LTH Home

Smoque BBQ - now with sausage from Texas

Smoque BBQ - now with sausage from Texas
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
    Page 2 of 8
  • Post #31 - May 30th, 2008, 10:03 am
    Post #31 - May 30th, 2008, 10:03 am Post #31 - May 30th, 2008, 10:03 am
    I love sausage. Good Sausage!, that is... and good sausage is hard to find. I have tried all of Hot Dougs sausages here in Chicago and find none to my liking. I have tried a whole multitude of sausage in the grocery stores. I tried the hot links in the dangerous bbq joints on the southwest side of town. I have tried Uncle Johns. I have ordered the "so called famous" Elgin Texas Hot Sausage online and found them to be 90% fat and full of grease which caused me to take a trip to my doctor the next morning. I ended up not liking any of them.
    I read in the online Tribune that Smoque over on Pulaski was bringing some new sausage to town. I have been to Smoque only once and was not willing to fight the long lines and I was short on time and could not stay. So last Sunday thinking it would be safe to visit at 2 pm ... HA! not... another line but at least it wasn't outside. I bought 3 links and nothing else. I didn't want to spoil my pallet with brisket, ribs or pulled pork. I cut into the first one. Very tender and nothing spilled out. I noticed inside how lean the meat was and realized this was a real sausage casing. Then, I entered into some kind of out of body experience as I continued to eat the rest of this sausage. It was more than just good. It was GREAT! I was immediately hooked. Why had I not heard of this sausage before? Where has it been all my life? It's peppery good with just enough heat to let you keep eating without wondering where your next drink is. But what I liked the most is how clean it looked inside. It looked very natural. So upon my return home I did some investigating online and found out more about this Texas family that makes it. Very interesting reading. They have served Presidents, movie stars, and even british royality with this sausage and yet I had never heard of it!

    Have you ever read the label on sausage you buy at the grocery store? You need a dictionary, thesaurus, and a physicians desk reference along with a degree in chemistry just to understand the contents! I found the label for this Mikeska Brand Spicy Pork Sausage. You know what it says? Pork and Salt and Spices. THAT's IT! That's really amazing. I finally have a favorite Chicago sausage and I will make Smoque BBQ a mandatory weekly visit to get my "sausage fix". So take it from someone that has looked far and wide for good hot sausage. Smoque BBQs new pork sausage is the best in the city and maybe the entire country! Mikeska's Sausage is the King of Chicago Sausage!
  • Post #32 - June 1st, 2008, 9:12 pm
    Post #32 - June 1st, 2008, 9:12 pm Post #32 - June 1st, 2008, 9:12 pm
    stevez wrote:I feel that the comparisons to Chicago hot-links are unfortunate, because these are two different types of sausage, both of which I like very much.

    Steve,

    Very much agree, Chicago style hot links and Mikeska's Texas sausage are different and enjoying one certainly should not be at the exclusion of the other. Smoque's Texas sausage have a bit of red pepper heat up front with a subtle black pepper finish, leaner, and probably more healthy, than I am used to in a sausage, with a nice bite through crackle on the casing. I really enjoyed the sausage and the fries were just about perfect.

    Smoque Texas Sausage and Fries
    Image

    When Smoque first opened I suggested the BBQ was as good as it was ever going to get, that they would succumb to the pressure of mounting crowds and start taking shortcuts, at the very least start cooking well in in advance to meet increasing demand. I was wrong, the BBQ I had Saturday at Smoque, in particular Saint Louis ribs, was as good as I've had at Smoque. My doom and gloom predictions completely unfounded.

    Smoque Saint Louis Ribs
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #33 - June 1st, 2008, 9:26 pm
    Post #33 - June 1st, 2008, 9:26 pm Post #33 - June 1st, 2008, 9:26 pm
    Rick_Sheffield wrote:I have tried all of Hot Dougs sausages here in Chicago and find none to my liking.

    Wow. Given that there are 15 or so on his menu at any given time and they change every week, this is quite a remarkable feat. I've probably been to Hot Doug's 30 or 40 times and I've only tasted a fraction of the sausages I've seen him offer. Even more impressive, really, the dedication involved in eating scores of his unacceptable sausages in the hopes that the 40th or 50th might actually be a good one.

