Jim Noble, the restaurateur behind Rooster’s and The King’s Kitchen, will open his highly anticipated barbecue concept, Noble Smoke, on Friday evening.
Noble Smoke will be Jim’s fifth restaurant, and the idea has been marinating for 25 years. He’s spent decades traveling, researching and digging deeper into his own Southern roots to make sure Noble Smoke pays homage to the history-steeped North Carolina barbecue scene.
“I fell in love with barbecue when I was a child, traveling with my father and stopping at the storied barbecue smokehouses around the state,” Jim said. “My hope with Noble Smoke is to carry on the tradition of classic wood-smoked Carolina barbecue and honor all of the barbecue legends who came before me.”
Soft opening: Although the big official grand opening is July 25, Noble Smoke will open tonight. The bar area will open at 4 p.m. and there will be limited quantities of meat (first come first serve) starting at 5 p.m. This will take place every most evenings until July 25 (when regular hours will start) with the exception of Sundays (closed).
Barbecue: The pork will be cooked both Carolina and Texas style in an 1,800-square-foot smokehouse. Noble Smoke will have eight wood-fired smokers — six made of steel (Texas style) and two traditional North Carolina masonry barbecue pits (which consist of 20,000 bricks).
Menu: The exact menu is still being finalized, but expect Cheshire barbecue pork, beef brisket, smoked turkey (by the quarter, half and full pound), barbecue sandwiches, short ribs, Joyce Farms smoked chicken, house-made sausage and wood-grilled fish. Some sides will include succotash, collards and mac and cheese. Southern dessert staples pie and banana pudding will also be on the menu, and there will be daily specials. Order the “Boss Plate,” which includes four meats and three sides, if you’re feeding multiple.
Space: It’s massive. The building is a 10,797-square-foot former tractor-trailer garage, and it’s been upfitted to seat 200 people in the main dining room. There will also be a 1,431-square-foot event space that’ll fit 80-120 people, and a 200-person patio and biergarten out back.
The 43-foot bar (made from the same wood as the smokers) in the main dining area will have 23 seats with plaques honoring barbecue legends like Wayne Monk, Pete & Sam Jones, Adam Scott, Warner Stamey and Jess Swicegood on the back.
There are also designated to-go order parking spots, you can wait in your car or look for the yellow door for the pick-up counter.
Beer: They’ll have 36 taps inside. Suffolk Punch will brewing unique wild and sour ales on site in a 1,721-square-foot facility dubbed the Suffolk Punch Blendery. Half of the 36 indoor taps will be flowing with beer by Suffolk Punch, and 12 taps will be outside.
Nice touch: There’s an old-school sink inside Noble Smoke’s main dining area so you don’t have to go to the bathroom to wash your barbecue hands
Location: 2216 Freedom Drive
Jim Noble: Noble said Charlotte could sure use another barbecue entrant, and he’s positioning it differently from Midwood, Mac’s and Bill Spoon’s. “For one of the major cities in our state, we’re one of the most underserved in the state,” Noble told the Agenda at the onset of the project. Noble comes by his passion for barbecue honestly. He grew up in High Point, just down the road from Kepley’s Barbecue (established 1948). And his father is from the Goldsboro area, home to the famous Wilber’s Barbecue. With Noble Smoke, the goal is to create a barbecue establishment that pays homage to North Carolina’s pork history while fitting into the Charlotte market.
Coming next: Noble is opening a fried chicken concept next to Noble Smoke called Bossy Beulah’s Chicken Shack, where they’ll be serving chicken sandwiches, slaw, salad and fries. The idea is inspired by Noble’s great-aunt Beulah and her tradition of Sunday chicken after church in rural North Carolina.