Smoke BBQ has closed its original Delray Beach location, co-owner Scott Kennedy says, but the Fort Lauderdale location of the Texas-style barbecue restaurant remains open, with its well-regarded ribs, pulled pork and smoked pastrami in “zero danger” of going anywhere.
Kennedy cited rising rent and expenses and slow sales for the shuttering of the Delray location at 8 East Atlantic Ave.
In a Monday Facebook post on the Delray RAW group page, Kennedy wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing the closing of Smoke BBQ Delray Beach effective immediately. I want to thank you all for the wonderful support we have received over the years … I would also like to thank the employees who gave [their] all for us day in and day out ... We hope to announce a new Delray Beach location in the near future.”
Kennedy told me, “We have the right concept in Fort Lauderdale and we will just keep trucking.”
The Fort Lauderdale Smoke BBQ, a smaller restaurant that opened in December 2015 near Galt Ocean Mile, is more in line with a traditional barbecue joint. It features communal picnic tables, paper towels and cold bottled beer. Last year, Smoke Fort Lauderdale began offering smoked pastrami sandwiches, which I called on par with those found at New York’s famed Katz’s Delicatessen.
Smoke Fort Lauderdale had its own drama last year, when a business dispute landed in court and a partner who controlled the lease attempted to evict Kennedy and Chin. The feuding factions resolved their issues through mediation and Smoke finalized a new long-term lease.
Besides looking for a new home in Delray, Kennedy says Smoke is exploring a possible downtown Fort Lauderdale location.