    Kudos, Rick!
    Last edited by Dmnkly on June 1st, 2008, 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #34 - June 1st, 2008, 9:31 pm
    Post #34 - June 1st, 2008, 9:31 pm Post #34 - June 1st, 2008, 9:31 pm
    Dmnkly wrote:
    Rick_Sheffield wrote:I have tried all of Hot Dougs sausages here in Chicago and find none to my liking.

    Wow. Given that there are 15 or so on his menu at any given time and they change every week, this is quite a remarkable feat. I've probably been to Hot Doug's 30 or 40 times and I've only tasted a fraction of his sausages. Even more impressive, really, the dedication involved in eating scores of his unacceptable sausages in the hopes that the 40th or 50th might actually be a good one.

    Kudos, Rick!

    It's no secret that Doug doesn't make his own sausage and I'm guessing that he may source them from mutliple suppliers. So, not liking any of them is akin to scoring 0/20 when playing Keno. Them is tough odds :lol:

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #35 - June 1st, 2008, 9:36 pm
    Post #35 - June 1st, 2008, 9:36 pm Post #35 - June 1st, 2008, 9:36 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:It's no secret that Doug doesn't make his own sausage and I'm guessing that he may source them from mutliple suppliers.

    I don't know precisely how many, but my conversations with him have indicated that he does, indeed, have a large number of sources. I get the impression that some produce quite a few for him, but many are cherry-picked for single sausages he finds particularly compelling.

    Tough odds, indeed. Remarkable.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #36 - June 2nd, 2008, 6:52 am
    Post #36 - June 2nd, 2008, 6:52 am Post #36 - June 2nd, 2008, 6:52 am
    First Doug told me that most of his sausage were made "in house" but then a few days later he told my friend that he shops his sausage all over the planet. Another person I know who's brother works there said that everything is shipped in. That really doesn't matter. I don't think it matters one bit where the sausage is actually made. To answer the questions put before about trying all of the products he had, I have to say that I have been there 4 or 5 times and tried many different sausages each time and even though some are ok, none are as good as what Smoque is selling. What I like the most about this Mikeska sausage at Smoque is what's NOT in it. It's just so pure. I was there again yesterday just to prove to myself that this was no fluke. I cut one of the links in half length wise and l just looked around. I guess you could call it a "sausage autopsy!". It was just so pure with the meat and black pepper and red pepper. And the smell! OMG. Also the color of the smoked casing is good enough to have it's own crayon color. I have to also compliment Smoque on the high quality of their brisket and baked beans. It's just all so good. I noticed on Sunday that this place if very very busy and would imagine and hope that they add some more stores soon. I think they have a great concept.
    Again, I just call them like I see them and if you want a meat pure, (no cereal or filler additives) perfectly seasoned Texas style Hot Link, head over to Smoque and get some Mikeskas sausage.
  • Post #37 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:09 am
    Post #37 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:09 am Post #37 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:09 am
    Rick_Sheffield wrote:First Doug told me that most of his sausage were made "in house" but then a few days later he told my friend that he shops his sausage all over the planet.

    Rick,

    I have trouble believing Doug, of Hot Doug's, said he makes the sausage in-house. When Doug first opened on Roscoe I asked him if he made the sausage in-house, his answer then, now and any subsequent time I have heard the question asked of him, is no. I initially asked the question as I had read a short news article about Hot Doug's and the fact the owner, Doug Sohn, was a Kendall College Culinary Arts grad which made me think he may be producing the encased meat in-house.

    I appreciate your enthusiasm for Smoque's Texas sausage, but Chicago is a big city with many types and ethnicity's of sausage available. Surely there is another, aside from Smoque's Texas sausage, that would entice your palate.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #38 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:16 am
    Post #38 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:16 am Post #38 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:16 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Rick_Sheffield wrote:First Doug told me that most of his sausage were made "in house" but then a few days later he told my friend that he shops his sausage all over the planet.

    I have trouble believing Doug, of Hot Doug's, said he makes the sausage in-house.

