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Penticton's popular Smugglers Smoke House closing its doors

Smugglers Smoke House in Penticton announced their last weekend in business today, May 7, 2021.
Smugglers Smoke House in Penticton announced their last weekend in business today, May 7, 2021.
Image Credit: Facebook/ Smugglers Smoke House

Penticton’s Smugglers Smokehouse has become an economic victim of the pandemic.

Owner and operator Shayna Shulman says the popular smoked meat restaurant’s last day will be today or tomorrow, depending on how long the food lasts.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking, I’m not going to lie,” Shulman says.

The restaurant gained its reputation for barbecue shortly after it opened in 2016 at Legend Distillery. It moved to Penticton the following year to the Winnipeg Street location now housing the Black Antler, before locating at 536 Main St.

“This would be our fifth year in business. We’re pretty unique. There isn’t much like us around, Hammer’s House of Hog in Oliver or Memphis Blues in Kelowna might be examples of other restaurants like ours,” Shulman says.

Smugglers Smoke House worked out of Red Rooster Winery during the summer of 2019, but COVID-19 eliminated that venue last year and this year.

“That’s pretty well led to our demise. We thought of taking on more debt to keep this going, but with no clear end in sight to restrictions, it’s hard to imagine being successful, or going back to being successful,” Shulman says.

The restaurant “did okay” through the winter, but Shulman says with spring, things really slowed down to the point she and her husband had to make the call.

Smugglers Smoke House was best known for its brisket, but Shulman says other favourites included their classic pulled pork, smoked chicken and a delicious rack of ribs. They also provided side dishes such as cornbread and baked beans.

“We sourced locally as much as possible to keep the money in the community,” Shulman says.

Smugglers Smoke House will be open today until 9 p.m. and possibly tomorrow at 3 p.m., depending on how much food is available.

“We’re going to miss doing this. It’s just a little too stressful to take on more debt. Maybe we’ll make a comeback once the pandemic is over,” Shulman says.

Barbecued brisket was a house favourite at Smugglers Smoke House.
Barbecued brisket was a house favourite at Smugglers Smoke House.
Image Credit: Facebook/ Smugglers Smoke House

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