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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

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In Dining

Inside view of Smoke Shack.

In Dining

One of the interior walls.

In Dining

A slab for a 1,100-lb. Southern Pride Smoker.

In Dining

Smoke Shack, 322 N. Milwaukee St.

Work at Smoke Shack underway, January opening in sight


UPDATE: Smoke Shack will open Jan. 24., and will be open every day of the week starting at 11 a.m.

It's been nearly two years since we told you about Smoke Shack, a new barbecue restaurant in the Historic Third Ward.

Originally set to open in the summer 2010, the project has evolved and been delayed for a number of reasons. Reality is, with many restaurant projects, they happen has they should. Same is this case for this latest Joe and Angie Sorge concept.

I noticed work at the Milwaukee Street site recently, so thought I would provide an update on the restaurant's build out and concept.

I caught up with owner Joe Sorge, via email yesterday, and asked him a few questions about Smoke Shack.

OnMilwaukee.com: So, has work finally begun at Smoke Shack?

Joe Sorge: Yes, we're finally underway at Smoke Shack. We brought the place down to its four walls, essentially, and are starting from scratch.

OMC: It's been nearly two years in the making, what's been the hold-up?

JS: We needed to be sure to fully have a handle on a couple of issues first. We had started planning for Smoke Shack before the filming of our episode of "Food Wars" for The Travel Channel and had no idea how much our appearance on that show would impact our business. We were also in the midst of forming our new partnership with Marcus Investments at the time and we knew we did not want to expand without a plan for growth.

But, ultimately it was the fact that Smoke Shack's building required all new water, electrical and gas supply. We essentially started over.

OMC: So, what's the new time table?

JS: We're expecting to be able to open Smoke Shack in the month of January 2012. We want to be sure to give our team the chance to spend some time with their loved ones over the holidays. They've been working very hard lately getting our Madison location of AJ Bombers in tip-top shape.

OMC: How has your life changed since entering the Marcus business relationship?

JS: Our partnership with Marcus Investments has been so much more than we could have hoped for. They have such a dynamic, energetic, and experienced group there. The foundation and infrastructure that Marcus Investments has helped us to build really allows Angie and I to focus on our customers experience at the restaurants.

OMC: Give me three predictions for the top dining trends we'll see in 2012?

JS: Hmm, 3 predictions for 2012? Slow food and farm to table arrive in the mainstream. Smaller menus, more focus. More tapas restaurants. Tapas is the new burger!


Talkbacks

Aardvark | Nov. 15, 2011 at 10:03 a.m. (report)

Longest restaurant opening ever. Vegas builds casinos in less time lol.

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