    I think this must've been a simple misunderstanding, Rick. For years, both in person and in the press, not only has Doug made no secret of the fact that he sources his sausage from all over the place, but in my experience he's enthusiastically discussed it with anybody who's interested.

    In any case, none of this has anything to do with Smoque's sausage, Rick. That's great that you love it, that's great it's your favorite, and it may even be mine too once I've had a chance to taste it -- but given the remarkable variety of excellent sausages available in the city, made from all manner of beasts and seasonings, I don't think your point is made any stronger by insisting that Smoque's is inherently superior to all of them, no matter how different they may be. I prefer to see the city's offerings as a wonderful variety of diverse and delicious tastes to suit every whim -- not a winner-take-all cage match to determine which specific combination of encased meat and seasoning is "the best".
    Last edited by Dmnkly on June 2nd, 2008, 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #39 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:44 am
    Post #39 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:44 am Post #39 - June 2nd, 2008, 7:44 am
    Ok, we just had this same discussion at work this morning. Give me some other ideas. What about Bobaks? My buddy here at work mentioned their smoked polish. I think I have already tried this from one of the grocery stores and thought it was too mealy. The casing was not a real one if I remember correctly. Any comments?

    I an open for suggestions. And regarding the comment about Doug. He was busy at the time and could have just been condesending. I get the feeling he may get that question alot. I really don't think it makes a difference. What I am confused about is why do these other commercial sausages have so many fillers? If the guys in Texas can get by without them why don't others just get some pure meat, season it well, stuff it in a link or real casing and smoke it! Makes good sense to me.
  • Post #40 - June 2nd, 2008, 8:38 am
    Post #40 - June 2nd, 2008, 8:38 am Post #40 - June 2nd, 2008, 8:38 am
    Rick_Sheffield wrote:Ok, we just had this same discussion at work this morning. Give me some other ideas. What about Bobaks? My buddy here at work mentioned their smoked polish. I think I have already tried this from one of the grocery stores and thought it was too mealy. The casing was not a real one if I remember correctly. Any comments?

    I an open for suggestions. And regarding the comment about Doug. He was busy at the time and could have just been condesending. I get the feeling he may get that question alot. I really don't think it makes a difference. What I am confused about is why do these other commercial sausages have so many fillers? If the guys in Texas can get by without them why don't others just get some pure meat, season it well, stuff it in a link or real casing and smoke it! Makes good sense to me.

    Well, if your definition of good sausage is that it's pure meat and smoked, we're going to have to agree to disagree. One man's filler is another man's flavor and texture (with the understanding that often it is, indeed, just needless filler), and the world is full of varieties of sausage that are never kissed by smoke and no less wonderful for it. But a charcoal-grilled Italian at Johnnie's, the Isaan sausage at TAC Quick and Carniceria Guanajuato's chorizo all spring to mind as personal favorites -- none of which are anything like Smoque's, which is exactly the point. To say nothing of the incredible variety of Eastern European sausages in this city, though that's not something with which I have a lot of experience. If you go in with the idea that everything has to be pure pork and smoky, yeah, you're going to be disappointed by most things. But if you keep an open mind and try to enjoy the world's sausages for what they are, I suspect you'll enjoy yourself a lot more.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #41 - June 2nd, 2008, 9:02 am
    Post #41 - June 2nd, 2008, 9:02 am Post #41 - June 2nd, 2008, 9:02 am
    I think it's safe to stick to Smoque's sausage, and not just for your sausage needs, but as your exclusive sustenance. Forget about all of that phony baloney Barese, Sicilian, Thai, Mississipi, Hungarian, Polish, Argentine, Colombian, Mexican, German, Bohemian, Swedish, Greek, Serbian, Russian, etc., Chicago-made "sausage" made by so-called "family storefront meat markets" resting on their 50 and 100 year old "reputations." It's all complete garbage, filled with who-knows-what. Also, all the imported stuff is pretty bad too, except for that one good one, which is 99% ambrosia and just enough nectar to keep it moist, but no fat (uck).

