Smokehouse 52 BBQ restaurant to open in Chelsea this fall

Downtown Chelsea is getting its dining chops on this fall. Pork chops and barbecue, to be exact.

Phil Tolliver, who has worked with barbecue pitmaster Mike "The Legend" Mills, is planning to open Smokehouse 52 by late October or early November. Tolliver also owns a Bear Claw Coffee shop on U.S. 12 and recently sold his True North Jerky business, the proceeds of which he is investing in Smokehouse 52.

Smokehouse 52 will be located at 121-125 Main St. The 1890 building, which still retains much of its original interior, will undergo a sensitive renovation.

"Whatever I can leave, I'm going to leave," Tolliver says. The tin ceiling stays. And the original maple plank flooring, currently tiled over, will be re-exposed. The biggest effort will involve converting the kitchen into a restaurant-grade kitchen, "and then we have to figure out how to get a 3,000-pound barbecue pit to the inside walls," he adds.

The restaurant will have vintage Americana on display, such as an 1878 flag and a school bell. Its main floor will seat 180-190 for lunch and dinner, with full bar service. Tolliver expects to add 45-50 new jobs.

Source: Phil Tolliver, owner of Smokehouse 52
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar