Smoke Shack brings barbecue to the Third Ward
Smoke Shack, a collaborative venture between Joe and Angie Sorge (Swig, AJ Bombers, Water Buffalo and Sullivan's), Scott Baitinger (Streetza), Robert Joseph (Joseph Property Development) and Flux Design, will replace MJ's, 322 N. Milwaukee St., early this summer.
MJ's will close when its lease expires at the end of March.
Smoke Shack will be the third project in the Historic Third Ward for Sorge, who worked with Flux on Swig, 217 N. Broadway, and Joseph and Flux on Water Buffalo, 249 N. Water St.
Baitinger will join the group, bringing his creativity from Streetza and his marketing and public relations savvy from his agency "day job."
"We've learned a lot together as a group," said Sorge. "This project is more than a year in the works and, yes, it will be our third in the Third Ward."
Smoke Shack's team will revamp the entire building, transform the outdoor patio and utilize the plentiful parking owned by Joseph.
Sorge promised a "funky, cool space" and said the group will "take a pretty unique approach" to the dining experience and the food.
As for the barbecue, we'll have more specifics soon. But, with the quality of AJ Bombers, Water Buffalo and Swig and the addition of another food mind in Scott Baitinger, Smoke Shack should be able to more than take a creative spin on a tradition that's near and dear to Milwaukee's heart, barbecue.
Watch for Smoke Shack to open in mid-June, according to Sorge.
Ive been to Austin and this is no Austin. Very disappointed with quality of my food last night. Brisket was very dry and tasteless. No char. No smoke. Small portion. Overpriced.
After hearing about this place opening and loving BBQ and AJ Bombers I was so looking forward to trying this place. Was there tonight and sorry to say I was not impressed. My son and I had the BBQ Brisket and I chose the baked sweet potato and it came with corn bread for $18, which seemed high for the amount of food given. The brisket itself was dry and probably the worst bbq brisket I have ever had. Generally people who do bbq are passionate about bbq and this was not even close to what it should be. Joe, I seen your previous post about fixing the issue with the complaint about fat ratio but when you are smoking brisket you need fat to keep the brisket moist, the fat melts away and keeps the meat moist. Maybe you removed to much? On a positive note, the 4 sauces where great which is good because you needed a lot with the dry brisket. Also my son had the mac-n-cheese which he said was good and wife had the pulled pork which she said was good. Hope this is just start up issues and will improve.
Dear Makeitcount, You're totally right and I apologize. We discovered the brisket issue in our first couple of days and have made sure to correct it. I think you'll really like what we're serving now. I appreciate your willingness to cut us a bit of slack in our first week, but this mistake should not have been made. I hope that you'll allow me to try to make it up to you and your friend. If you're up for giving us another shot, I'd gladly handle the details of your return personally. Please drop me an email: joe at smoke-shack dot com and we'll work out your visit. So sorry to have not delivered as expected. Joe
Bummer! I was super excited for a little BBQ and not from a chain restaurant, but sadly, I was not impressed. First, this place is tiny, literally "shack" size. No waiting area, so people were forced to stand outside, not fun in the winter months of Wisconsin, make reservations! The seating options are limited as well. There are three booths, a few tables and the remaining seating options are at the bar or the picnic styled high tables that you share with other diners. The next oddity we encountered was particulary annoying, they were out of every beer listed on their menu, but two! Really? I guess that made my decision fairly easy. Honestly, most of this could be overlooked if the food had been decent. We were excited with their concept of selecting our own BBQsauce to accompany our selections, but we couldn't get passed how cold our food was when it arrived. I ordered the Beef Brisket entree ($18), for the price I expected to be it be better than what I was given. The portion size was okay, but the fat to meat ratio was unappetizing. Fat is flavor, I get it, but my friend was just as grossed out as I was with the quantity. The cole slaw was just strange and way too salty. Sorrry, but when I learned this was a Joe Sorge project, I don't know if giving the restuarant slack is fair, the guy has how many other restaurants. By now, he should have this down pat!
3rdWardResident | Jan. 29, 2012 at 5:38 p.m. (report)
Just ate at the Smoke Shack! Awesome brisket! Thanks for bringing good smoked meat to MKE! This place is going to be awesome in the Summer. They have done a great job with the atmosphere and interior. Great feel. The brisket alone will keep this place going strong!
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