Smohk barbecue opens in Scott’s Addition

Roby Williams inside Smohk at 3112 W. Leigh St. (PHOTO: J. Elias O’Neal)

RICHMOND, Va. — The battle of the pit masters continues to heat up in a popular Richmond neighborhood.

Smohk, a new barbecue Joint, recently opened its doors at 3112 W. Leigh St. in Scott’s Addition.

The smokehouse is tucked behind a makeshift parking lot near the Wax Moon record store, and 300 feet away from Ardent Craft Ales and ZZQ – a barbecue venture under construction at 3201 W. Moore St.

“We’re a little hard to find,” Smohk co-owner Roby Williams said. “But we’re here and really excited to be a part of this neighborhood’s dining scene.”

Smohk is a joint venture between Williams and Elizabeth Sexton, a high school friend and current Reynolds Community College professor. It’s the pair’s first restaurant business.

A Virginia Tech alum, Williams had a love for barbecue while building his career as a designer of industrial prototypes. The recession and industry changes, such as 3-D printing and imaging, led him to decide it was time to take a leap.

“Things were changing … and I figured, maybe I should, too,” he said.

That’s when Williams rekindled his friendship with Sexton, who suggested they open their own restaurant.

By February, they took over Just Encase’s lease to transform the 2,000-square-foot space into Smohk.

“Everything moved pretty quickly,” Williams said.

Smohk smokes ribeye, turkey breasts, pork butt and chicken wings using house-made rubs and sauces. Side dishes include smoked macaroni and cheese, mixed greens, and cucumber and tomato salad.

There are no seats in the establishment, making Smohk a delivery and take-out joint from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday. The restaurant also offers a catering menu, where businesses can order food for pickup.

Smohk will try to make a name for itself in Scott’s Addition’s rapidly growing restaurant scene. That includes competition in the barbecue realm from ZZQ and nearby Lunch/Supper.

Click here to keep reading about Smohk on RichmondBizSense.