Barbecue Stalwart Smoke’s Future Is Uncertain After Tim Byres’s Departure

West Dallas barbecue favorite Smoke will soon have new owners from directly next door.

Its landlord, the neighboring Belmont Hotel, bought the restaurant at 901 Fort Worth Avenue from its original founders Chris Jeffers, Chris Zielke, and Tim Byres and will take over once the sale is completed this weekend. There’s no definite word on whether the hotel will keep Smoke operating in its current form, and Belmont owner Jordan Ford was unavailable for comment.

However, Zielke told Eater that the hotel purchased all of Smoke’s intellectual property including recipes, and guesses that Ford may temporarily close the restaurant for a remodel in accordance with his years-long plan to renovate the hotel property, although its current owners were not apprised of what exactly will happen to Smoke after it changes hands.

“We’ve been talking with them since they bought the property [in 2015] about what the future of the restaurant would be. It’s been a long negotiation.” Zielke told Eater. “They want to have management and ownership of the whole property under one roof and not have competing interests.”

The trio launched the restaurant in 2009 in partnership with the Belmont’s then-owner Monte Anderson, who asked them head up the hotel’s food and drink offerings. It’s consistently churned out top-notch dishes, not only earning a standing spot on Eater’s essential barbecue joints in DFW, but also winning accolades from industry publications, nods from mainstream national media, and a James Beard award for Chef Tim Byres’ cookbook named after the restaurant.

“Smoke has shown me how to be the person I always wanted to become,” Byres said in a statement. “I have too many memories of struggle, grit, celebration, love and companionship around our tables. We have been gifted with the opportunity to craft our own way and do it surrounded by closest friends and family. Nobody was ever a stranger here. Our employees and guests over the years created a powerful synergy of stewardship of Smoke. They have been with us all the way; for this I am beyond grateful.”

Stay tuned for more information on Smoke’s future with the Belmont Hotel.