DALLAS, TEXAS (August 31, 2009) – A slow burn thick with Southern style arrives in Dallas this September with Smoke. Fresh from a renovation and concept overhaul, the Belmont Hotel’s restaurant reemerges as a homage to an old fashioned smokehouse, with hardwood cooking from scratch and authentic southern flavors. Led by Chef/Co‐Owner Tim Byres, inspired by his recent travels to America’s smokehouse roots, Smoke will offer patrons a culinary experience that satisfies both the palate and soul. Employing time‐honored cooking techniques and recipes with a commitment to local ingredients, Smoke is down‐home cooking done right. With two dining areas, a bar and rustic casual patio complete with live music, Smoke will lend itself to both the foodie and come‐as‐you‐are crowd. With the food as the focus, set against the Belmont’s retro charm, Smoke is Dallas’ newest old fashioned eatery.
Sending Smoke Signals
Chef Byres went straight to the source to ensure his vision for an authentic barbeque joint. Trekking across the Deep South, Byres visited smokehouses and barbeque pits in North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi. The prevailing secret to each outlet’s success lay in a religious focus on classic Southern techniques, simple ingredients and a heady cloud of wood‐fired smoke. The cuisine is simple, rich in flavor and tradition.
Burn Baby Burn
Aside from the stovetop, there’s no gas or lighter fluid here: Smoke’s fires blaze with seasoned woods and charcoal. A blend of aged hickory, oak, mesquite and pecan wood is used to impart the requisite flavors. Only matches and kindling are used to start Smoke’s fires, the same way southerners have fired up for years.
The restaurant employs three types of smoke for cooking and curing menu items: a cold smokehouse, barbeque pit and hardwood grill. The Cold Smokehouse pipes in smoke from a 1905 Franklin cast‐iron stove. Bacon, ham and sausage are cured and hung on hooks to smoke for half a day or longer. Southern hams are slathered in a glaze of blackstrap molasses and spices, sliced thick and served on Smoke’s breakfast menu along with thick‐cut smoked bacon. The cold smokehouse will also yield Smoke’s Cajun Andouille pork sausage, freshly ground, seasoned and cased in all‐natural casings on‐site before a lengthy sit in the smokehouse. Smoked beef sausage, Texas‐style hot links and cured and smoked salmon will also be available.
Smoke’s Barbeque Pit will be slow, smoky cooking at its best. A cowboy style brisket is made both sweet and savory with a dry rub of chilies, brown sugar and roasted ground coffee. Pork ribs are rubbed with paprika, chili and cumin and mopped with a brown sugar glaze. Smoked chickens are brushed with tomatillos and dried chilies and turkeys are brined before a smoky turn in the pit. Smoke’s Beer Can Chicken is a tomatillo‐ and chili‐seasoned bird stuffed with a can of Lone Star beer, the pit’s heat pulling the suds into the meat for moist, tender and flavorful eating. Barbeque purists will relish Smoke’s whole hog barbeque, an entire pig slowly pit‐roasted, the meat then pulled and chopped for classic Carolina‐style barbeque.
The last form of smoke, the Hardwood Grill, uses mesquite and oak wood to cook and flavor fish, burgers, steaks and vegetables. All meat and poultry are hormone‐free, bypassing the additive‐heavy products sourced from agriculture feed lots. Smoke is committed to doing traditional food in a regional environment and will try its best to provide local meats and produce, relying on community farms, farmers markets and Smoke’s own, on‐site organic garden. The quarter‐acre raised‐bed organic garden sits behind the restaurant on the Belmont grounds, yielding seasonal greens and vegetables year‐round.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, patrons may order from a menu divided into four sections: At the Bar, for appetizers and small plates; From the Garden, for salads and vegetables; On the Stove serves hot sides and entrees; and On the Grill,for Smoke’s hearty selection of barbeque and hardwood‐fired meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables. The menu will also offer several vegetarian options. All menu items are priced $25 and lower.
Diners itching to get down to barbeque business can order it old school with Smoke’s family‐style BBQ scantron menu – No. 2 pencils included. The scantron lets diners select their meat portion size – sandwich, . lb, . lb., 1 lb. – and sides, all by marking a, b, c, d and fill‐in‐the‐blanks. Akin to a sushi menu, Smoke’s scantron lets hungry patrons bypass the regular menu for quicker access to a hearty meal. Once orders are placed, patrons can enjoy Smoke’s breadbasket, fresh‐from the‐oven cornbread served with Kentucky sorghum molasses butter and homemade sweet and sour jalapeno jelly.
