Smitty’s Original Coney Island, a Vancouver hot dog shop from a Top Chef contestant, will close after only four months open. Chef and owner BJ Smith is consolidating his restaurant empire, closing the Washington restaurant modeled after his parents’ Indiana shop.
This April, Smith opened Smitty’s in what was his barbecue restaurant, Smokehouse Provisions. Over the last year, the chef has been taking his barbecue empire and shifting it into something more personal: Morrison’s Smokehouse Tavern became Delores, a culinary homage to his late mother, and the Vancouver smokehouse became a replica of his parents’ mid-20th century hot dog shop. But instead of cooking like his family, Smith just wants to spend time with them.
“It’s just too much to have all these restaurants,” Smith says. “Delores is my number-one priority, and when I’m not there, I want to spend time with my dad, my girlfriend, and her son.” Beyond Delores and Smitty’s, Smith also owns Kim Jong Smokehouse, two Korean-Southern barbecue restaurants, which will remain open. “I have really great people at Kim Jong Smokehouse that have been there since we opened,” Smith says. “That allows me to spend 99 percent of my time at Delores, which is what I want to do.”
Smitty’s will close on August 2, but afterward, Smith says he’ll be focusing on switching things up at his main restaurant. “Delores will be changing quite a bit,” Smith says. “I don’t want to say too much, but we’ll be pushing a lot harder.”
• Smitty’s Original Coney Island [Official]
• BJ Smith [Top Chef]
• This ‘Top Chef’ Alum’s Hot Dog Shop Opens in Vancouver Tonight [EPDX]
• Previous Smitty’s coverage [EPDX]
• Previous Delores coverage [EPDX]