    PS, or, what Dom said.
  • Post #42 - June 3rd, 2008, 11:04 pm
    Post #42 - June 3rd, 2008, 11:04 pm Post #42 - June 3rd, 2008, 11:04 pm
    Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled thread . . .

    Here are a few more pics from last Saturday's lunch, featuring -- but not limited to -- Smoque's new sausage . . .

    Image
    Sausage, dotted with multiple grinds of black pepper


    Image
    Fine, delicate definition on the inside


    Image
    Baby back ribs . . . probably my favorite overall item at Smoque.


    Image
    Pulled pork . . . juicy and fatty with plenty of bark.


    Image
    St. Louis ribs . . . right out of the smoker and very delicious.


    Image
    Burnt ends (not actually on the menu but we were in the right place at the right time :) )

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #43 - June 4th, 2008, 2:16 pm
    Post #43 - June 4th, 2008, 2:16 pm Post #43 - June 4th, 2008, 2:16 pm
    Four things to be thankful for today.
    1. Ronnie posted the pictures of Smoque's Texas Sausage.
    2. Business meeting ran long past the normal lunch hour.
    3. I checked the forum before heading to lunch with my co-workers.
    4. We all ate the sausage!

    Thank you Ronnie! You settled a major bet today and made 4 tired old marketing professionals happy AND I won my bet about the best sausage in the city. We have been debating this topic every day. I was taking a beating at work with some of my co-workers that talked about their favorite sausage. I checked the forum and showed the great pics of the sausage to my friends who then said... "let's go" Even though we made it back late to work and we are all in a nap mode right now, it was a great lunch. They all agreed with me that this is some delicious sausage, the best we have tried in Chicago. The way the black pepper is distributed within the real casing and how the texture of the meat is, just blew us all away. As some have said before. When you eat the first 4 or 5 bites, you don't notice the heat from any red pepper. You can't see the red pepper. But by the end of the link, all the flavors have hit you.

    So thanks for posting those pictures which valadated my position and made me a little famous here with my friends who I have to deal with everyday. I can already tell they are respecting me more and actually listening to what I have to say. It's a good feeling in my head and I have a very happy belly to go with it!
  • Post #44 - June 4th, 2008, 2:29 pm
    Post #44 - June 4th, 2008, 2:29 pm Post #44 - June 4th, 2008, 2:29 pm
    Rick,

    I think everyone here is a little famous with their friends by knowing the better places to eat. Welcome to the club!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #45 - June 5th, 2008, 3:14 pm
    Post #45 - June 5th, 2008, 3:14 pm Post #45 - June 5th, 2008, 3:14 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:
    I think everyone here is a little famous with their friends by knowing the better places to eat. Welcome to the club!



    (Minor thread hijack coming--)

    I take great pleasure in the fact that friends and family take my food suggestions seriously. We have turned many people "on" to places such as Flamingo Seafood, Smoque, Silver Seafood, Bari, Riviera, Hot Doug's, Sabatino's, and countless others.

    People think that I am some kind of restaurant-picking savant, but the true credit goes to the knowledgeable contributors to this great forum.
    "Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsin' around on the airplane?"
  • Post #46 - June 6th, 2008, 8:40 am
    Post #46 - June 6th, 2008, 8:40 am Post #46 - June 6th, 2008, 8:40 am
    Back on track.

    It's no secret that I at once love the food at Smoque but not so much the actual restaurant due to many factors (seating, ordering line, running out of product). As soon as I saw this post, I had to hit Smoque for a sample of these sausages. I waited until this past Tuesday, after work (risky, I know) to attempt to eat here. I brought my wife and my brother (who is on a crutch so some places are more easily visited than others). Mind you, this is our third attempt to go to Smoque with him and the previous two other times, we've driven up there and had to turn around because they were out of product. Well, persistence pays off, third time's the charm, if there's a will-there's a - - well you get it.

    I was a little nervous when we walked in a stood in line. All the tables were taken and it was getting late (7pm) but lo and behold, they had brisket. We tried the brisket, St. Louis Ribs, and the Sausage. The mainstays were all solid as usual but that sausage was phenomenal. It was a very nice accompaniment to my overall meal and next time, I wouldn't mind just ordering it solo.

