One of the city's top barbecue spots is expanding to the Crockett Row area of Fort Worth: Smoke-a-holics BBQ, whose nearly two-year-old store on Evans Avenue in southeast Fort Worth has won acclaim from BBQ aficionados near and far, will open a location this month inside Crockett Hall, the indoor food hall located at 3000 Crockett St. near the Cultural District.
Smoke-a-holics owner and pitmaster Derrick Walker says the new location will serve most of the items from Smoke-a-holics' original store, from expertly smoked sliced brisket to sides to specialty items such as smoked chicken salad; brisket nachos; and loaded cornbread, a popular dish consisting of cornbread topped with baked beans, chopped brisket, shredded cheese, onions, and barbecue sauce.
"It's ambitious, I know," Walker says. "But we want to offer the full experience."
Walker says the only item that won't be served will be turkey legs, which are a Tuesday-only special at the original store.
Meats will be smoked at the original store and transported, twice a day, to the Crockett Hall location. "It's only about a seven-minute drive, so if we run out of something, we can run it over pretty fast," Walker says.
Since opening two years ago in a tiny 1,000-square-foot building, Smoke-a-holics has become one of the top barbecue joints in Texas, garnering local, regional, and national attention, including a nomination for Best New Restaurant of 2020 in CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards. Most recently, the restaurant was featured in Garden + Gun magazine.
Walker's a Fort Worth native who got started in the barbecue business in 2006 by catering special events and hosting pop-ups. In 2018, he purchased a food truck from the owners of Panther City BBQ and began parking on weekends on South Hulen Street, where he quickly developed a following.
Walker had been toying with the idea of expanding for months. "We looked at the old Dickey's building (on University Dr.), which isn't too far from the food hall," he says. "We've looked at other places, too, a lot of other places. But we worked out a really good deal for the space at the food hall — an offer we couldn’t refuse."
Originally known as the Food Hall at Crockett Row, the 16,000-square-foot indoor food mall opened in 2018 with nearly a dozen vendors, including John Tesar's Knife. Business, however, was up and down, and vendors came and went, clouding the hall's future.
Last summer, the hall was rebooted by Dallas-based designer Bruce Russo of B. Russo Designs. Russo added several new vendors, featuring many concepts he developed himself, along with new architectural and design elements.
Smoke-a-holics will fill the void left by Not Just Q, a barbecue restaurant in the food hall that closed in November. It'll be open Wednesday-Saturday from 11 am-7 pm, or until sold out.
"Bruce said people have been coming in and asking for barbecue, so there's a need for it,” Walker says. "There's thousands of people who live in Crockett Row, so there's a lot of potential. The place should be hopping."