Carol Smith has been serving up her signature barbecue in mobile or market spaces for two years. In November, the owner and founder of Red's Smokehouse Burgers and BBQ
decided to settle down in a space not too far from where she started.
For the past two months, Smith and her partner Jacke Randall have been transforming a 1,400-square foot space into a community-oriented smokehouse and restaurant. When finished, Smith's first brick-and-mortar eatery at 1619 Kalamazoo St. will seat up to 25 guests, employ six to eight staff, and serve up the signature barbecue items that have attracted a loyal and growing following in Greater Lansing.
"It was always the dream to have my own little space where I can enjoy making food, and sit and talk with people," says Smith. "It's so exciting. And it feels really good to come back."
Smith originally launched Red's Smokehouse in early 2014 through the incubator kitchen of the Allen Market Place
—a food-based community organization behind the soon-to-be restaurant. Since then, Smith has been smoking at various locations, including the Lansing City Market
and a food trailer, as well as participating in weekly farmer's markets through Allen Market Place.
In addition to her signature items that include pulled pork, deep-friend macaroni balls, nachos and tacos, Smith says the future restaurant will feature her signature items like pulled pork, deep-fried macaroni balls, tacos and burgers, as well as a deli with take-out meats, artisan cheeses and other items from Allen Market Place vendors. Deli customers can also opt for Smith's homemade salads and some of her smoked meats.
Smith says her goal is to build on the community that helped her get started in the business. She envisions a space decked out with reclaimed wood and bright colors.
"We have eclectic taste when it comes to decorating," she says. "It will be a little rustic with a modern twist."
During the build-out, Red's will be prepping and offering foods through the Avenue Café
on the East Side, as well as through the Allen Market Place. She hopes to have the restaurant open by February or March.
Red's Smokehouse is currently in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to help offset the $80,000 renovation costs. To find out more or to contribute, visit the website here.