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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lockhart Smokehouse, Plano, TX - a first look.

Crossing over the DART tracks into downtown Plano, you will quickly notice new construction surrounding the area off 15th Street. With a recent article from the Dallas Morning News of the city's planned mixed development sprawl southward, it’s not far-fetched to say downtown Plano is very similar to Bishop Arts District.

Already there is a healthy mix of shops, restaurants and bars such as Vickery Park, Fillmore Pub, and Kelly’s Eastside. In 2012, Urban Crust spawned a Tex-Mex sister, Urban Rio, and more recently the popular food truck, Cajun Tailgaters, moved into a brick and mortar.

Adding to the downtown diversity was the announcement of Lockhart Smokehouse's second location in the summer of 2013. December was initially the target month for open doors, but unfortunately this did not occur.

Owner Jeff Bergus said of the date being pushed back, “With every business, there will always be hurdles to jump over, but we’re close. I expect us opening within the next couple weeks.”

After an October fire to neighboring restaurant Zanata, the city of Plano tightened the reins on their plans. The pits had to be enclosed within a separate brick structure. Being housed in a building over 100 years old, Lockhart's owners obliged due to the safety factors involved.
Owner Jill Bergus was elated to have found a location with such history, and the preservation of its character played an important part during the renovation. “We just seem to fall into dumb luck," she said. "Between the Bishop Arts location and here, just luck.”

Originally there was a downtown McKinney location mapped out before that deal fell through. Though disappointed, Jill was content saying, “Because of that not working out, it gave us another year of learning and planning. I believe we’re in a much better position now.”

“This location gives us something we didn’t have before -- more space to accommodate our customer’s needs. There will be an upstairs dining area which will have a bar over looking the restaurant, and will also serve as dual purpose for an event space," she said.

Wanting to maintain as much of the building's original appearance as possible, they kept partially exposed brick walls, wooden floors, and an exposed ceiling. During the renovation, an old well was found where the downstairs bar is situated. This dated back to when every building had its own well for precautionary measures in case of a downtown fire.

As far as the menu goes, it will remain the same as the Bishop Arts location with a robust local craft beer selection. The service line will be more fluid from entrance to chopping block. One thing the Bergus' didn’t want to do was separate their customers from the quintessential barbecue experience and not allow them the opportunity to view the cutting of the meat.

With the first annual Suburbia Fest being announced earlier this month, there’s no denying Plano is becoming an eclectic place to live and play. If there was anything missing to the downtown's puzzle, Lockhart Smokehouse aims to put that piece in place.


  1. Looks great. Can't wait !!


  2. Glad to hear we are only a few weeks away. It was only about 2 years ago that I discovered the Bishop Arts location and loved it! To say I am excited to have one coming this close to us (though, I REALLY wish it had come to Allen) is an understatement!