You’ll need to squint to see the Smok-Haus logo at the barbecue spot’s new location, sandwiched between a hair salon and a billiards-supply house in a strip mall on South Broadway in Hicksville. Open the door to the narrow shop and all you’ll see are three ordering kiosks and a cashier. What you can’t see is the 2,500-square-foot kitchen where Manny Voumvourakis is smoking meats not only for Hicksville but for catering orders and for the original Smok-Haus in Garden City (a Newsday Top 100 restaurant), which no longer has the space to serve and to smoke.
Voumvourakis knows what some customers’ reactions will be to his decision to “smoke off site.”
“Now before you say, ‘Wait a minute — I don’t want barbecue that is cooked somewhere else. I want fresh, hot-off-the stove barbecue.’ Well, you have to understand that is not the way barbecue works.”
Voumvourakis doesn’t smoke anything for less than five hours, and his brisket takes more like 18. “This isn’t like regular restaurant cooking. Once these foods come out of the smoker,” he explained, “they are held at the perfect temperature so that they are in the best possible shape for people to eat them — that is one of the challenges of making great barbecue. And there's no reason they can't travel nine miles while they wait.”
An MIT-trained engineer, Voumvourakis ran an investment banking firm before he opened the original Smok-Haus in 2018. “Logistics was my first love,” he quipped. He has big plans for Smok-Haus and he knows that he has to nail down the smoking and holding logistics before scaling up. Hicksville is to be his laboratory.
Initially, he wasn’t even going to serve out of Hicksville, but once he built out the kitchen he decided that “I wasn’t going to open a huge Smok-Haus in Hicksville and leave the local customers out in the cold.”
Since it debuted, Smok-Haus has expanded its offerings far beyond the classic ribs, pulled pork, brisket and wings. Now you’ll find supernal smoked pastrami and porchetta, dark-chocolate chili, fried chicken sandwiches and more than a dozen tacos that bestow international twists (Mexican, Korean, Greek, Italian) to the smoked meats. Hicksville is takeout only, but the menu is identical to the one in Garden City.
Smok-Haus, 954 S. Broadway, Hicksville, 516-400-7102, smok-haus.com. Open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon-9 p.m., closed Monday.