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She wanted a donut shop. He wanted a BBQ joint.
And, so was born Smoke & Donuts, the pop-up restaurant turned food truck and now turning brick-and-mortar that is owned by Ian and Juliana Russell. They plan to open their first sans-wheels location at 601 North Primrose Drive in the spring of 2022.
The award-winning — including “Favorite Food Truck,” “One of Orlando’s 10 Best BBQ Establishments” and “Best Place to Score a Donut in Orlando” — Smoke & Donuts food truck, which is equipped with a full BBQ catering kitchen, gained popularity roaming around Central Florida before setting up semi-permanent residence at À La Cart in 2020.
The new brick-and-mortar location (in the old Kernel Encore popcorn shop) will offer lunch and dinner for dine-in, take-out and third-party delivery. They also offer catering.
Russell is a chef who graduated with high honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has 20 years in the restaurant business.
The menu, which combines the best smoking techniques and seasonings from the country’s top BBQ regions, includes the “1,121 Road Trip,” a brisket and pulled pork sandwich inspired by a motorcycle trip Russell took after high school to sample BBQ spots in places known for their BBQ — Texas, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Smoke & Donuts features smoked brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, brown-butter turkey breast, and Bama/Carolina pulled chicken — as platters and sandwiches with a variety of scratch-made sides.
And then there are the donuts — made-to-order in your choice of flavor combinations, like their own fan-favorite, the Lou Donut that has Maker’s Mark bourbon-maple glaze topped with Heath bar crumbles, Hershey’s chocolate chips and burnt brisket ends.