2865 SE Division Street
They’re back! Clay’s Smokehouse has returned to Division Street in a new location across the street but with the same delicious barbecue and sides, and an even stronger neighborhood partnership. Locals Matt Hurley and Mike Bender joined forces with Cathy and Michael Slyman to form the quartet that brought this venerable eatery back to the neighborhood.
Matt Hurley has always been a fan of Clay’s. It was his go-to place in the neighborhood to eat a meal a couple of times a week or hang out in the off hours to visit and work. It was here that he and the Slyman’s friendship developed. Cathy and Michael were originally scheduled to reopen Clay’s on King Rd. last year, but building problems put the plan on hold.
Matt, whose day job is in real estate construction, developed the 3564 SE Division location into a neighborhood pub, The Loon, for awhile. When the opportunity came about to reopen Clay’s here, it was too good of an idea to pass up. Partnering with restaurateur Mike Bender, owner of the EastBurn Public House, made for a strong union of people to share the responsibility of owning a restaurant.
“Michael still does all the smoking of the meat, seafood and vegetables onsite using the same smoker, the same chips and the same meats as before,” Matt said.
This slow process preserves the protein content and adds a distinct flavor. After it is smoked, they simmer it in barbecue sauce, depending on the order. Clay’s still serves Grandma Jean’s* pies and baked beans. They’ve added a few new items to the menu like a spinach salad, french fries and catfish fritters. “The fries have been a big hit with kids along with the Mac N’Cheese,” Matt said.
In keeping with the times, Clay’s now features a full service bar. Bartenders make all the usual cocktails along with specials they have created. The Killer Bee Old Fashioned is a mixture of George Dickel #8, chamomile honey syrup, lavender bitters and a lemon twist over ice. Another fascinating sounding drink is the Tumbleweed, yuzu luxe sour puree, sauza tequila, ancho reyes del amquey mezcal, lime soda spritz. In addition, there are six beers on tap, Atlas Cider, Anchor Steamer and wine served by the glass, bottle or to go.
The new Clay’s Smokehouse has managed to keep the same comfortable, interesting dining decor and seating arrangement with the addition of a bar. A large screen television plays old black and white movies if you need entertainment while eating. Happy hour is daily from 3 – 5 pm with $1 off food and drink. All menu items are available to go and they offer a special catering menu.