When I arrived at the office this morning, I was greeted by my phone's blinking message light and a pair of emails informing me that Smokejacks (on the corner of Church and Main in Burlington), had closed, presumably for good, last night.
Political columnist Shay Totten saw some of the crew "drowning their sorrows" at the OP, and Seven Days staffer Colby Roberts reported that there's a big "for rent" sign on the restaurant's window. On Facebook, at least one employee has changed her status to indicate that she is now unemployed.
I'm working on getting the scoop, but for now, thought I should let people know.
I've got a personal connection to Smokejacks because it was where my husband and I had our first dinner date (pan-seared tuna with cucumber "noodles" and a pepper cracker, duck, a smoked pork chop, and lots of fun). Needless to say, the closing makes me pretty sad. I don't know what went wrong, but it's one of the few times in recent memory that downtown Burlington has lost a real restaurant institution; one that was localvore before there was a word for it.
I hadn't eaten there since the new owner took over, so I can't say what the food has been like for the past few months, but my experiences at Smokejacks over the last few years were a (mostly positive) mixed bag. I occasionally tried something that seemed a bit too busy or was oversalted, but I also had some wonderful, unforgettable food. It was the first place a tried Humboldt Fog cheese, and that experience was a revelation. I will certainly miss the homemade sodas — particularly the litchi and ginger varieties — and the great brunch food, as well as the flavorful entrees.
I was also planning to use a fictionalized version of the restaurant in my culinary murder mystery novel...but that's another story.
As soon as I find out more, I'll let you know.