Smoke 'N Pig BBQ is putting down roots, with new Delta Township eatery

Rachel Greco
Lansing State Journal

DELTA TWP. - A popular mobile barbecue operation that amassed a strong following smoking ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken, and turkey from a 40-foot-long fire-engine-red trailer is putting down roots.

Smoke 'N Pig BBQ, started three years ago by Grand Ledge resident  Gabe Jones and his family, will open a brick and mortar restaurant this fall in a plaza off Elmwood Road just across from the Lansing Mall in Delta Township.

The 2,300-square-foot-space, formerly home to a dance studio, will allow for 40 to 50 seats in the restaurant's dining room, said Bryan Torok, Jones' father and the businesses co-owner.

The future home of Smoke 'N Pig BBQ's new restaurant, situated in a plaza off Elmwood Road just across from the Lansing Mall in Delta Township already sports the eatery's logo in a window.

It's a necessary next step for the family business, which Torok said has taken off in the last year.

The restaurant's doors will hopefully open sometime in early fall, he said, although an exact date hasn't been set yet.

"Things are moving quickly now," Torok said.  

Growing barbecue business

On Monday morning Smoke 'N Pig BBQ's staff had just wrapped up a busy weekend slinging barbecue at the DeWitt Ox Roast.

"We were twice as busy as we thought we'd be there," Torok said. 

Renovations inside Smoke 'N Pig BBQ's new restaurant, situated in a plaza off Elmwood Road just across from the Lansing Mall in Delta Township have already started.

This week, they'll be serving food from two trailers at local business events, at Mason's Sun Dried Music Festival this coming weekend, and from their regular spot in a parking lot off Elmwood Road.

That spot is just feet away from the new restaurant space they'll occupy at 908 Elmwood Road and exactly a mile from a spot the Smoke 'N Pig BBQ occupied on West Saginaw Highway most of last year.

Using Jones' recipes for smoked meats and rubs, pulled pork nachos and macaroni and cheese, Torok, his wife Mary, Jones' girlfriend Kerissah Ries and core staff Walter Pops, Josh Haan and Carl Pollard have grown the business.

In 2017, Jones took first place at the Michigan Renaissance Festival for best pork ribs and for best beef ribs. At the Kalamazoo Ribfest, they took second place for peoples choice and third place in the sponsors choice competition. And, they took Best in Show at Royal Oak Arts Beats Eats.

"It's busy, busy from May through August," Torok said. "We realized we were running out of space on the trailer to prepare all the food we needed for events. We need a large kitchen."

By January, the decision had been made to open a restaurant.

"With the amount of people we see on a regular basis, we knew we had the customer base for a restaurant," Torok said.

Getting ready to put down roots

Renovations at the new restaurant have already started. Interior walls are in place and walk-in coolers have been installed.

Mary Torok is planning the interior's design, with an aim of maintaining a food truck atmosphere and using the food trailer's logo.

"I think when people think of barbecue, often their first experience with it was at a festival food truck, and that's our roots," Bryan Torok said. "It's how we got started. Our customer base knows us from that."

In addition to the dining room space, the restaurant will offer patio seating for about 15 people.

The menu will likely be expanded from what's offered on the food trailer, Torok said, but the popular standards — including the smoked meats and loaded macaroni and cheese topped with pulled pork and barbecue sauce — will be on it. 

Torok said chicken wings and french fries are likely additions, and the dessert offerings will grow too.

Smoke 'N Pig BBQ's food trailers will continue to operate at local events after the Elmwood Road restaurant opens. The business plans to hire a few employees has already brought on a general manager.

Staff plan to keep customers updated on the restaurant's progress there through Smoke 'N Pig BBQ's Facebook page.

Their support thus far is what made the move possible, Torok said.

"We've been very blessed with the following  we've gotten from the Lansing community," he said.

More about Smoke 'N Pig BBQ

Visit Smoke 'N Pig BBQ's food trailer in Delta Township on Elmwood Road across from the Lansing Mall from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheSmokeNPigBbq/ and online at https://www.thesmokenpigbbq.com/?fbclid=IwAR1WnM8BJvKCnIgCujPm2SmT4sHZhfCwnq3-uA4uZcCCAThXT28kWhNBdv8 .


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Contact Rachel Greco at rgreco@lsj.com. Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ.

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