The common denominator seemed to be a simple wood-burning fire.
From the food to the atmosphere at Smoke, owner and chef Tim Byres wants you to experience the nostalgia of your Grandma’s kitchen. The restaurant, located near Park and Preston, embraces multiple concepts that all have one thing in common—authenticity. Tim wants his food to create memories as strong as the one he has as a young child staining his white shirt with berry juice on his grandmother’s farm.
The food ranges from a coffee-cured brisket sandwich (paired with the best fries I’ve ever tasted) to a massive Eisenhower steak that feeds four. This steak is more than just your run-of-the-mill Texas T-Bone; it’s prepared by dropping it directly onto red-hot coals of the hearth until it’s charred to perfection. There’s also an award winning pork jowl and fermented cucumber salad—something unexpected for a place that also serves awesome barbecue.
But it’s about more than just great food; it’s about how that food is made. Smoke’s custom-built hearth is the centerpiece of the kitchen. Capable of maintaining up to four fires at once, it’s fitted with spits that can roast an entire pig. Talk about authentic. And the authenticity doesn’t stop there—the bar has a homey, rustic feeling from the broom handle beer taps to the Southwestern centerpiece. Floorboards in the side dining room are made of reclaimed wood and were laid to intentionally creak, giving the feel and sound of being in an old house.
To truly understand Smoke, it’s important to understand Tim. Originally from California, he moved to Miami to attend culinary school. There he found he had a knack for making food that was more than just good. Others, like the U.S. Government, began to notice, and Tim found himself working for the U.S. Embassy in Belgium as the Head Chef during the mid-1990s. Afterward, he moved to New York to manage multiple fine dining restaurants.
Tim then looked toward Dallas as his new home. From the moment he became a Texas resident in 2001, he “immediately identified as being a Texan.” In 2009, he founded the original Smoke in Dallas. It became so successful that he opened the Plano location in January 2015.
Before starting Smoke, Tim and his wife toured the Southern U.S. trying to find the origin and essence of classic American food. From roadside barbecue stands to long established local hangouts, they both discovered that the common denominator seemed to be a simple wood-burning fire. Tim knew from this point forward that fire would be an important part of this new endeavor. He even wrote a cookbook called Smoke: New Firewood Cooking that won a 2014 James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Award in the “General Cooking” category. Its killer recipes include cowboy flavors originating on the Texas cattle trails to classic Carolina barbecue, and they all show that fire is the element behind that quintessential American flavor.
Smoke’s unique, downhome and heartfelt experience is an extension of Tim’s mantra: Food, Fire, Glory. Glory is, as Tim puts it, “the spirit of hospitality,” and he brings that to every dish he serves. You can see this in the old family photos of staff on the walls. You can taste it in the downright amazing, but real (and by real, I mean nearly everything is handmade) taste of the food. It’s reminiscent of a Sunday dinner with family, and the tables are just waiting for a new story to be told by those gathered around it.
In honor of Plano Magazine’s first print issue, we are giving away a $50 Smoke restaurant gift card to one lucky Plano Magazine reader! Contest ends 11/18. Details here.Smoke Website >