The new restaurant at the Belmont Hotel has a 10-foot barbecue pit in the kitchen. And the restaurant from Chef Tim Byres, which is expected to open for breakfast, lunch and dinner in September, has a new name: Smoke. Byres is developing his menu still, but he tells us his kitchen has a wood-burning grill for fish and vegetables. And here’s the really sexy part for those of us who dig on swine: Smoke will cold smoke its own bacon, sausage and ham. I’m already drooling.
Byres spent weeks in his 1969 Volkswagen Bus this summer, visiting restaurants from Lockhart to the Mississippi Delta, trying the world’s best barbecue and small-town restaurants. "I got a great opportunity to meet some great people," he says. "In these small towns, it’s about honesty in cooking." Byres intends to focus on scratch cooking. Smoke will make its own bread and preserves. And he and his staff are building a raised-bed garden on a half-acre lot behind the hotel.
What he can’t grow, he wants to order from local gardeners and farmers. "The idea is to become community driven," he says. "It’s farm-to-fork cooking." Byres will be working the grill at a picnic at the Belmont Hotel pool tonight, and he told us the menu: ribs, smoked chicken, potato salad, homemade pickles and more. Ya’all leave some for me.