Sophie Bolich

Smokin’ Jacks BBQ Coming to 3rd Street Market Hall

Ghost kitchen and mobile restaurant to expand with barbecue restaurant at food hall.

By - Jan 18th, 2023 10:07 am
The Avenue and 3rd Street Market Hall. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Avenue and 3rd Street Market Hall. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Barbecue is one of the oldest cooking methods on earth. Each culture has its own take on the process — at its most basic, slow cooking meat with fire and smoke — making the resulting dishes as diverse as the regions from which they hail.

In expanding his barbecue business to 3rd Street Market Hall, owner Jack Holt hopes to bring a new and intriguing twist to traditional barbecue options.

His restaurant, Smokin’ Jack’s BBQ, is slated to join the downtown food hall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., this spring.

“Every nationality has a barbecue recipe or a way they barbecue,” Holt said. “So one of my passions is kind of seeing the world and learning different ways that other cultures barbecue.”

Smokin’ Jacks started as a ghost kitchen operating out of Waukesha’s Point Burger Bar during the pandemic. From there, he acquired a food truck and trailer for mobile service, frequenting Jazz in the Park and other local events. The restaurant also has a catering department.

“This is the next step of our evolution,” Holt said.

He plans to continue previous operations while adding Smokin’ Jacks. Holt is also in search of a new commercial kitchen base and said he hopes to further develop catering operations.

Holt is headed into his latest venture with more than two decades of industry experience under his belt, having worked general manager and operations manager positions at establishments including Mo’s, A Place For Steaks, Ward’s House of Prime, Point Burger Bar and MECCA Sports Bar and Grill.

Holt said his background in fine-dining has instilled creativity in his barbecue craft, which has “always been a passion.” Before branching out on his own, Holt trained with pit masters in Texas, Tacoma and Milwaukee. “And then I took everything they taught me and put my own twist on it.”

“Coming from a background in fine dining steakhouses, I felt like working with meats came easy, especially in the flavor profile and being able to provide a product that I that I was very proud of,” Holt said.

The menu at Smokin’ Jacks will be similar to that of the ghost kitchen and food trucks, featuring smoked brisket sandwiches, cheesesteak, pulled pork, rib tips and more, along with sides such as chicken wings and parmesan truffle fries. The restaurant makes all of its sauces and dry rubs in-house, and has plans to soon bottle the products for wholesale.

Holt also plans to incorporate Mediterranean and Thai twists on his signature barbecue, and said a research trip to Thailand is in the works.

Slated to open in mid-February, Smokin’ Jacks joins a lineup of 15 vendors currently operating at the food hall. Two more, Criollo Rotisserie Chicken and Pho Spot MKE, are in the pipeline, with plans to launch later this spring.

Once open, Smokin’ Jack’s proposed hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Smokin’ Jacks is currently available for takeout only at W229 N1400 Westwood Drive, in Waukesha.

A full menu and online ordering is available on the restaurant’s website.

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