    I asked my brother what he thought (on a side, him and I drove cross country, from Tucson to Raleigh, sampling bbq at every stop along the way). He was very impressed and happy with the food but sadly said he would never come back due to the restaurant set-up. See, we had to sit three at a table for two, even though he's handicapped, because there was no room. The amount of the people running around, cutting in between the line to pick up their food and find a table was annoying as well. We felt rushed and crowded and couldn't wait to eat and get out of there. It's really too bad. This is the best bbq I've had in the city but that place needs to be razed and re-built. Good news is, take out is always an option when I once again crave that sausage...
  • Post #47 - June 6th, 2008, 8:47 am
    Post #47 - June 6th, 2008, 8:47 am Post #47 - June 6th, 2008, 8:47 am
    Don't they have outdoor seating in the summer? That may help a bit.
  • Post #48 - June 7th, 2008, 12:14 am
    Post #48 - June 7th, 2008, 12:14 am Post #48 - June 7th, 2008, 12:14 am
    tyrus wrote:Back on track.

    It's no secret that I at once love the food at Smoque but not so much the actual restaurant due to many factors (seating, ordering line, running out of product). As soon as I saw this post, I had to hit Smoque for a sample of these sausages. I waited until this past Tuesday, after work (risky, I know) to attempt to eat here. I brought my wife and my brother (who is on a crutch so some places are more easily visited than others). Mind you, this is our third attempt to go to Smoque with him and the previous two other times, we've driven up there and had to turn around because they were out of product. Well, persistence pays off, third time's the charm, if there's a will-there's a - - well you get it.

    I was a little nervous when we walked in a stood in line. All the tables were taken and it was getting late (7pm) but lo and behold, they had brisket. We tried the brisket, St. Louis Ribs, and the Sausage. The mainstays were all solid as usual but that sausage was phenomenal. It was a very nice accompaniment to my overall meal and next time, I wouldn't mind just ordering it solo.

    I asked my brother what he thought (on a side, him and I drove cross country, from Tucson to Raleigh, sampling bbq at every stop along the way). He was very impressed and happy with the food but sadly said he would never come back due to the restaurant set-up. See, we had to sit three at a table for two, even though he's handicapped, because there was no room. The amount of the people running around, cutting in between the line to pick up their food and find a table was annoying as well. We felt rushed and crowded and couldn't wait to eat and get out of there. It's really too bad. This is the best bbq I've had in the city but that place needs to be razed and re-built. Good news is, take out is always an option when I once again crave that sausage...



    Hi tyrus.

    I am a physically disabled "regular" customer of SmoqueBBQ. I absolutely love the place. Although, I admit that the dining room there needs to be expanded. However, if you ever decide to take your brother back to SmoqueBBQ, my advice is for you to call there in advance and ask to speak with Al, Barry, or Mike. They are the management of SmoqueBBQ, and they are extremely helpful in accomodations. I've dined at several restaurants in my life, and I believe that SmoqueBBQ's management, by far, is the absolute best restaurant management that I've ever seen. They clearly know how to operate a business very well, and they will be very helpful to you and to your brother, should you decide to dine there again.
  • Post #49 - June 7th, 2008, 8:00 am
    Post #49 - June 7th, 2008, 8:00 am Post #49 - June 7th, 2008, 8:00 am
    Saw Smoque on the Diners Drive-Ins and Dives show. Despite the host's sometimes grating style, it remains easily the best thing on Food. Any show that covers Ted Peter's and Keegan's in Tampa Bay is digging pretty deep into the Internets and emails to find good local joints. The Smoque guys and their food came off looking great. Congratulations.

    My question: Given Smoque's serious dedication to regional and even city-specific BBQ styles, why is there no Chicago (or Black-Mississippi-Arkansas-South/West side tips and links) 'cue represented? Is this out of deference to the local legends, tacit proof that the owners don't consider the style significant or good enough to be represented, or nothing?

    Seems to me that Smoque could do good things with tips and links. There must be room for two kinds of links at Smoque. No matter how nice the Bohemian Texas links get, I prefer the more rustic, more Southern Chicago style.

