Smoked lounge 

Smoked Out BBQ has expanded, serving alternate versions of its barbecue and craft cocktails at its NYC-themed adjacent lounge.

click to enlarge Combo plates of ribs and pulled pork with sides of coleslaw and baked beans.

Berlin Green

Combo plates of ribs and pulled pork with sides of coleslaw and baked beans.

While Smoked Out BBQ seems like an obvious cannabis reference, its origin is completely barbecue-derived.

“I was living in Yukon at the time. And I bought this 3,500-pound smoker. We put it on a trailer and it's massive. The neighbors and everything would bring me food to smoke on it. I’d fire it up and you’d see this big flue and all that smoke coming out like a choo choo train,” co-founder Leroy Richardson said.

click to enlarge Pineapple Express sandwich and curly fries - BERLIN GREEN
  • Berlin Green
  • Pineapple Express sandwich and curly fries

“Well, one day the neighbor came. I was out there smoking. He was like, ‘Leroy, I love your smoked food and it's great and wonderful but come to my house with me for a second.’ I walked into his house. Oh my gosh. All you could see was smoke. It almost made you feel like his house was on fire. He said, ‘That's from your big smoker. Do you mind moving it kind of down to the street a little bit? Because you're literally smoking me out.’”

Richardson immediately registered the name with the Oklahoma Secretary of State and soon after purchased a food truck with his partner Jacque Lucas.

“I told her I never wanted to own another restaurant. My parents had a restaurant and it was so much work. You pretty much marry it,” Richardson said.

So even though Smoked Out BBQ was never intended to become a brick-and-mortar restaurant, that plan was almost immediately cast aside.

“It blew up very, very quickly. People wanted us open more than we were open. We actually stopped by this location where we're at today to buy a refrigerator for the food truck from the guy that had Green and Grilled and he told us he was selling the place. We saw the colors and the layout. We were like, ‘We're sold.’ And that's how it went down. That fast.”

After a few modifications to the existing space, Smoked Out, 6220 Northwest Expressway Suite B, opened in August 2018 with an expanded menu.

A few months later, dispensaries began opening in the state, creating a synergy between the green-and-black color palette of the restaurant and the burgeoning cannabis market.

“We just ran with it from there and now we have a good play on words with the dispensaries and stuff like that. Everyone thinks with a dispensary right next door that it’s infused. They're not sure, so that adds another element of business, actually. They'll come in and check us out,” he said.

The recipes were handed down from Richardson’s grandmother to his father and were then tweaked by he and Lucas, who died in a car crash last year.

“The mac and cheese is now called the Jacq and Cheese in honor of Jacque Lucas. The banana pudding that she came up with was pretty awesome. Still is. So we named it Jacque’s Pudding,” Richardson said.

The adjacent dispensary, Nature’s Cure, also decided to honor Lucas.

“They bred Jacque's two favorite strains, which was White Widow Extreme and RC-99, and they named it Smoked Out. Right now, it's curing. It's drying out right now and then they're gonna sell it and they're probably gonna keep going in honor of her,” Richardson said.

“We wouldn't be here without her. She was kind of the glue. Her and I created this. I've known Jacque pretty much my entire life. She's from Watonga. We dated in high school, dated some in college and then we kind of went our separate ways for many, many years and we rekindled our relationship about a year before we got the food truck. And once we got the food truck, we kind of dove right in and moved in together and the rest is history until last year on I-240, she had that car accident and that kind of changed my whole world. But we're still keeping it going and trying to keep it strong in her memory and in her name,” Richardson said.

Since Lucas passed, Richardson’s cousin, Durant Jones, stepped in and together they founded the Metro 623, the lounge and bar directly to the west of Smoked Out. It opened in January.

click to enlarge The Blue Note cocktail at Metro 623. - BERLIN GREEN
  • Berlin Green
  • The Blue Note cocktail at Metro 623.

“We use all the smoked meats from Smoked Out BBQ and put them on quesadilla sliders. We have brisket burgers over there. The food quality at Metro is not your typical bar food by far. You can basically get anything from Smoked Out BBQ over there at Metro. You may just get a smaller portion because it is a bar versus a big restaurant, but you can still get the same quality,” Richardson said.

“Me and my cousin, we were as close as you can get growing up. He lived right down the dirt road from me. We were roommates in college. We were roommates when we came to Oklahoma City. Currently today we are neighbors. Our houses are next door to each other. Literally. So we're probably closer than you can get to brothers than anything else. And during the whole time of being roommates we always loved big city themes. Our whole apartment or wherever we live always had pictures of like New York City, Chicago, just different places like that. So we decided to do a New York City themed bar.”

click to enlarge Fried apples. - BERLIN GREEN
  • Berlin Green
  • Fried apples.

In contrast to the dark colors next door, Metro 623 is decked out in bright neon signs with televisions showing video footage of New York City’s boroughs.

The “Metro” portion is a reference to the subway system and Richardson, Jones and Lucas are all from Watonga where the local phone prefixes all begin with “623.”

Many of the signature cocktails’ names are music-derived.

“Almost everyone in my family plays an instrument or sings, something like that. So we have the Drunken Symphony. The Blue Note. We're playing lounge music over there. Real chill vibe. We're going to have some live music come in. My brother and my nephew and then my other cousin, they're going to come in and do some jam sessions in there,” Richardson said.

Still a work in progress, they now have a pizza oven and are working on recipes.

“We're looking at doing some craft pizzas with some barbecue toppings. We're even thinking about allowing burnt ends to be one of the toppings. I don't think anyone's ever done a burnt end pizza, so that would be fun,” Richardson said.


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