Smoke House Downtown review

Checked out a new BBQ joint here in Gainesville called Smoke House Downtown.  They’re still working through their “soft opening” and have done very little marketing so far.  I chatted with the owner (Mike) and he said they want to make sure the place is running smoothly and get all the kinks out before charging full steam ahead with their marketing campaigns and grand opening.  I think that is a wise decision considering Downtown G-ville cycles through restaurants like crazy.  That being said, I thought the place was pretty good.  I’m pretty judgmental of BBQ restaurants (as is every other person that has a serious BBQ hobby like myself), so for this being my first time trying the place, I’ll tell you I thought the place was decent and worth checking out.  I’ll have to go a couple more times to really nail down an opinion.  The ambiance was great and the wait staff were friendly, though it was dead slow when I went so who knows how it gets when they’re slammed.  I’ve heard various reports about the service….  The food was pretty good too.  Nothing mind-blowing, but good.  I got a brisket sandwich with sweet potato fries.  The brisket was super tender and had a nice flavor to it.  The fries were great too.  They came w/ a bourbon ketchup sauce which was pretty nasty.  I honestly think they didn’t have any reduced down and ready to go, so they just grabbed some ketchup, poured some bourbon in it and gave it to me.  Seriously…it was like taking a straight shot!  That wasn’t a big deal though.  What REALLY, REALLY, REALLY impressed me was their smoker!  Mike took me back and showed me their 14′ long A.N. Bewley fabricated wood burning BBQ pit.  It’s 100% wood fired and fed by a mix of pecan and hickory 24 hrs a day.  Mike said the thing is always fired up and I could easily smell the goodness about 2 blocks away when I was walking down the street.  Mike let me snap a pic of the smoker so here it is.  I could barely get this thing in the frame it was so massive.  I could just sense my lil’ 22.5″ WSM back at home put his tail between his legs 🙁

Smoke House Downtown Gainesville



6 Responses to Smoke House Downtown review

  1. Russ January 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Nice! Is it pellet fired?

    • admin January 29, 2012 at 9:28 am #

      nope, there’s a large fire box on the bottom, lefthand side, where whole logs are thrown in.

  2. Andy March 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I went there shortly after you posted this review – February 3rd and was extremely dissapointed by the brisket. I think it would be generous to even call it BBQ; the meat was rubbery and flavorless. I’d like to give it another shot in case it was an off night, but I seriously think that a BBQ place can’t have off nights with their meat; sides… maybe.

    Any chance you could talk to Kays Bro BBQ and do a review of their setup? I’d like to know what they are running. They are currently my favorite brisket in town and are extremely consistent over the past 6 months I’ve been there.

    • Steve March 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Andy, since I made this post, I haven’t been back b/c I’ve heard nothing but terrible reviews from about 5-6 people now. I’ve heard basically the same thing that you just noted, mainly the flavorless food and toughness/chewiness of a lot of the meat. I really need to get back over there and give it one more try, but you’re right, they shouldn’t have off nights and when you look at their smoker it’s hard to imagine they could be messing stuff up!

      As for Kays, let me see if I can get a hold of the owner and find out what type of cooker they are using. Or better yet….you and I should just chow down there soon and ask to see it ourselves!

      • Max March 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

        Hey Steve,

        I just wanted to mention that I went to Smoke House Downtown that same night that Andy did. I also got the brisket, and my opinion is the same as Andy’s — it was really sad. I am quite a fan of beef brisket if it’s done properly… but man if it’s not done right it’s just a piece of rubber.

        Also, I’m a fan of Kay’s as well (though it could be considered somewhat pricey), and would love to get your thoughts on what they’ve got going on there.

    • Steve March 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      there’s not much on Yelp yet either…

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