It’s been 20 years since Andy Husbands opened his first restaurant, Tremont 647. Now that he’s opening the Smoke Shop— coming to the former Tommy Doyle’s space at One Kendall in June—it’s a little less nerve-wracking.
“When you’re 26 and you open a restaurant, it’s scary, but now it’s not scary anymore,” Husbands says. “I’m excited to show everyone what I’ve done.”
What he’s done is turn his side passion—he worked on an award-winning barbecue team for years—into the main course. Barbecue lovers can expect ribs, brisket, pulled pork, fried chicken and hot wings as well as fixin’s such as coleslaw and collard greens. The meats will be served in a variety of ways, from sandwiches to a two-meat, two-side platter to a whole hog available for large parties to reserve in advance. Focused on smoking fresh every day and avoiding freezer products, Husbands has two smokers in the kitchen, one called “Pigs” for the whole hogs and briskets and the other “Zen” for chicken, ribs and pork.
“I want to make sure barbecue people know, ‘Yeah, we got you.’ That’s my backbone. But what’s fun is we’re doing some new-style stuff,” Husbands says. “We’re a barbecue restaurant at our core, but we’re a lot more than that.”
The menu will feature pulled pork served banh mi style with mint, cilantro and Vietnamese vinaigrette as well as burnt-ends brisket with gochujang ranch and a side of kimchee. Additional sides will be seasonal and local, with corn available in August and veggies such as asparagus, English peas and fiddleheads rotating in during the year.
“I’ve got fresh ingredients, local seafood such as a clam-belly appetizer if you’re not in the mood for ribs. It’ll be fresh and vibrant. I think barbecue is sometimes considered heavy and earthy,” Husbands says. “If you look at this neighborhood, half of them want nice ribs and half of them want a nice salad. We’ll take care of both those things.”
The spot will be divvied up as well, with a to-go area for lunch and dinner on the left side of the space, featuring IdeaPaint, subway tiles and a letter-board menu that will display the available takeout items. The main dining area will include tables and booths to fit 150 customers, hardwood floors and a backlit wall installation of blade cutouts from Ayer’s R. Murphy Knives. And there’s a spot for live music—Husbands says it will skew toward honky-tonk—near the 30-seat bar, which has 14 beer taps and a list of 100 American whiskeys.
“[With whiskey], you’re talking about cherries and oak and smoke and vanilla and spice, and these are all kind of common terms that are used for barbecue, and they really make sense,” Husbands says. “It’s really cool why and how they all go together.”
The Smoke Shop 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge thesmokeshopbbq.com