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Smokey Joe's Restaurant Press

The Lake George Mirror; May 16, 2008

Table Talk
by Blaze Marshall

Jerry Porreca had to make a few difficult choices. Should he open his own restaurant in Lake George, and should he move from his customary Italian cuisine to his bar-b-que specials? Yes and yes were his very wise choices!! He decided that the Lake George region was already saturated with good Italian dining choices. He therefore transformed what was a roadside tavern into Smokey Joe's Saloon & Grill.

He invested his time and money into what has become a favorite year-round oasis for food and drinks located just south of Lake George Village. A long time ago this building housed Andy's Drive-In and more recently, John Case's popular Lemon Peel Lounge.

Patrons now enter to find an L-shaped bar full of locals and a cozy front dining area overlooking former Gaslight Village. During warmer months, there is a nice sidewalk patio and even an indoor loft for busy weekends.

Smokey Joe's has convenient on-site parking, a rarity in the village.

Most nights you will find folks discussing everything from Spitzer's downfall to Harley cycles, but the main event is surely Porreca's ribs, beef brisket and bar-b-que chicken. Smokey Joe's no nonsense, simple menu chosen by Jerry Porreca, is just what the local and visitor ordered. Even if he throws in a choice of four slice pizzas to boot.

There's a choice of ribs by the half rack, full rack or a popular "Deal for Two" that includes a choice of four sides and some great corn bread. There are also many combos of ribs with beef brisket, pulled pork or bar-b-que chicken breast.

You can order a top sirloin with a bleu cheese coating, great sandwiches and hand-formed burgers, wraps or those tiny pizzas. Lighter fare fans can enjoy a great Caesar salad with chicken as well as a variety of quesadillas.

On this March night, fans from the New York State Basketball Tournament found their way to Smokey Joe's, a testament to his reputation for good food at reasonable prices. Two companions and I were seated next to a party of twelve from Peekskill who returned to this tournament for their second year in a row.

NASCAR Nut, Miss Picky Eater and I were also placed next to a tiny wood stove that offered much relief on this chilly night. Our waiter Will delivered our beverages. NASCAR and I both enjoyed steaming bowls of their award winning chili, loaded with tender pork crusted with a cheese topping. We also enjoyed some great deep fried onion rings.

Miss Picky Eater chose a half rack of ribs with a side of sweet potato fries and coleslaw. NASCAR Nut had all of that and a breast of chicken as well. The ribs are coated with a wonderful sauce, not overpowering or overdone but tender, juicy and lean. Finger-lickin' good, fall off the bone, slow roasted to perfection.

Yours Truly tried the beef brisket and was rewarded with 12-14 oz. of succulent, moist beef, also fork tender and with just the right saucing. I backed it up with fresh coleslaw and some very tasty baked beans in a dark, honey maple sauce. No ketchup needed here to spoil the flavor!

Smokey Joe's delivers with efficient, friendly service. Its casual, cozy atmosphere and down to earth cooking will continue to be a great favorite of locals and visitors alike. Jerry Porreca made the right choice to go with his great ribs. But if you don't agree, he still has those tiny pizzas!


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Smokey Joe's Saloon & Grill Restaurant
25 Canada Street | Lake George, NY 12845
518-668-2660 |

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