Restaurateurs Christopher Zielke, Christopher Jeffers and Executive Chef Tim Byres will join the Plano hospitality community the last week of December. The group, who has received national acclaim for their Oak Cliff neighborhood restaurants and bars (SMOKE, Bar Belmont in The Belmont Hotel, Chicken Scratch and The Foundry), will open an extension of SMOKE, their flagship restaurant the last week of December.
The original SMOKE opened in 2009 on the campus of The Belmont Hotel. Located in the Preston Towne Crossing development at the former Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar location, SMOKE in Plano will initially open for dinner only, Sunday – Thursday 5 p.m. until 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Now finished with summer-long renovations, the 5,800 square-foot building boasts four private dining areas, a heavily-landscaped outdoor patio, a large sit-down bar and an insulated patio off of the main dining room for year-round use. The interior embodies the same atmosphere and vibe of the original, with a small fireplace, campy-yet-nostalgic Texas artwork and raw, reclaimed wood throughout. Diners have a clear view into the kitchen, with nothing separating them from the action but a low countertop, crafted out of maple planking that once served as a roller rink in Seagoville, Texas. Behind the counter is the crown jewel of the restaurant, a 10-foot custom-designed hearth.
“We like to consider SMOKE Plano as adding another member to our family,” says Byres. “While it brings to the table all of the things we love about SMOKE in Dallas, the hearth will give us so many more options to [work with] fire and smoke. It’s real primal and real raw, and we’re pretty excited about it.”
The hearth, a primitive grilling and roasting mechanism, is permanently built into the restaurant, and serves as the focal point of both the interior and the cuisine. A tailored tool designed over years to assist with Byres’ Modern Texas Cuisine, the hearth is run solely off of burning wood, requiring more manual labor and allowing less margin for errors. While the first five feet of the hearth houses a multi-level grill, the other half harbors an array of custom instruments, including adjustable shelves for the many layers of heat, spits for animals of all sizes and swings to hoist larger cuts of meat, allowing juices to drop into whatever is cooking directly on the coals below. All pieces can be maneuvered to work separately, or pulled together to create an orchestra-like technique of cooking. Though the menu will include many of the more popular items from SMOKE’s Dallas location, Byres plans to find inspiration for new dishes through the endless possibilities of the hearth and the cultural, communal cooking techniques learned through his travels abroad.
SMOKE in Plano is located at 2408 Preston Rd. #704A, Plano, Texas 75093-2343. The hours of operation are Sunday