BBQ Gets Down On Main St. UTC

Smokeyard BBQ & Chop Shop is the perfect balance of bold, spicy and sweet


Early in the Evening one recent Saturday, the newly mammoth Westfield UTC (formerly known as University Towne Center) was flooded with couples and families out for a good time, and virtually everyone was smiling.

The contemporary version of scenes that decades ago animated Main Streets across the country was fun—except, later on, for those who failed to note their stall number in the behemoth garage. UTC remains a shopping center, of course, but it’s also an entertainment district energized by a vast collection of new restaurants.

Almost all have relatives somewhere in California (Westfield didn’t roll the dice on unproven concepts), and Smokeyard BBQ & Chop Shop is the first sibling of a “next generation barbecue” eatery in Mammoth Mountain’s village. It’s the creation of a pair of brothers, Guy and Alon Ravid, who emigrated from South Africa some years ago.

Pulled-pork sliderLacking foreknowledge of American barbecue, they’re open-minded on the subject, and chef Matt Sramek presents a well-executed menu carefully devoid of allegiances to regional styles (Kansas City, South Carolina, etc.).

Directly across from a Macy’s entrance, Smokeyard is an indoor-outdoor restaurant with soaring ceilings, a decor of wood and glass, and friendly servers who help you navigate the rather long menu (one sagely suggested ordering extra barbecue sauce with the excellent pulled pork piled in a brioche bun).

Portions are large, so be careful about over-ordering starters like carpaccio of cold-smoked New York strip and fatty-but-tasty skewers of smoked bacon. Spice-rubbed smoked meats are tender, and the sampler of chicken, tri-tip and a trio of savory St. Louis-style spareribs concludes in contentment. There are many sides, as well as a small selection of steaks, chops and seafood, but remember: You will share the ultra-rich butterscotch pudding before re-entering the glittering byways outside.

Smokeyard BBQ & Chop Shop
4313 La Jolla Village Drive, 2265
San Diego, CA — 92122
858 630 RIBS (7427)


Categories: Lifestyles, Neighborhood Guide