By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 21, 2017 at 6:01 PM

Doc's Commerce Smokehouse said it'd open in March. And it has. The new downtown spot fired up its smokers and opened quietly this past weekend in the SpringHill Suites building at 744 N. 4th St.

The restaurant, which sports original terrazzo floors, barnboard and metal accents, as well as a big American flag-enhanced garage door (leading to overflow seating in the private events space) is spacious and stocked with high tops, low tops and a community table that seats 10.

One of the walls even sports framed prints from co-owner Brent Brashier's own personal vinyl collection.

Due to a delay in obtaining a liquor license, the bar at Doc’s won’t open to the public until later next week. However, there’s plenty of barbecue, sweet tea and Sprecher root beer to go around. And you can get your fix beginning at 11 a.m. daily.

Casual Southern eats

Doc’s, which specializes in Southern-style barbecue, is focused on hickory-smoked meats, including brisket, chicken, sausage, ribs and turkey. At the helm of the kitchen is Chef Brian Atkinson, who most recently held down the fort at Milwaukee Chophouse.

Platters, such as the rib and brisket platter shown above, include your choice of meats and two sides, along with house pickles and white bread. Pricing is $12-24, depending on what you choose. You can also get a slab of ribs and two pints of sides for $33, or a Doc’s Sampler featuring ribs, brisket, pulled pork, turkey, wings and sausage for $45.

Meats come dry-rubbed and smoked, but you have your choice of regional sauces, including a spicy Texas-style sauce, a tangy tomato-based Memphis style sauce, Eastern Carolina pepper sauce, Doc's signature sauce that is sweetened with molasses and brown sugar, and a poultry-friendly Alabama-style white sauce made with mayonnaise and vinegar.

Other options include smoked wings (12 for $14), smoked onion dip ($6) and fried housemade pickles served up with BBQ ranch sauce ($6). There’s also a pimento cheese platter with classic Saltine crackers and sliced Usinger’s sausage ($8). It’s even available as a vegetarian plate, featuring house-made smoked Doc’s Shami.

You can also get a Doc’s favorite, the Redneck Fries, topped with cheddar cheese sauce, your choice of brisket or pork, sliced jalapenos and Doc’s Original Sauce ($11).

The menu also features sandwiches with house meats ($9-12), salads ($9) and Southern style desserts, including peanut butter pie and lemon icebox pie for $4 each.

Doc’s is open daily beginning at 11 a.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.