The charred and smokey wings and things at Clay’s Smokehouse are back on Southeast Division. The long-running barbecue spot shuttered in 2016 after 18 years, and this week, it reopened at 2865 SE Division St., just two blocks from its original location.
Owners and husband-and-wife team Michael and Cathryn Slyman tell Eater Clay’s Smokehouse is now open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and for the reopening, they teamed up with Mike Bender and Matt Hurley, who operated now-shuttered Loon Bar. The ultimate plan is to open a second Clay’s Smokehouse at 6305 SE King Rd.
At Clay’s, the barbecue is defined by a heavy char, while keeping the meat moist, and lots of house sauces. The wings, which come six for $9 or $30 for 24, and ribs are the standouts.
“The wings are what he reeled me in with,” says Cathryn Slyman. “We’re so excited to be back on Southeast Division. It’s where we live, and it’s great to be able to contribute to the community.”
The Slyman’s are a family operation, with family members contributing in many ways, from helping with desserts to setting up the new arcade area. The setting is fittingly family-friendly, with sports on the TVs and Loon’s folk and bluegrass soundtrack.
Michael Slyman grew up in a barbecue family in Oklahoma, actually training in his uncle’s spot on Route 66, Freddie's Barbecue and Steakhouse, which serves barbecue with a Lebanese twist. He then cooked in South Carolina, learning how to smoke meats and seafood (the smoked seafood platter is the sleeper item on the Clay’s menu).