Oak Cliff dining destination Smoke is preparing to open a second location in West Plano, but partners Tim Byres, Chris Jeffers, and Chris Zielke weren't content to produce a carbon copy of the first. Along with their design team, the trio has done a bang-up job of creating a restaurant that, while definitely reminiscent of the historic Belmont Hotel original, also manages to feel very much like its own restaurant, replete with plenty of West Texas-inspired, Marfa-funky flair. (It certainly feels nothing like a Snuffer's, which is what occupied the space until last April.)
The menu will be largely similar to the original, though the totally badass custom-built hearth will allow for some more "new firewood cooking"-style experimentation like that chronicled in Byres' James Beard-award winning cookbook. Byres, Jeffers, and Zielke hope to have the doors open by the second week in January, but for now, here's the lowdown on Smoke Plano:
1) Expect to find a gigantic gumball machine filled with fake mustaches, sure to be a hit with the kids (and adults?).
2) The best seat in the house is one that's been graced by iconic actor Burt Reynolds' butt, acquired only after the team pestered Reynolds' camp for months. (If the "BR" carved into it isn't enough proof for you, it's also featured in an old Entertainment Weekly photo shoot of Reynolds' residence.)
3) There's a secret, film-inspired mural hidden somewhere in the dining room. (Ask partner Chris Jeffers if you see him and maybe he'll tell you about it.)
4) The vintage-looking ceiling light fixtures are leftover from tenants gone by, but the vintage-looking hand-painted floral designs are new additions, courtesy of Oak Cliff art collective Oil and Cotton.
5) The Sherlock Holmes-ian looking gas lanterns on the walls are also leftover from a previous tenant (think Tony Roma's or maybe Sfuzzi in the 80's).
6) The stylishly low-slung wicker chairs you'll find on the landscaped outdoor patio are from Ikea, but it's been a process getting them: Since Ikea only stocks 8 at a time, the team has had to return to the store week after week to acquire a full collection.
7) The large screened-in patio addition will feature an unusual collection of restored axes on the wall, and might also have a small stage for live bands.
8) Every piece of wood in the restaurant is reclaimed. For example, the maple on the kitchen pass-through window is taken from an old rollerskating rink in Seagoville.
9) In the process of cleaning the kitchen, the crew uncovered a shiny copper hoodhidden under years of Snuffer's cheese fry grime, another relic from a previous tenant.
10) The custom-built hearth is the focal point of the kitchen; visible from the dining room, it'll have four fires going at any given time and will also have rotating spits for various meats. It's the first of its kind in the city and as such, the Smoke team had plenty of permitting hoops to jump through.