Juicy beef short ribs with our savory dry rub, piles of tender St. Louis ribs with our housemade sweet or spicy sauce, brisket and pulled pork cooked low and slow – this is Smokin’ John’s. It all started with a Barbecue Chicken Sandwich. Chef John J. O’Brien, the chef and general manager of Winnie’s Le Bus and Smokin‘ Johns, created a homemade sweet barbecue sauce for Winnie’s chicken sandwich with bacon and Monterrey Jack cheese that the customers absolutely went crazy for.
This sandwich got Chef O’Brien thinking, Manayunk could really use some delicious BBQ. Space opened up next door to Winnie’s and soon in December 2014, Smokin’ Johns opened up shop after catering hundreds of parties and events where guests raved about the barbecue. The team traveled far and wide tasting different styles before settling on a menu that represents the best American barbecue. Brought to you by the owner’s of Winnie’s Le Bus, Winnie and Bob Clowry, Smokin’ Johns is bringing fast-casual barbecue that you can grab to-go or enjoy dining in.
Because we believe barbecue is best when shared with friends, the restaurant has an open, communal feel with reclaimed wood walls and fixtures that were salvaged from iconic Philadelphia landmarks, including the old Tastycake factory and PECO substation.
The interior of the restaurant was designed for a rustic feel of reviving the old textile days. Provenance provided antique furniture, lighting fixtures, and reclaimed barn wood from Bucks County, PA. The restaurant’s tabletops are reclaimed poplar wood and the table bases are actually repurposed from the old Tastykake Factory! There is even antique furniture from City Hall utilized in the restaurant. A beautiful commissioned painting by Tony LaSalle of the American Flag hangs in the main dining room.
Smokin’ Johns has a shelf lined with a very impressive collection of hot sauces and weekly specials. Mondays are for quzzo, Tuesdays offer $5 Nachos, Wednesdays you can enjoy $5 wings and $15 whiskey flights, Thursdays and Fridays showcase live local music acts and $15 whiskey flights, and then live local music acts perform on the weekends as well! Check out the “Weekend Rescue” specials Saturday and Sunday 12-2pm with $4 Bloody Marys, $2 sliders, and $5 nachos.
The left entrance to the restaurant leads customers to the take-out counter where they can view the menu in the hot bar and choose from a selection of meats, sides, and salads. Much of the produce at Smokin’ Johns comes from local farms like Heritage Farm Philadelphia. The right side of the restaurant offers a large bar and more formal dining room for guests. Outdoor seating on Main Street Manayunk is also offered.
At the bar, house-smoked vodka, American craft beers, bourbon, whiskey and house-infused moonshine complement our barbecue perfectly.
Seasonal cocktails for summer include fruit-flavored moonshines and cocktails like Roses are Ruby and Red-headed Lemonade (like a mojito with whiskey). Whiskey pairs great with barbecue so why not try a flight or grab a Kickin’ Whiskey Ginger with Bird Dog whiskey, muddled jalapeno, honey syrup, and ginger. If you like something more sweet than spicy, why not try the Spiked Apple Pie with Stoli Salted Karamel, apple juice, ginger syrup, cinnamon, and club soda.
Pitmaster John O’Brien borrows the best techniques from across the American Barbeque belt – savory dry rubbed meats, tantalizing sauces and classic sides with a twist. All barbeque is cooked fresh daily in our state-of-the-art smoker, sold counter-style by the pound and served on butcher paper.
The not-to-be-missed dish here is most definitely the Brisket Burnt End Cheese Fries. Offered with sweet potato or shoestring fries, this dish is decadent and delicious. How could you ever go wrong with gooey cheese sauce and smokey brisket meat?!
Don’t forget to try a sandwich, all served on soft, fresh Le Bus bakery rolls. The Pulled Pork is always a big seller, but the Pulled Chicken with Mac N’ Cheese and Sriracha drizzle is also an unexpected delight of a sandwich. This Mac N’ Cheese even won Best of Manayunk! All meats can be ordered a la carte by the 1/4 pound or as a platter with 2 sides and bread. Meats include St. Louis Ribs, Pulled Pork, Brisket, Pulled Chicken, Beef Short Ribs, Atlantic Salmon, and even Seitan Ribs. We loved the St. Louis Ribs.
Chef O’Brien’s wife actually helped inspire the salmon that is molasses-smoked and cooked whole with rubbed cracked mustard seed and brown sugar. The Vegan Seitan Ribs were her idea too! These ribs are loved by vegans and meat-eaters a alike for their unique flavor and texture. Gluten-free customers can also rejoice over the spicy BBQ sauce and Omission Pale Ale served here. If you’re trying to keep it healthy, 2 new salads have been added to the menu also!
Save room for desserts like chocolate chip and Reese’s cookies, blondie bars, pie in jar (apple, cherry, or Oreo chocolate pudding flavored). And you can even take Smokin’ Johns home with you by purchasing their signature Sweet or Spicy BBQ sauce in a jar!
Delivery is available to Roxborough, Manayunk, and East Falls. Place your pick-up or delivery orders with the Chow now app.
We would like to thank Chef John O’Brien for meeting with us and for sharing with us the food and story of Smokin’ Johns.