Clearly, I love to try new restaurants. Tonight I tried the grand opening of Mike Johnson and Carolyn Down’s Sugarfire Smoke House in Olivette. If Mr. Johnson’s name sounds familiar, it should. Maybe you have heard of Cyrano’s or Boogaloo? Additionally they use the same model smoker as Pappy’s and how could I not give it a try?
When you walk in you are greeted by a strong smokey aroma. This is the type that will stay on your clothes the rest of the day. Unfortunately they were already out of ribs and brisket. Bummer. Not being one to give up so easily, I went for the 8 oz pulled pork sandwich with a side of green chili cheese fries.
First sign that it was a new place: the timing. The sandwich was ready and waiting before the fries were cooking. So the meat was a little cold by time I was at my table. They also had issues with the register. Only one was working and it took a minute for someone to let me know to go to the take out line to pay. Neither of those are a big surprise for night one.
Now let’s focus on the food. The pulled pork was tender and had a good smokey flavor. They had several different types of sauce. By serving the meat without any, you get to choose. The sauces ranged the gambit from white BBQ to Carolina mustard. My two favorites were the sweet and coffee.
The green chili cheese fries were not very spicy. This is likely to make sure they don’t “overheat” a typical midwest palate. The fries themselves were crispy and well seasoned. It made for an ok side dish.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. They all seemed very excited about the food that they were serving. If BBQ isn’t your thing, there were many other choices. The burger sounded really good and they offered a wide choice of toppings. There were also some interesting sounding sandwiches, shakes, and home-made pies. I was surprised and the variety for such a small place.
My visit to Sugarfire on their opening night offered some positives and negatives. With positives involving the food and negatives typical opening night jitters, I think this new restaurant has a lot of promise. Since I was unable to sample their fall off the bone ribs or brisket as originally planned, I will leave this as to be continued…