The Smoke Shack is a fun new spot that just opened earlier this year in the Historic Third Ward. In our opinion, and we are definitely biased here, it has satisfied a very important need in this town. The need for authentic barbeque within the downtown area of Milwaukee.
The moment diners enter this restaurant located on the east side of Milwaukee Street in the Third Ward, they will know that they are in for a unique experience. The dining room has an old barbecue joint feel with large booths and long tables for seating. It is also an intimate (small) atmosphere meaning it can get a little tight during the busy dinner rush. According to their website, the interior has room for 47 people. However this is not necessarily a bad thing, because in our opinion it is all part of the experience. During the summer months, The Smoke Shack has a large deck with picnic tables located on the south side of the building. This area certainly opens up the dining room and offers patrons the opportunity to enjoy a nice weather day in Milwaukee.
The food is authentic barbeque. While sauce is available, all food is served without any sauce to allow the meat to speak for itself. Everything is prepared fresh and this does come with one downfall. Sometimes (this is rare) the restaurant can run out of menu items towards the end of the day. As a result, we recommend getting to the restaurant a little bit early. Irregardless, it is hard to find something on this menu that would not satisfy the desires of even the most demanding barbeque fans.
From chicken, ribs, sausage, to cornbread and sweet potato fries, this place is cooking up some serious quality. Everything that we tried was great and cooked (or smoked) to perfection. For an appetizer we went with the pulled pork nachos ($8.75) and we were big fans. We also highly recommend the ribs ($15-$28) and if you are looking to split a sampler that covers just about everything on the menu, we recommend the Four Meat Combo. This entree comes with sausage, pork, chicken, and brisket ($27). This plate will give you a feel for what The Smoke Shack is all about.
Be aware that price points at this restaurant are slightly higher than people may expect . However, the food was worth every penny as the quality of the food and the thoroughness of the preparation come through.
The Smoke Shack is a unique place in the brew city and the restaurant has quickly cemented itself as one of the best places for BBQ in SE Wisconsin. If you enjoy barbeque or a unique dining experience in this town, the Smoke Shack is a place you have to put on your list.