New Northfield restaurant wows

Published April 18, 2017, 9:52 a.m. - 131 views


It was a warm spring night in Northfield when my roommate, Stella Quale ’19, and I stepped into The Smoqehouse.
The barbeque restuarant, which just opened next door to the iconic store A Bag Lady, replaced a non-descript smoothie and pastry place that sported rows of brown booths.
The space has been remodeled to accomodate several high tables, a bar that overlooks Division Street and the public library and a seating area of more traditional tables.
As we walked in, the exposed brick walls, corrugated tin ceiling and bluesy indie rock playing in background screamed rustic restaurant in the deep  South. But the careful construction of the aesthetic screamed hipster, including artfully dangling light bulbs and a dessert special of vanilla soft serve topped with olive oil, ghost pepper and smoked flavored sea salts purchased locally from “Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars” (which was delicious by the way). It was a combination that worked very well and created a fun, casual dining environment.
“I felt comfortable the moment I walked in,” Quale said, “and the man who took our order was engaging and kind.”
She ordered the brisket burger, while I ordered the pulled pork and the soup du jour: sausage and veggie. We split a side of fries. While they did not have a gluten free bun substitute for me, the man who took our order was incredibly accomodating with putting the pork on the side. 
I later learned that this lack of a substitute was due to the fact that The Smoqehouse gets all their buns from Brick Oven Bakery and they don’t make gluten free buns (yet), so really it’s the bakery’s fault.
Regardless, the ordering experience was a lot less painful than it often is for someone who is sensitive to gluten like I  am, which was already a huge plus. They also have a vegetarian dish, though options in that department are somewhat limited. Vegans should probably consider dining elsewhere.
The food, when it arrived on diner-style metal trays and waxed paper, was divine.
“It was really good. The burger was the best thing I’d had to eat in weeks,” Quale said.
The pulled pork melted in my mouth and the secret sauce they included with the generous serving of fries was terrific. The  portions were perfect and the price was extremely reasonable. 
I was sad I couldn’t try everything on the menu, and quickly decided that I would have to return to work my way through their offerings.
“10 out of 10, would recommend and go again,” Quale said.
Long story short: Northfield has a new contender on the dining scene. Whether as a place to take dates, friends or visitng family, I highly recommend you check out  The Smoqehouse.


banitt1@stolaf.edu

About the Author

Larissa Banitt, class of 2019 is a English major.

banitt1@stolaf.edu

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