    Not looking for controversy, just wondering.
  • Post #50 - June 7th, 2008, 9:46 am
    Post #50 - June 7th, 2008, 9:46 am Post #50 - June 7th, 2008, 9:46 am
    JeffB wrote:My question: Given Smoque's serious dedication to regional and even city-specific BBQ styles, why is there no Chicago (or Black-Mississippi-Arkansas-South/West side tips and links) 'cue represented?


    Cooking tips in a Southern Pride almost always leads to poor results because there is very little caramalization formed; like there would be when cooking the tips over a direct fire (i.e. a Chicago Style aquarium smoker). This leads to an inferior product as evidenced by the poor quality mushy tips served at places like Sweet Baby Rays, for example. I'm not sure if this is what went into Smoque's thought process, but I think they are doing themselves a favor by not serving tips given their cooking setup.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #51 - June 8th, 2008, 4:05 pm
    Post #51 - June 8th, 2008, 4:05 pm Post #51 - June 8th, 2008, 4:05 pm
    I rode my bike up to Smoque today, only to find that there was a problem with the smoker last night and that they would not be open until dinner, and then with limited offerings. I spoke with Barry, who was very apologetic about the whole situation and explained that he had to throw out 800lbs of meat. He handed out ten dollar gift certificates for the “inconvenience” and gave me a bottle of water. I have been reading about his ribs for awhile now and seeing his genuine concern for his customers first hand makes me want to go back all the quicker, maybe on Tuesday when they’ll have the entire menu available.
  • Post #52 - June 8th, 2008, 5:18 pm
    Post #52 - June 8th, 2008, 5:18 pm Post #52 - June 8th, 2008, 5:18 pm
    JermAngela wrote:I rode my bike up to Smoque today, only to find that there was a problem with the smoker last night and that they would not be open until dinner, and then with limited offerings. I spoke with Barry, who was very apologetic about the whole situation and explained that he had to throw out 800lbs of meat. He handed out ten dollar gift certificates for the “inconvenience” and gave me a bottle of water. I have been reading about his ribs for awhile now and seeing his genuine concern for his customers first hand makes me want to go back all the quicker, maybe on Tuesday when they’ll have the entire menu available.



    I was going to go to SmoqueBBQ today. However, my mother called there and she was told about the smoker problem. I'm really sorry to hear that they had to throw out meat, although I hope that they didn't lose 800lbs of the meat, since that is so much. Hopefully Barry can get some sort of compensation from wherever he got the smoker from, if there is a defect with the smoker itself. Anyways, Barry is awesome and his generosity and caring for customers shows by his giving out the gift certificates. SmoqueBBQ is the best!
  • Post #53 - June 8th, 2008, 10:42 pm
    Post #53 - June 8th, 2008, 10:42 pm Post #53 - June 8th, 2008, 10:42 pm
    I too stopped at Smoque today around 3:30 and was told by Barry that they indeed lost 8oolbs of meat due to problems with the smoker. Barry was gracious as ever and insisted that everyone have the 10 gift certificate even though I and another set of patrons initially declined.

    Barry said the y hoped to be open by 5:30 with as much of the menu as possible.

    The said part of my trip trip Smoque (aside from the 800lb's of meat lost forever) is that even without any food the stop at Smoque was a much better dining experience than any I had in Effingham over the weekend.
    “Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive.”
    George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright (1856-1950)
  • Post #54 - August 27th, 2008, 7:50 am
    Post #54 - August 27th, 2008, 7:50 am Post #54 - August 27th, 2008, 7:50 am
    Interesting article in todays New York Times comparing Smoque's business success with a Cleveland-area failure. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/27/dinin ... ref=dining
    Life Is Too Short To Not Play With Your Food
    My Blog: http://funplayingwithfood.blogspot.com
  • Post #55 - August 27th, 2008, 8:27 am
    Post #55 - August 27th, 2008, 8:27 am Post #55 - August 27th, 2008, 8:27 am
    Great article and three great lessons learned from Smoque's success and the failure of the other two places featured in the article. I work in the lending industry and see many small business successes and failures. The things that I see that this article confirms are:

    1. Absentee ownership of a small business usually does not work.

    2. Six months or working capital (inclusive of all expenses) needs to be part of your budget. Your opening will be delayed. Your sales won't ramp up as quickly as projected. Labor will cost you more than you budgeted.

