Smokies BBQ: Blues drummer's new BA eatery a family affair
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, September 13, 2012
3/28/13 at 8:08 AM
The faces have changed, but the Latsos family is back in the 'cue business at the place where it all started.
Freeman Latsos; his son, Mark Latsos; and Mark's son Aaron all helped build a stand-alone building on the east side of Broken Arrow in 1995 for another of Mark's sons, Chris, to open a barbecue restaurant.
"Chris got out of the business after about five years, and since then the family had leased it out to other restaurant owners," said Robin Williams, Mark's fiancee. "It had been empty for a couple of years, and Mark and Aaron decided to open a barbecue place again."
Thus, Smokies BBQ was born.
"I love the blues, and this seemed like the right opportunity for food and music," said Mark Latsos, a blues drummer.
The group has remodeled the building inside and out. It looks like a log cabin on the outside with a screen door built to look like the 1950 AMI jukebox that sits inside. The interior is rustic, and a lot of reclaimed wood from a 1930s Coweta barn was used in the project.
Smokies has full table service but no hand-held menus. After surveying the menu board over the counter, I decided on a three-meat combo with two sides ($12.95) and a pork sandwich ($4.75) with a side of coleslaw ($1.50).
From the selection of meats I chose ribs (two), sliced brisket and sausage. The ribs were short, meaty and held firm to the bone. The generous mound of brisket had a charred surface and a pink circle just underneath; it was cut thin, which added to the tenderness. The sausage was cut into eight or nine pieces and had a mildly spicy flavor.
Sides I chose on the combo were baked beans loaded with pieces of the sliced brisket and potato salad. I was told the potato salad was purchased from a vendor, and it was dressed up with eggs, onions, pickles and spices.
The plate came with buttered and toasted bread. A pickle bar with onions and jalapenos also was available.
The pork sandwich was a little different than most barbecue joints in that the pork was sliced thin instead of shredded, and it was terrific. A thick portion of the tender pork was served on a toasted bun.
The coleslaw was more savory than sweet, with perhaps a little garlic and vinegar flavor.
Six-packs on the tables hold four Oklahoma barbecue sauces and bottles of Louisiana Hot Sauce and ketchup.
I tried all of the sauces - Head Country regular and hot, a smoky number from Sa-Smokin of Tulsa and a sweet Ranger Creek sauce that I was told was served for years at the Smoke Stack Barbecue near Wagoner - and I enjoyed all for different reasons.
Smokies BBQ has a few beers on the beverage list.
Tabletops also serve as chalkboards; the kiddies can draw pictures while waiting on their food, and customers may leave messages.
The night chef is Eric Smith, and the day cook is Jason Perez.
Mark Latsos said a grand-opening celebration Sept. 22 will include music "from some of the best blues musicians around," scheduled 7:30-11 p.m.
Williams, who is Cherokee, also goes by Feather, the name under which she sells her handmade jewelry and hat bands at the counter.
To get there from Tulsa, exit the BA Expressway at Kenosha Street, then go east about 2 1/2 miles.
5251 E. Kenosha St., Broken Arrow
(on a scale of 0 to 4 stars)
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday;
accepts MasterCard, Visa, Discover.
Original Print Headline: Bluesy 'cue
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
A three-meat combo plate includes ribs, sliced pork, sliced brisket, toast, coleslaw and baked beans. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World