Written by Griffin Seeley
Illustration by Madison Otten
Sugarfire Smokehouse, originated in St. Louis, Mo., has multiple locations in the Midwest, including one Colorado location in Westminster. I ended up choosing this restaurant to review because of its close proximity and how well it seemed to be recommended on Google, Yelp, and by friends. I went into this restaurant with four criteria in mind: the customer service, atmosphere/cleanliness, entree, and dessert.
The atmosphere and cleanliness were the first things I noticed in the restaurant. The dining room seemed to be pretty clean, with BBQ sauce bottles on all of the tables, and a neat bar set up on the other side of the room. Reviews adorned the walls, and a big blue cow sat on top of the bar with a sign accompanying it that read, “C-Brisket,” which I took to be the cow’s name. A red sanitizer bucket sat on one of the tables, presumably forgotten. Two garage doors sat behind the bar, leading out to the patio, closed for the season. Nobody seemed to be in the restaurant, given that it was 4 p.m. on a Monday.
When I went into the restroom, there were shreds of paper towel on the floor, and the sink had weird specks of something in it. The combined washer/dryer in the faucet was very interesting though. The lack of attention both inside the bathrooms and in the restaurant was clearly felt.
While we were studying the menu, I looked at the line where we would be getting served, but nobody was behind the counter waiting for us. I assumed they would show up while we were deciding, but that wasn’t the case, and when we decided what we wanted to order nobody was behind the line still.
We looked down the line to the bar at the end, and wouldn’t you know it, a couple of men wearing Sugarfire shirts were sitting at the bar, just chatting. One of the more assertive people I came with walked over there and talked to them. With poorly hidden disgruntled looks, they entered the line and put on black rubber gloves.
One of the men had an angry vibe about him, and he instantly made me feel uncomfortable. He brusquely said, “What would you like?” The friend who confronted them put in his order. While the two men were making the order, I kept a wary eye on the scary man and what he was doing with that foot-long knife. Luckily, all he did was slice portions of brisket and ribs.
The other two friends were able to leave the line with their orders. I was not. Since mine had fried food in it, they needed more time to prepare it. The cashier, who had appeared out of nowhere, helped us out with a big smile on her face, before promptly disappearing into the back of the restaurant again. We went and sat down at a table without a sanitizer bucket. Soon after, the scary man brought my order out, plopped it down, and left without a word. He had me wondering if death by brisket nuggets was slow.
Now for the food itself. I had ordered the brisket nuggets, which was the special. Like the name sounds, it was breaded brisket, deep fried, and served with drizzled BBQ sauce.
While they looked dark, the nuggets were nice and tender, and when consumed, they melted in my mouth with bursts of brisket, plus fried, flavor. The special came with one side, and I chose the mac and cheese. While tasty, it definitely needed salt. Consistency or the texture was also missing.
My friends got the ribs/brisket combo plate and the brisket cheesesteak sandwich, respectively. They reported that the ribs were dry, tough, and lacked flavor, but the cheesesteak was nicely done. After looking at our check, the friend who got the cheesesteak determined that it was overpriced for what it was.
We decided to get dessert. Since they had shakes, cookies, and pies, we decided to get one of each. A chocolate shake and a smoked chocolate-chip cookie were decided right away, but we couldn’t decide what kind of pie we should try. The woman very adamantly suggested their signature Sugarfire pie, saying it was very popular, and telling us what it was, which seemed to be molasses and brown sugar with a wafer crust. We ended up choosing that pie to try.
We brought the pie and the cookie back to the table, with the woman saying she would bring out the shake shortly. The pie was actually very good, and as was the soft, salted cookie. When our shake came, there were chunks of vanilla ice cream still unmixed, but the flavor was nice.
Overall, this restaurant gets a B-, grade-wise. While the customer service was lacking with the people actually making our meals, the cashier did provide good service. The food was between good and bad as well, but more on the positive side. I may return, but if I do, I’m going to come back on a day when that scary man is not there.
Address: 14375 Orchard Pkwy Suite 100, Westminster, CO 80023
Hours: 11 a.m to 10 p.m/Sold Out
How Much: Pricey
How Loud: Moderate
Information: (720) 639-4903