The Smoke Shop by Andy Husbands Is Finally Opening in Kendall Square

The hotly anticipated barbecue joint from the Tremont 647 chef and champion pitmaster lands this month.
chef Andy Husbands

Andy Husbands. / PHOTOGRAPH BY TOAN TRINH for “Right On Cue”

For two decades, chef Andy Husbands has been perfecting the art and science of smoking meats as a champion pitmaster on a competition team, and when the Smoke Shop opens by the end of June, Kendall Square will finally get its fill.

“It has been a lifelong dream of mine to open a barbecue restaurant,” says Husbands, who opened Tremont 647 20 years ago and also operates the bar next door, Sister Sorel. “I’m very excited for guests to enjoy modern competition-style barbecue that’s enhanced with all-American hospitality.”

The restaurant itself has been under construction for a year. The Smoke Shop takes over the former Tommy Doyle’s space, nearby Cambridge Brewing Company and across the plaza from State Park, soon-to-open Mamaleh’s, and other restaurants. The restaurant’s full renovation was part of substantial construction at One Kendall Square for the past year, which appears to have an end in sight—there’s a block party Thursday night to celebrate the “re-opening,” says State Park.

Husbands got started in barbecue thanks to mentor Chris Schlesinger of East Coast Grill. Alongside Chris Hart on the IQUE team, Husbands won the 2009 Jack Daniels World BBQ Championships and other accolades. Husbands and Hart have co-authored four cookbooks, with a fifth on the way in summer 2017, a press release announced today.

Every day, Smoke Shop will offer one whole hog for a group of 10 or more, plus competition ribs, Texas-style brisket, burnt ends, glazed barbecue chicken, and other barbecue plates. Sandwiches with the meats are also an option. Plates come with corn bread with honey seat salt butter, grilled asparagus with walnuts, Kenyon Mill grits with Vermont maple, or a choice among sundry other sides.

The menu also highlights seasonal ingredients, especially on starters and entrees that wouldn’t be out of place at a gastropub rather than a barbecue joint. When Smoke Shop opens, the six-minute Deviled egg is topped with asparagus, fermented chili, Green Goddess, and Gram’s pickles; a seared scallop has Smoke Shop bacon and bourbon cherries; and steak tips are on a bed of grits with hot pepper jelly. Aside from the barbecue, main dishes retain a Southern by way of New England influence, like grilled ribeye, a Wellfleet clam boil with shrimp and smoked scallops, and crab and scallion hush puppies.

On the bar, Husbands has amassed one of New England’s largest collections of American whiskeys, including rare bottles. Your new summer drink might become the Skinny Dennis, a frozen cocktail inspired by a Brooklyn honky tonk bar with the same name. It’s a French brandy and bourbon-laced coffee slushy.

“It’s like a really great adult version of one of those Dunkin’ Donut Coolattas,” Husbands said. There’s also a barrel-aged Boulevardier, and a rhubarb shrub julep. Expect 25 draft beers and dozens of bottles and cans, too.

Smoke Shop will seat 150, with 70 in the dining room, and 40 at a glass-encased bar overlooking a 40-seat patio. There will be live music Thursday-Sunday, in the vein of old country.

“What’s important to me is barbecue has tradition,” Husbands previously told Boston. “But then it’s like, how can you take those traditions and be modern? Here [at Smoke Shop], I want it to be perceived as fresh, vibrant, and exciting barbecue. I want every experience to lead to another bite.”

Smoke Shop, opening June 2016 at One Kendall Square, thesmokeshopbbq.com.


Jacqueline Cain Associate Food Editor at Boston Magazine jcain@bostonmagazine.com