It has been a little more than a month since Lakewood Smokehouse opened in Lakewood Shopping Center, and not surprisingly it is already bustling. There’s nothing quite like it in the neighborhood. There’s Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum, (also Oasis Smokehouse once told us they hoped to open a smokehouse at Lakeland and Garland), but until Lakewood Smokehouse opened in January the Lakewood area was painfully devoid of barbecue.
That’s the main reason why John Hall, John Pantenburg and Mike Mullen, the owners of Lakewood Smokehouse, opened it.
“For the love of barbecue and the love of the neighborhood,” Hall explains. “We thought the area needed it.”
It’s not a complicated concept; the trio isn’t trying to reinvent Texas barbecue — but they are trying to do it right. They describe it as “upscale barbecue,” although don’t think that means your kids aren’t welcome. It’s still a barbecue joint, after all. (By the way, they have a $5 kids menu.) What that means is that everything on the menu has been meticulously prepared, from the popular sliced brisket and ribs right down to the cheesy corn bake and hand-breaded fried okra.
“We cook for the day every day,” Hall says. “We don’t serve yesterday’s meats. We cook ribs throughout the day. All our meats are smoked fresh.”
Of course that means they run out of meat by the end of the night, so you might not get ribs if you wander in at 9 p.m.
“That’s just part of the business,” Hall explains.
“That’s hard for a lot of people to understand,” Pantenburg adds.
We first learned about Lakewood Smokehouse back in June. Although Hall, Pantenburg and Mullen aren’t new to the restaurant industry — they’re the folks behind 3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House in Frisco — it took them longer than expected to get the Lakewood location set up, largely because they had to completely remake the space that once belonged to the Mediterranean restaurant, Ali Baba.
“This was not the ideal location to come out and try to put a barbecue place in here,” Mullen points out. “We have smokers the size of a minivan, and we’re not some big company with a cookie-cutter design we can just throw in here.”
But they love the area enough that they think it was worth the extra effort, and we love smelling those smokers at work when we drive down Abrams.
Lakewood Smokehouse also offers a full bar with craft beer and craft cocktails. Watch the bartender make the smoked old-fashioned:
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.