Diners may select from a plethora of sides to accompany their meat entrees, each made from scratch and inspired by southern appetites. Options include Blue Cheese Cole Slaw, BBQ Pinto Beans, Really Good Potato Salad, and a variety of homemade pickled vegetables: green beans, carrots, jalapenos, cabbage and bread and butter pickles.
Step into Smoke and take a trip to a sleepy southern afternoon. Smoke’s interior incorporates tweaks of old nostalgia and modern inspirations from Marfa, Texas and Donald Judd. The restaurant is a mix of both old and new, a throwback to simpler living paired with modern touches.
Designer Mike Thompson prescribed a warm, easy‐going look for Smoke, imbibing guests with a come‐as‐you‐are, welcoming allure. A large window outside Smoke’s entrance allows guests a sneak peek into the kitchen, including a view of the pit and grill. Large plantation shutters adorn the front windows, softening the Texas sunlight. From the front door, guests may go to the bar, the main dining room, a smaller, more casual dining area or the outdoor patio and bar. Reclaimed red oak hardwood floors intersect knotty pine paneled walls, salvaged from a 130‐year‐old barn in Midlothian, Texas. During Smoke’s renovation, workers uncovered a brick closet, which has been opened, refitted and left exposed as a server station. A vintage deli case displays daily desserts, homemade pies and a rotating selection of take‐away items.
The main dining room features distressed leather banquettes and tables, walls are adorned with a mix of Judd‐inspired works and turn of the century studio portrait photography. Khaki tablecloths offset Smoke’s table settings: a vintage mix of diner flatware, including pink floral and blue barbwire patterns. The large, three‐sided bar is backed by a seven‐foot walnut apothecary case from the early 1900s. The bar’s modern cement front is inset with nine portholestyle lights; the bar top is cast stone for a smooth, cool finish. The wine list also reflects Smoke’s commitment to sustainable and affordable, with bottles priced from $25 to $55. The cocktail menu will offer signature culinary libations, blending spirits with seasonal fruits, herbs and freshly squeezed juices. Adjacent to the bar, a large fireplace is the centerpiece for an intimate parlor seating area, inviting guests to gather for cocktails and conversation. The cast‐stone hearth is inset with three lights, similar to the porthole lighting in the bar. The smaller, more casual dining room lets patrons enjoy live music from the adjacent outdoor patio and bar. Mixed in with the dining banquettes is a restored pool table with a camel felt top that beckons a game of billiards.
The rustic patio offers ample outdoor seating and a full bar. In homage to the restaurant’s original eatery, the Hungry Bear, the patio and outdoor bar have been dubbed the Thirsty Bear. The Thirsty Bear’s stage will feature a series of local bands Thursday through Saturday nights, from eclectic and blue grass to Rockabilly and classic rock ‘n roll. Regulars ‘in the know’ can bypass Smoke’s main doors in favor of a separate, back door patio entrance. Tucked behind the right side of the building, the back door is marked by a large, 1950s relic: a three‐foot blinking arrow. The arrow is lit only when the back door opens nightly at 10 p.m., giving admission to the Thirsty Bear a cool, speakeasy feel.
As a newcomer to the heated battle over authentic barbeque, Smoke brings the heat, the flavor and soul to its menu. Chef Byres’ southern inspiration and appreciation for slow, hardwood cooking brings to Dallas a culinary experience to rival the best of the Deep South. Sit down, tuck in and savor the Smoke.
Fresh from a renovation and concept overhaul, the Belmont Hotel’s new restaurant Smoke reemerges as a homage to an old‐fashioned smokehouse, bringing hardwood cooking from scratch and authentic southern flavors to Dallas. Opening this September, Smoke will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Smoke ownership team is comprised of Chris Zielke, Christopher Jeffers and Jessica Jeffers, who also own the Oak Cliff eatery Bolsa (www.bolsadallas.com), as well as Chef and Co‐owner Tim Byres.
Perched hilltop in the emerging Oak Cliff neighborhood, the Belmont Hotel (www.belmontdallas.com) offers panoramic views of downtown Dallas and the Trinity River Corridor. Originally built in 1946 and designed by architect Charles Steven Dilbeck, the former motor hotel was restored to its former glory in 2005. Comprised of more than a dozen different room configurations, including garden rooms and suites, loft suites and bungalows, each room offers views of the tranquil gardens or distinctive downtown skyline. Property amenities also include BarBelmont, an outdoor heated pool and health club. Smoke is located at 901 Fort Worth Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75208. For information call 214.393.4141
or visit www.smokerestaurant.com.