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I, of course, had to stop first at the brisket station and got 1/3 pound of Brisket Moist. My inner carnivore almost had me order the Beef Shoulder, Pork Chop Bone In, and Beef Ribs, but I resisted. All meats come with crackers or a slice of white bread on the side.
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Then I went over with my passport to the next station, where I was faced with so many appetizing choices, like Campfire Baked Beans, White Shoepeg Corn Pudding, Green Bean Casserole, and Collard Greens. After staring for a while I finally chose the Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese, Hot German Potatoes and Sweet Potato Bourbon Mash.

I fail for not getting the chili, but the man behind the counter was starting to look at me funny. For that same reason, I walked with my tray right past the “cold” food & dessert stations. I will definitely have to go back at some point for the PB&J cupcakes.
So what did I think? Loved the brisket which came wrapped in a brown paper bag. The bag was looking quite greasy by the time I finished eating, as it should. The Mac & Cheese was okay, but a little heavy on the cheese, though it might have just felt that way because it was cold. The potatoes were very good, just too hard for my taste. The sweet potato mash was amazing. If I weren’t running late I would have ordered some to go. Instead, I just took my passport to the register and paid.

For being open just 1 1/2 days by the time I showed up, Hill Country barely had any kinks, and the decor was amazing: Texas license plates, yearbook pictures, state slogans, etc. I wish I had been able to go during their live music days (Tuesday-Saturday).

For now, make sure to try this “Texas” import (via New York) in Chinatown. You won’t be disappointed, though your waistline might be! Follow the restaurant on Twitter at @hillcountrywdc.
Hill Country is located at 410 7th St NW. The closest metro stop is Gallery-Place Chinatown (Red/Green/Yellow Lines). For more information, call (202) 556-2050.

Tricia is a native Washingtonian, born and raised in Columbia Heights. She loves DC so much that she was only able to leave the city for one year after college and immediately came running back. Tricia works in PR during the day, and spends her nights trying out new restaurants in DC with friends or watching The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Tricia recently decided to eat her way though all of Zagat’s 2011 restaurants until she realized she would be old and broke by the time she finished. Follow her on Twitter and email her at Tricia (at)

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