The sweet smell of smoke is in the air in downtown Mendon ever since Main Street Smokehouse fired up their smokers during late summer 2022. Sourcing quality ingredients and making nearly everything from scratch, the Smokehouse is taking traditional barbecue and elevating it by using creative and innovative flavors.
Though also open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner service, my dining companion and I selected reservations for an early brunch slot on a Sunday morning. The restaurant was nearly empty when we were sat, and we were given a cozy table for two with a dazzling morning view of the St. Joseph River outside. Our beverage list offered a variety of options such as wines, beers, cocktails, and even mock-tails.
My partner and I decided, however, to stay on-brand with our brunch theme for the morning and ordered two flights of mimosas ($12 each). They arrived at our table brightly-colored and beautifully garnished with dried fruit, and offering flavors like grapefruit and apple. Our personal favorite was the strawberry mimosa, which was refreshing and also reminded us of a mulled cider.
Our mimosas were looking a little lonely so we wasted no time adding appetizers to keep them company, our interests piqued by the cornbread ($10) and the smoked chicken wings ($15). The cornbread arrived in a neat presentation nestled into a mini-cast iron skillet, garnished with skewers of cubed cheese and meats, and served with a choice between homemade salted butter or Bloody Mary butter. The latter was my favorite spread for the bread, as it added a bit of zip to each bite.
The chicken wings can be coated in either candied jalapeño sauce or chipotle white sauce, and we chose the jalapeño as we are fans of heat. The sweet and spicy glaze was finger-licking good, not being extraordinarily hot for someone who is more sensitive to fiery foods. The chicken had a deep, smokey flavor and the wings themselves were plump and large.
Entrees were the next order of business, my partner selecting the Beef Brisket Sandwich ($12) with an order of the Smashed Potato Fries with Moroccan Ketchup ($5). The sandwich arrived quickly, a toasted bun absolutely stuffed-to-the-brim with stacks of juicy brisket. The meat was seasoned with deep flavors such as pasilla and guajillo chilies, soy, and mushrooms.
We divided the monster-of-a-sandwich into four sections, eager to try each of the house-made barbecue sauces on our table. I had a particularly hard time choosing a favorite between the Sweet and Spicy Mustard, Cherry Bomb, or Sweet and Smokey while my companion loved the Carolina barbecue flavor the most. We were advised that bottles of these sauces can be purchased at the restaurant, and now I think everyone knows what to get me for my birthday in a few weeks.
Yet again sticking with my “brunch vibe” for the day, I ordered the brunch special of Chicken and Waffles ($12). A juicy, buttermilk smoked chicken breast sandwiched between fluffy Belgium waffles and drowning in a sea of chili-infused maple syrup and amber honey butter, this entree left us both speechless. Each bite was crunchy, sticky-sweet, pillowy, and totally addictive. Between bites of my own food, my partner’s brisket sandwich, and the irresistible smashed potato fries (the Moroccan ketchup is unforgettable), we ended our meal absolutely satisfied.
By the time we were paying our bill and boxing our portions to take home, the restaurant was totally packed and the front door was in constant rotation with to-go orders. The energy inside had all the comforts of eating in a small town where everyone seems to know each other, and the friendliness and hospitality know no bounds. The Smokehouse seems to have created the ideal meeting place for the Mendon community and as we left with our coveted leftovers and satisfied bellies, we vowed to come back and join them again very soon.
Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice. For more SW Michigan foodie reviews, follow along with Beca on Instagram: @bites.with.beca.
Any views or opinions expressed in “Bites with Beca” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.