Last night, I went to Smokehouse Barbecue in Elizabethton, Tenn. I didn’t just happen to show up there, or decide last minute I wanted to eat some great food. If you read Country’s Chatter a few days ago, you knew I was planning to go because Jessica Nixon would be singing there last night. I have been following Jessica’s career for a long time now, so I knew I was in for some great music, and a good night of country favorites – old, new, and original songs she wrote. (Photo above by Kristie Belcher)
I’m sure Jessica won’t mind if I tell you all about Smokehouse Barbecue, because as awesome as she is – sometimes it’s not just about the singer, it’s about the venue. And last night, I just sat there in awe of everything. The wooden planks that made the ceiling, the diner type booths around the edges with tables in the center, the paper plates and plastic silverware, and the roll of paper towels sitting on each table to help those of us who are not really neat with our ribs, keep cleaned up during the meal.
What I didn’t realize, until I walked through the doors of Smokehouse Barbecue for the first time (but not the last), is that this place is the perfect setting for any country artist/band. It sits in a quiet, out of the way spot on the Milligan Highway – not far from Milligan College, in Elizabethton, Tenn. It is rustic, with the kind of atmosphere that screams “picnic, party, family fun!”
The food only proves Jeff Foxworthy’s point when the comedian said, “Barbecue is not a verb meaning to cook outside.” Barbecue is food, great food, and this was among some of the best barbecue I’ve ever eaten. We shared the Sampler platter for dinner. We got ribs, brisket, chicken AND pork barbecue, along with homemade, freshly cut French fires, and coleslaw. We started off with an appetizer an appetizer of Teriykai wings, and after eating five of those, I was really wanting more.
The restaurant is owned by Joshua Stanton and Todd Cartwright. In addition to live music on the weekends, these two have plans to include (very soon), free wifi, big screen televisions (already in place) for viewing sporting events, and inviting college students in to hold study groups there when the campus library is closed. I said it was a place for ‘family fun’, and I meant it. While they do serve beer, the environment is definitely children-friendly, and I would not classify the establishment a ‘bar’. It is a restaurant. A restaurant with a huge ‘backyard’. That backyard gets put to good use during the warmer weather, with outdoor music, cornhole tournaments and horseshoes, all in an area that can easily accommodate 300 people.
This is one of my favorite songs, written by Jessica, and called “Drive.”
I’m going back to the restaurant sometime soon. I am sure this is a place I will be recommending to friends. And I hope to see any of you who live nearby, there as well! In addition to Jessica’s web site, hope you will all visit her facebook page, and follow her on Twitter @JNixonMusic.
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