Fans of BJ Smith's Smokehouse 21 barbecue joint have been eagerly awaiting the opening of his second location on SE Morrison Street, ever since news broke that he had signed the lease last fall. Well the wait is almost over, as Smokehouse Tavern is set to officially open very soon. We hear from a reliable source the opening date is Monday March 9, but Smith says he'll "neither confirm or deny."
Apparently he's hedging his bets in case loose ends aren't tied up in time, but you can tell from his social media accounts that the space is nearly ready. Today the staff was being trained by a contingent of cocktail pros from Rum Club. And his friends and family soft opening is scheduled for this Saturday.
The 55-seat space (designed by Smith's fiancee, fashion designer and Project Runway champ Michelle Lesniak) is small but still much bigger than the original location, plus it has a cocktail bar that seats 20. The menu will have the same favorites, but with the added bonus of treats from a deep fryer, like pulled pork poutine with smoked cheese curds. A butchering area allows Smith to order a whole animal each week and break it down for nose-to-tail specials. And the weekend brunch will offer dishes like brisket benedicts, pulled pork hash, and shrimp 'n' grits.
Smokehouse Tavern will be open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11:30 a.m., with the full menu available until closing at midnight. Stay tuned for menu details and photos.
Smokehouse Tavern (opening March 9): 1401 S.E. Morrison St., Ste. 117, Portland.