Across the Anthony Wayne Bridge from downtown and just down Woodville Road, across from the Nationwide Auto parking lot and next door to El Camino Sky, sits Smokey’s BBQ Roadhouse. This barbecue spot is run by Joey Carlo, who also owns CMH Heating, who channeled his passion for barbecue into Smokey’s, which opened three years ago.
Clean and comfortable
An open and clean space, it carries with it the distinct feeling that it “used to be something else,” a trait characteristic of many Toledo-area eateries. Nonetheless, the restaurant boasts a welcoming and comfortable mien. With lighting in the right places, including an array of neon signs reflecting softly from the bar’s corrugated tin roof, there’s a distinct mood that’s pleasing without guests feeling like they are “on display.” Similarly, the distressed wood motif coupled with the cement floors exhibits as functional yet casually attractive, fitting for a rustic roadhouse.
The bar area, comprising approximately half of the restaurant, provides comfortable seating options at either high top tables or the bar itself. The dining area is filled with booths and dining tables illuminated from above by warm Edison bulbs hanging from the spacious sloped ceiling to achieve a sense of spatial depth.
Several specialty options include a 14 ounce ribeye steak, a Tomahawk pork chop, smoked wings and an applewood smoked prime rib (available Thursday-Sunday). These treats are in addition to classic barbecue joint staple menu items including ribs, pulled pork, barbequed chicken as well as a variety of sides.
Ribs and more
A half-rack of baby-back pork ribs arrived along with the beef ribs arrayed together atop a wooden board with small dishes of mac and cheese and green beans, respectively. The board was visually complemented with golden vanilla-inflected cornbread muffins, each about the size of a regular walnut.
Named “Best Local Ribs” at the 2018 Northwest Ohio Rib Off, these bones pulled pleasantly from the meat, which was caked in a dry rub that imbued it with a savory complexion, enjoyable even without sauce. The apple-based barbecue sauce enhanced the pork ribs’ smoke profile with a semi-sweet bite and peppery finish.
Beef ribs stood in stark contrast to Smokey’s pork ribs in most respects. The three-bone portion, our server recommended we order, were prestigious and almost Flintstones’ rib-like. The tender meat was thick and juicy, peppered with a seasoning that tastefully resembled a modified beef jerky rub. These ribs’ smoke taste also made a more robust impression. In all, even applying the vaunted apple barbecue sauce proved an almost criminal affront to the preparatory care these beef ribs exhibited.
Dessert options include a deep-fried apple turnover, brownie a la mode sprinkled with candied bacon or peach cobbler—all made in house—though after the flavor litany of the rib varieties our dining party couldn’t muster the courage to tackle dessert.
Just a brief trek over the High-Level Bridge from Downtown Toledo, Smokey’s Barbecue Roadhouse represents an East-side outpost hosting some of Toledo’s best barbecue. Couple the outstanding food with its fastidious service, and Smokey’s shines a paragon of barbecue excellence.
Smokey’s BBQ Roadhouse
2092 Woodville Rd, Oregon
419-725-2888 | smokeysbbq.restaurantwebexpert.com