Word on the street was, “Smoke, the newish place next to the Belmont Hotel, has good barbeque, delicious brunch, and is really fun.” I’m an easy sell and so with that I Googled, banking on my theory of relativity: cool website = cool restaurant. The site met all of my own personal standards and I was sold. Next step: finding a wingman. Odds on the BF venturing outside of his comfort zone? Slim to none, but somehow, someway, he conceded and on a Saturday we were off to the OC.
Smoke is just one of those places. You walk in, and you immediately know you’re going to like it. Not too crowded, not too loud. Walls covered in old wooden shipping crates and exposed brick say Texas rustic, which perfectly matches their Lone Star menu. The staff is unbelievably welcoming, (since when did this become so unexpected?) genuine, and laid back — there’s not a snooty thing about it. Atmospheric tunes? Think Band of Horses, Ryan Adams, Ray Lamontagne … the list of “good grubbin” music goes on and on, and I haven’t even mentioned the food.