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Monday, December 9, 2019

Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon soft opens

Posted By on Mon, Dec 9, 2019 at 10:26 AM

COURTESY SLINGERS SMOKEHOUSE & SALOON
  • Courtesy Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon


The question isn’t “What is Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon.” It’s “What isn’t Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon.

Open as of 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9, the restaurant, bar and nightlife spot is actually our state’s first (and technically partial) “ghost restaurant” to hear co-owner Greg Howard (former McCabe's Tavern owner) explain it.

A ghost restaurant is a kitchen that serves delivery and take-out only, thereby keeping low overhead for economic viability. Howard cites recent data which indicates pickup and delivery as the #1 growing restaurant industry trend. “With this model coming out of big cities,” he says, “we looked at it and saw that we may not have the population [in this location] to support one restaurant, but it can support three of four different concepts out of one kitchen.”

click to enlarge A proper barbecue setting. - COURTESY SLINGERS SMOKEHOUSE & SALOON
  • Courtesy Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon
  • A proper barbecue setting.

So, Slingers is a sit-down bar and barbecue joint — “We’re all hospitality folks, so it’s hard for us to let that go,” he says — but it also sells 1) a vegan/vegetarian menu, 2) a Nashville hot chicken menu and 3) an Italian menu for pickup/takeout only (they’re partnering with third-party providers like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub).

Co-owner Stephon Black (who helped with Copperhead Road and Johnny’s Navajo Hogan openings) says Slingers has 20 taps (one with wine, another with Truly hard seltzer) and craft cocktails, and serves lunch, dinner and late night (until 2 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, which also feature a DJ or live music). Programming includes sports channels, and themes like Taco Tuesday and Wing Wednesday. Slingers’ ownership team also acquired the adjacent, former Bikini Xpresso kiosk and intend to launch a coffee arm around mid January.

click to enlarge Birds in the oven. - COURTESY SLINGERS SMOKEHOUSE & SALOON
  • Courtesy Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon
  • Birds in the oven.

Also part of the ownership team are Travis Blaney, managing partner at Streetcar520, and Jay DesRoches, who brings other restaurant experience. Tommy Taylor is Slingers' kitchen manager; his recent work includes Patty Jewett Bar & Grill.

As for the barbecue, Howard says DesRoches lent his recipe for apple- and oak-smoked meats, and that "smokehouse" is the key word to understand Slingers' style. The team doesn't prefer to get caught up in all the regional banter about all the barbecue styles out there, believing that if you say you are one thing, like Kansas City style, for example, then some purists will attack you for not being dead-on style, while other potential diners will perhaps avoid you, saying, 'Oh, well I prefer Carolina- or Texas-style.' Here, they're just going for good barbecue all around.

click to enlarge You won't be putting angel wings on for your Instagram photos here. Nope, it's chicken wings for you. - COURTESY SLINGERS SMOKEHOUSE & SALOON
  • Courtesy Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon
  • You won't be putting angel wings on for your Instagram photos here. Nope, it's chicken wings for you.

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