    3. If you enjoy a 40 hour work week, small business ownership is not for you. Success in small business ownership requires 24/7 attention from you.

    4. Never plan to open a business based upon a presumption that the market will come to you once your business is open. Your target market has to exist in relative proximity to your business from the day it opens. When the casinos didn't come, Pepper Red was doomed because there wasn't a natural market to support it.

    5. Understand your small business and how to run it. Research it endlessly. Corporate management experience and small business management experience are two different things. Just because you climbed the corporate ladder at a big company doesn't mean that your management skills will translate well to small business management.

    6. Most start up businesses fail with 24 months of inception. Be prepared to pump your heart, soul and money into them for at least that period of time keeping in mind that your business plan needs to be flexible.
  • Post #56 - August 27th, 2008, 1:10 pm
    Post #56 - August 27th, 2008, 1:10 pm Post #56 - August 27th, 2008, 1:10 pm
    It's an interesting article, to be sure, but unless I missed it, nowhere does it say how well Smoque is actually doing. I mean, of course the place is busy, so I assume it's successful, but I was hoping to hear some numbers beyond "thousands more than the business plan forecast." Like, are they profitable? Very profitable? Barely profitable? Breaking even? Just wanted to know from a journalistic standpoint, out of curiosity, what that comprehensive business plan and all those long hours actually translates to, business-wise. It's kind of an incomplete piece without this information.
  • Post #57 - August 27th, 2008, 1:46 pm
    Post #57 - August 27th, 2008, 1:46 pm Post #57 - August 27th, 2008, 1:46 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Just wanted to know from a journalistic standpoint, out of curiosity, what that comprehensive business plan and all those long hours actually translates to, business-wise.


    Of course, as a privately held business, they don't have to release those figures. I know I wouldn't.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #58 - August 27th, 2008, 6:20 pm
    Post #58 - August 27th, 2008, 6:20 pm Post #58 - August 27th, 2008, 6:20 pm
    Well, yeah. Of course not. But it's sort of essential to the story the writer wrote, no? Given the comparison established, the only thing we know is that Smoque has stayed open two years, and that that other one restaurant closed after one year, with several years between the two openings and closings. This is by no means a criticism of Smoque, which I adore and wish will stay around forever. It's a criticism of the piece. For a story about how careful planning pays off, I would have liked to learn what payoff there's been beyond staying open. After all, plenty of restaurants not nearly as apparently successful as Smoque still manage to survive. Has all that Smoque planning - not to mention a half-million dollar loan (compared to that other joint's $17,000 loan) - paid dividends or merely the rent (as it were)? Like I said, I'm simply curious, since it's a huge missing piece of an otherwise incomplete story. Why establish the success/fail dialectic if the story itself fails to define success?
  • Post #59 - August 27th, 2008, 6:27 pm
    Post #59 - August 27th, 2008, 6:27 pm Post #59 - August 27th, 2008, 6:27 pm
    There was one other piece of information:

    But he is not complaining, because Smoque has served many more customers — thousands more — than the business plan forecast.


    Obviously, this isn't proof that they're profitable, since other parts of their business plan could have failed to meet their forecast -- ingredient costs, labor costs, etc., but based on this it sounds like they're doing better than their original business plan, which no doubt showed them making a profit within two years.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #60 - August 27th, 2008, 7:33 pm
    Post #60 - August 27th, 2008, 7:33 pm Post #60 - August 27th, 2008, 7:33 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:After all, plenty of restaurants not nearly as apparently successful as Smoque still manage to survive.


    And I think we've all seen 'apparently' busier restaurants that close. Busy does not equal profitable unfortunately. And profitability does not guarantee survival either. I know one guy that had a great business going. He decided to spend a lot of money to expand. He borrowed a lot of money for the expansion. The extra business the expansion created turned out to be minimal and the loan he'd taken out finally sunk him.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more