New Rochelle, Mamaroneck, and now Somers, makes a trio for Smokehouse Tailgate Grill and owners Michael Hofer and Justin Zeytoonian.
Smokehouse’s Somers location, though, is different from their newly reopened and renovated flagship in NewRo, and it’s not like their bustling BBQ and bar that’s on the main strip in Mamaroneck. This one is on the top floor of DeCicco & Sons.
Before Hofer and Zeytoonian started to sling their brand of BBQ that includes slow-smoked brisket, award winning wings, racks of ribs, stacked burgers, fried chicken, and other creative ‘cue, this team-up with DeCicco’s had to come from somewhere, right?
It made even more sense in June, when Smokehouse popped up at the market with a tight menu of favorites. After cross promotion between the two brands, that pop-up took off and resulted in a sellout.
In late December, Smokehouse moved into the upstairs space — the staircase is located behind the market’s customer service desk, by the way — and its two employees during their soft opening phase, Zeytoonian and Hofer, are serving, for now, Smokehouse’s greatest hits.
Their fans from NewRo and Mamaroneck will undoubtedly recognize Smokehouse favorites, but Somers locals may need a crash course.
One Smokehouse staple that made the trek across county lines is the wings: Brined, spice-rubbed, smoked, then grilled for char and crispy skin to go with that smokiness. A basting of agave butter gives the wings a hint of sweetness to even out the salty spice rub and a DIY squeeze of lime brings a pop of acid.
More of Smokehouse’s offerings includes a rack of ribs, kale Caesar salad, and sides of cheddar cornbread, hand cut fries, and red pepper coleslaw.
But don’t worry, sandwiches are a thing. Pulled pork, chopped brisket, and a half-pound burger are some of Smokehouse’s long standing sammies, plus there are a couple newish ones.
“Roadies Bar Burger” is a 75-25 lean to fat patty that’s a blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib. If this smashed quarter pound patty, topped simply with melted American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and burger sauce on a potato roll looks familiar, it’s definitely Hofer’s ode to Shake Shack’s Shackburger.
Rounding out the menu, and the sandwiches, is the fried chicken sandwich you desperately need. “Mike’s Hot Honey Chicken” is a buttermilk brined fried chicken thigh that’s drizzled in homemade hot honey when it comes out of the fryer. It’s served on a butter brioche bun with herb mayo, lettuce, and plenty of bread & butter pickles. And if you’re wondering, Zeytoonian purposely named the sandwich after his friend and business partner because he knows Hofer would hate that. The handheld, though, isn’t only a crunchy, juicy, sweet and salty guilty pleasure, it’s their best-seller at all locations, even more so than their BBQ sandwiches.
If you noticed we’re not getting into much booze chatter, it’s because DeCicco’s handles all that at their own beer bar that shares the floor. “No cocktails, but a good wine selection, and they know everything when it comes to craft beer,” Zeytoonian says. “If you want to go to a craft beer bar, take away the fact that it’s in a grocery store; the guys behind the bar here know more than most others at craft beer bars. People that live in the area like to come up here, big space, a great beer selection, obviously. We’d never be able to do a beer program as well as them.”
Hofer picked up on that thought. “It’s got a brewery type feel,” he says. “You can get BBQ, burger, chicken sandwich, and pair it with a beer. They wanted to bring in a local company like us who’s also excited about food, and we couldn’t pass up the partnership.”
After soft opening phases, Hofer and Zeytoonian will decide what they’ll add or subtract from the menu, taking customer feedback into their decision making. Once they assemble a team (or as they’d say, a “squad”), they should expand their days to include weekends and go from there. For now, Smokehouse Somers is open on Thursday and Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to fulfill your BBQ and sandwich cravings.
Smokehouse Tailgate Grill
266 Route 202, Somers