Russell's Smoke House, Frank Bonanno's newest restaurant, opens tonight in Larimer Square

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Lori Midson
"Is the food good?" That's what the guy who was hanging the signage for Russell's Smoke House, Frank Bonanno's new restaurant in Larimer Square, wanted to know earlier today.

He, along with everyone else who's been anticipating the opening of the smoke house, can find out tonight, when Russell's, located just to the right of the inside entryway of Wednesday's Pie, Bonanno's diminutive pie hideout, and just before the swinging doors that lead to Green Russell, Bonanno's speakeasy, unlocks its doors at 6 p.m.

"We got the go-ahead to open just after noon today, and we're having a super-soft opening tonight" says Bonanno, who was in the kitchen smoking ribs and prime rib when I stopped by earlier today. "We're exhausted, but I'm really psyched about opening and how the food is looking," he adds, noting that the staff held practice runs three weeks ago, when the smoke house was originally slated to open. "Everything," he says, "looks great."

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Lori Midson
The smokehouse, which is Bonanno's fourth venture on Larimer Square, and the eighth restaurant in his ever-growing empire, bends toward "Colorado old-school cooking -- almost chuck-wagon-style," says Bonanno, who's smoking his meats in the basement, using two state-of-the-art Southern Pride smokers, fueled by hickory wood. "It's the most expensive kitchen equipment we've ever bought, but these are perfect, and they made perfect sense for us, since we obviously can't have a pit," explains Bonanno.

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Lori Midson
Bonanno is cooking alongside chefs Matt Lewis, the former sous chef at Row 14 and Taylor Drew, who's been with Bonanno, most recently at Mizuna, for the past three years. Their menu -- pork and beef ribs, fried chicken, blackened catfish, prime rib, wild Alaskan salmon, lobster rolls, brisket and a slew of sides, including macaroni and cheese, collard greens with bacon and spoon bread -- is bolstered by pie (naturally), several cocktails, tap and bottled beers (most of them craft beers) and wines on tap and by the bottle.

The smoke house's hours are nightly from 6 p.m. until close -- or, says Bonanno, until the food runs out.

For more info, call 720-524-8050.

Location Info

Russell's Smokehouse

1422 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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21 comments
Molly
Molly

Awesome ribs.  And I haven't had salmon that good since I was in Alaska last summer.  This place is going on my top 10 favorite restaurant list.  And the service was outstanding!!!  Love Larimer Square in general . . .

Chloe Weber
Chloe Weber

This place is amazing. Perhaps Frank has lost focus somewhat with his massive expansion to his empire, but the man is good at what he does and knows how to pick great staff members to bring his ideas to life. While I admit that lou's could use a bit more tweaking, this place hits the nail on the head. Every bite of my meal (and my families meals) were brilliant. Four hours later I am still full and salivating over my bacon wrapped trout, the pigs in a blanket (pork belly), my fathers keilbasa and mothers smoked chicken (the rub was perfect). I highly recommend this place, though I almost don't wait to... Keep hating if you want - even on a tight budget this place is worth a return visit from me!

Philo99
Philo99

Gourmet BBQ? Paula Dean called and she wants her schtick back, she though she left it in 1997, but apparantly Frank Bonanno stole it.

After a disappointing visit to Lou's on 38th I'm giving up on Franks places until he gets back his focus.

Patrick McCreary
Patrick McCreary

The food looks great! Denver is filled with BBQ joints serving Q that was smoked then frozen then reheated re-chilled then nuked and served.  Hopefully Frank can keep it fresh off the smoker. If so, It will not take much for him to rise to the top for BBQ in this town.  , 

LP8
LP8

This food is A-MAZ-ING! Frank B. elevates BBQ to a whole new level. We ordered ribs, brisket, pulled pork and each was mouthwatering, even before we tried any of the his three homemade sauces (vinegar, spicy and sweet) with it. Hell, even the Kielbasa that we ordered seemed special! The meats are super moist and tasty from his complicated slow-cooked methods. The sides give the meats a run for their money for attention - bacon collard greens, goat cheese creamed spinach and the best mac and cheese I've had in a long time. I'm really not a BBQ fan normally, and there are other things on the menu besides the smoked meats, but I'm already anticipating my next meal there, and I have a feeling that it's gonna take a few visits before I move to the other entrees because I am Jones-ing for more smoked brisket! We had caramel apple pie and Oreo pie for dessert. They're made with almond flour, so they are yummy and a great little surprise ending. The waitstaff was super nice - friendly and knowledgeable, there when you needed them, unintrusive when you didn't.  Space is warm, comfortable, unassuming, but interesting. You are immediately sucked into the ambiance because the air is filled with a homey roast-in-the-oven vibe, rather than the traditional sharp BBQ sauce smell. 

Nono
Nono

Good for him maximizing on the trend that Steubens has created... Time to stop taking other peoples ideas and starting creating your own... But, hey if it sells and makes a buck why not?

Jessehall
Jessehall

Now serving over priced hipster bbq. Take me to m&ds

GFTW
GFTW

BTW, WestWord has been sorely lacking lately in coverage of the TAG scandal!! What's up????

GFTW
GFTW

Have to rename Larimer Square to Bonanno Square pretty soon. Or Bonanno-Jasinski Square. Jesus H.

Foodiechick
Foodiechick

Uggggggggggggggggggggggggggg! Over that guy Fo Shoo!

Righteous John!!!!
Righteous John!!!!

Focus on your out-of-date view of the food world. Paula Dean is as gross as her love for butter. How about you make an educated observation by trying the food at a place that is not Lou's...... Or just keep your comments to yourself..... Does listening to yourself help you feel like a bigger person?????????

Jessehall
Jessehall

This is so obviously written by someone who works there or is a friend of Frank's. What do you take the readers on this blog for? Keep it on yelp. 

Weege
Weege

Slow cooking is not complicated. Fixed that for you. Hope your bonus check is paid in full before it bounces.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Given the depth and breadth of the Human Pantheon ... what "original" ideas have you created ?

LP8
LP8

Wow. Haters. I live in NYC and was visiting. I know a thing or two about good restaurants and food....but thanks for the back-handed compliment about my writing style. BTW, is this blog only for haters? 

GFTW
GFTW

You like monopolies?

GFTW
GFTW

You must looooooove Microsoft!

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