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Taking a step back to tradition


With new smokehouse, Painted Lady owners look to embrace old cooking methods

What started as the occasional family meal at The Painted Lady restaurant, has now grown into its own full-fledged smokehouse.

“We wanted to do something that was different,” said Allen Routt, Painted Lady owner and the man behind Storrs Smokehouse. “Loal (Stahlnecker) came to work with us a couple of years ago and we started doing things together for a family meal, just to feed the staff, and it kept growing.”

Then in December, Routt’s wife and Painted Lady restaurant co-owner Jessica Bagley spotted a small space on First Street. Later that month the lease was signed and Storrs Smokehouse was becoming a reality.by: GARY ALLEN - New business - Storrs Smokehouse, almost ready for  business, is a partnership between (from left) Jessica Bagley, Loal Stahlnecker and Allen Routt, all of  The Painted Lady restaurant. The smokehouse is    slated to open April 5.

“It’s a classic smokehouse, which there aren’t a lot of in the Northwest,” Bagley said. “We’re following the model of more what you see in the South or Texas, where the menu is smaller but focuses on really high quality, simple, but doing the best smoked meats we can.”

Routt said they envision a “hole in the wall” neighborhood restaurant, where take-out is swift and friends can meet for a quick lunch.

But the focus will be on the product, with everything being prepared in an 8-foot by 3-foot smoker stored out back.

“I don’t know firsthand, but from traveling around some people incorporate smoke but we wanted to get away from having an oven and trying to do things more quickly than they should be done and just smoking everything from start to finish on the smoker,” Routt said.

In Painted Lady fashion, the food will include family recipes, traditional techniques and ingenuity.

“(Stahlnecker) had used a recipe in the past with Jack Daniels, so being in wine country we decided to play around with substituting pinot noir for the Jack Daniels in the barbeque sauce,” Allen Routt said.

Bagley said alongside the family recipes for items including sweet green tomato pickles and crisp dills, will be integrity and attention to detail. This aspect, she said, will make the smokehouse a unique experience in the Northwest.

“It’ll be unique because there isn’t the strong barbeque culture in the Northwest,” she said. “People love barbeque and competitions, but it’s not a saturated market.”

Storrs will open its doors for First Friday Art Walk April 4, with a full opening April 5.

“We won’t be full service, it will be Art Walk things — food, beverages, pouring some wine,” Allen Routt said, adding it will be just enough to show people the new restaurant and entice them to come back the next day.

Upon opening, the restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Monday.

Bagely said they will also serve biscuits and gravy in the mornings, since they will be there regardless smoking meat for the afternoon.

For more information, visit www.storrssmoke house.com.