I’m gonna have to start cranking out more reviews each week because there are SO many new places opening and I keep getting invited to SO many fun events! I usually post live from each event on Instagram, but then I get tired of sitting in front of my laptop all day watching online class lectures and become too distracted to write my full review. I’m heading to Europe in 2 1/2 weeks, so I’ll see how many restaurant features I can share before then.
So, here we go: Sugarfire Smokehouse is a BBQ chain from St. Louis, Missouri. The Sugarfire team decided to open up some more locations outside of Missouri and chose Indianapolis for their first Indiana transplant adventure. They are known for their brisket, pulled pork, and ribs, but they have also added a few Indiana favorites to their local menu, such as fried pork sandwiches and and Hoosier chess pie. While their meats are the standout on the menu, they also have daily specials, salmon, fresh salads, and these fascinating “pie milk shakes” where a slice of pie is literally blended directly into a milkshake. Can anyone say “sugar rush”?!
I talked my sister into checking out their downtown Indy location very soon after their grand opening. I gave her an address and told her that I would meet her there. I did not realize that the location was RIGHT downtown until I started to hit Friday at 5pm traffic. I expected more of a sit-down, casual chain environment, but Sugarfire is straight-up counter service with a few chairs and tables scattered around, if you’re lucky enough to snag one. I was hoping to make a night out of our dining experience, but this is definitely more of a fast place to be in and out. The multitude of sauce choices are available on each table so you can sample them all before coating your meat in your favorite one.
I started my visit with a brisket sandwich with mac ‘n cheese for my side. I was confused, though, because their menu in the restaurant and online says their side options are french fries, baked beans, coleslaw, and potato salad. BUT! After placing my order, I noticed several other sides at the counter, like mashed potatoes and my mac ‘n cheese. I asked for clarification since the menu didn’t list these sides as options, but the server just asked if I wanted to swap out my original choice (which I happily did). I just checked the menu today and still no mention of these other sides, so I continue to be confused. They offer some fancy soft drinks and (hopefully) boozy milkshakes, but they had not yet received their alcohol license when I visited, so it was water for me!
So, the good things? The BBQ was actually really delicious. Juicy and flavorful and messy and everything good that brisket is supposed to be. I was impressed and got way too full to finish my side dish.
The bad things? I know I went close after their grand opening, but they were a bit disorganized. No one welcome me or explained the concept or menu to me. I’m still confused about their side dish options. No adults seemed to be supervising the young servers who are now the face of the Indianapolis location. The drink station was a mess and the bathroom needed a deep clean. My chair and table were very wobbly and the music was pretty loud. I also wish they had finished getting their alcohol license before opening.
Overall thoughts? The BBQ flavor was good enough to deserve a second visit, but I need to lower my expectations about the experience and maybe just grab a sandwich to go.
24 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Sunday: 11am – Sold Out
Monday: 11am – 6pm
Tuesday: 11am – Sold Out
Wednesday: 11am – Sold Out
Thursday: 11am – 6pm
Friday: 11am – Sold Out
Saturday: 11am – Sold Out
What’s your favorite place for some good BBQ?