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Chicago’s Most Acclaimed Barbecue Restaurant Closes Temporarily After Fire

Smoque ownership made repairs and hopes to quickly reopen

Smoque has been closed since Saturday night after a fire.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

UPDATE: Smoque owner Barry Sorkin said the repairs are done, but they won’t open on Monday. He’s now saying the restaurant will open Wednesday or Thursday. Full story below.

A weekend fire shut down Smoque BBQ, one of the city’s best barbecue spots and member of the Eater Chicago 38. No one was hurt and most of the repairs have been made, said owner Barry Sorkin.

Customers began to smell smoke on Saturday night before firefighters were called around 7:30 p.m. at 3800 N. Pulaski Road. No one was sure of what was causing the smell. Fire crews knocked down a five-foot-wide piece of a wall to find the the source of the fire. Sorkin said there was a small gap between the wall and a stainless steel panel used to protect the wall near the stove. True to Smoque’s low and slow cooking method, the panel had been smoldering inside the wall for hours.

“My expectation is that we will be open on Tuesday,” Sorkin said.

Where there's smoke, there's least there was Saturday night. Due to a small kitchen fire on Saturday night,...

Posted by Smoque BBQ on Sunday, January 13, 2019

Smoque is normally closed on Mondays. Sorkin is using the off day to ensure the restaurant goes through the proper post-fire inspections. There isn’t a clear city resource that lists those requirements.

Sorkin has a smaller satellite location in the Loop as part of Revival Food Hall. That stall isn’t affected by the fire.

Barbecue spots are hardly immune to fires. County BBQ finally reopened in December in Little Italy two years after it suffered a fire. Smoque’s damage wasn’t nearly as intense and Chicagoans should return to eating its acclaimed smoked meats sometime this week. Sorkin said call ahead or check social media to confirm they’re open.

The Tribune first reported the story.


3800 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60641

Smoque BBQ

3800 North Pulaski Road, , IL 60641 (773) 545-7427 Visit Website

Revival Food Hall

125 South Clark Street, , IL 60603 (773) 999-9411 Visit Website