In a little nondescript parking lot just off of Three Notch Road sits a place that I’m assuming most people who haven’t been there have always overlooked. A little red wooden building, it has a dingy, cluttered look to it. There are picnic tables out front, and inside the seating is relatively cramped and limited. Having being dragged there by my friend Mike, and now seeing this, I prepared myself for disappointment.
However, Smokey Joe’s Restaurant and Pit Barbecue defied my initial first impressions. While I’m no enthusiast of barbecue flavors, and the authentic Southern vibe to the restaurant is not really my scene, the restaurant makes up for it by being delicious.
Once you’re inside, the feeling of clutter and “hole-in-the-wall” becomes homey, and is definitely one of the restaurant’s selling points. While we’ve reviewed barbecue places before, it is, I think, the general feel of this place that sets Smokey Joe’s apart.
From the moment I walked in, I was flooded with options. Mike described the pulled pork sandwiches as “crucial,” and so that was what I ordered with a side of fries. While the sides are not particularly appetizing or distinctive (indeed most taste rather bland and unappetizing), the one thing Smokey Joe’s does well is pork. Their pork, be it in rib or pulled forms, has that excellent juicy and yet tender quality to it.
While I can highly recommend this restaurant, I’m not sure I can necessarily recommend any of their non-pork meals. I did not have the opportunity to try any of them, and I have yet to see anyone order anything that isn’t pork as a main course. Vegetarians should also be aware that there is very little Smokey Joe’s serves which does not have some form of meat in it.
So in the end, I have to give a rather qualified recommendation. Visit, feel good that you’re supporting a local business, but at the end of the day you really should just go for the pork.