In major markets around the country, the upscaling of barbeque is emerging as an urban phenomenon that has yet to be seen in San Diego, until now. Enter veteran restaurateurs, Guy and Alon Ravid—brothers and co-owners of Smokeyard BBQ & Chop Shop. South African transplants who’ve made their way to the United States by way of Boston and San Diego, the brothers spent their formative years on separate coasts before finding parallel career paths within Los Angeles’ fast-paced hospitality industry. After opening more than a dozen notable restaurants and nightclubs with Choice Hospitality Group (the former IVAR, Nacional, Tengu, NINETHIRTY), Guy and Alon found solace in the emerging ski town of Mammoth Mountain, and in 2009, they debuted their flagship location in the heart of the village. Having acquired a cult following for their unique take on barbeque, the brothers are thrilled to expand on Smokeyard’s success in bringing a new 4,500 square-foot outpost to their hometown of San Diego.
Tapping the local talents of Executive Chef Matt Sramek, Smokeyard BBQ & Chop Shop makes its debut as a neighborhood anchor of Westfield UTC’s multi-million dollar remodel. A classically trained chef with a pedigree marked by time spent at Thomas Keller’s former Bouchon Beverly Hills as well as five-star properties, The Fairmont Grand Del Mar and Hotel Bel-Air, Chef Sramek rejects the mimicry common in other barbecue hot spots. His arsenal includes techniques like smoking, brining, flash-frying and sous-vide in his experimentation with a variet∆Smokeyard’s ardent dedication to quality translates to a menu comprised of only the highest-grade selections of beef and all-natural, hormone-free pork. Meats are spice-rubbed and smoked in-house anywhere from three to twelve hours using oak, hickory or apple woods to impart a distinct flavor. Taking pride in their barbeque sauces, three housemade selections include Smokeyard BBQ, sweet chili and mango-habanero and are intentionally served on the side to allow the quality of the protein and its preparation to shine through.
The concept is equal parts barbeque haven meets full-service chophouse, with seared pork chops, a bone-in rib-eye, filet mignon and a grilled New York strip all hand selected and offered alongside a selection of seaworthy specialties. Creative side dishes include green bean fries, charred cauliflower and smoked bacon skewers. Meanwhile, the Ravids’ cultural influences are notable throughout the menu with nostalgic nods to the brothers’ upbringing: the Safta’s Chicken Soup is their Jewish grandmother’s recipe, and the smoked chicken wings are tossed in a spicy Peri-Peri sauce, an African marinade of chilies, onions, peppers, garlic and lemon. Smokeyard also offers a kids menu, catering, and to-go options.
DESIGN | Smokeyard co-owners Guy and Alon Ravid worked with internationally renowned Los Angeles design agency Tag Front (Anaheim Packing House, Wolfgang Puck, BOA Steakhouse) to custom-build their modern smoke house. Passersby will notice the industrial steel patio wall studded with succulent planters that complement spring-green outdoor dining chairs. Floor-to-ceiling windows run the length of the two exterior walls and double as sliding doors, allowing the patio to flow seamlessly into the bar and main dining area, which has capacity for 70 patrons. Mixing industrial design with comfort and functionality, the airy interior boasts steel beams, warm terracotta tile walls, modern pendant lighting, and a ceiling full of lamps the shape of oversized cowbells alongside hanging butcher hooks. The piece de resistance, to be installed in May, is an abstract sculpture of a bull welded from flat rebar by notable Los Angeles-based artist, Alberto Bevacqua.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Open for Lunch + Dinner Daily at 11:30 am
Daily | 3 to 6 p.m.
$2 off draught beers and specialty cocktails, $6 select wines, plus a selection of appetizers and small plates starting at $3, including a pulled pork taco, rock shrimp, tri-tip skewers and more.
4313 La Jolla Village Drive #2265, San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 630-RIBS (7427) | www.smokeyard.com
ABOUT EXECUTIVE CHEF MATT SRAMEK:
A Southern California native and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts (Pasadena, CA), Executive Chef Matt Sramek has spent the last decade honing his craft alongside many of SoCal’s most revered culinary icons including Thomas Keller (Bouchon), Camron Woods (The Grand Del Mar), and Douglas Dodd (Hotel Bel-Air). Following an initial two-year stint with Los Angeles’ former Saffron restaurant group, his budding culinary expertise would launch him into a whirlwind adventure in the fine dining industry.
In 2005, Matt made a move to one of Los Angeles’s most iconic 5-star luxury properties, Hotel Bel-Air. As a Junior Sous Chef at the age of 21, Matt trained alongside notable culinary figures including Bruno Lopez (The Ritz-Carlton) and Douglas Dodd (The Arrabelle at Vail Square, Montage at Beverly Hills). During his two-year tenure, he helped to execute the hotel’s high-end banquets and, most notably, had an opportunity to become involved in culinary competitions on a global scale. In 2008, he was honored with an invitation to represent the United States in the Trophée Passion competition, organized by l’Académie Culinaire de France in Paris, where he took home fourth place among an international collection of chefs.
In 2009, with the debut of world renowned chef Thomas Keller’s former Bouchon Beverly Hills, Matt jumped at the opportunity to join the opening team as Chef de Partie, where he helped to manage a team of cooks and oversaw menu preparation. Well-versed in Los Angeles’ fine dining landscape, Sramek saw the following year as an ideal opportunity to springboard into luxury hotels, and in 2010 he moved to San Diego to climb the culinary ranks within the 5-star, AAA Five Diamond Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Rising from Sous Chef to Chef de Cuisine at Amaya, the property’s Italian-inspired bistro, he led all aspects of fine dining and kitchen management until his departure in 2015. Soon afterward Matt helped to open The Lot, a hybrid luxury theater and restaurant concept, as Executive Chef for both the La Jolla and Liberty Station locations. Responsible for all facets of menu development, Matt curated lavish culinary experiences with offerings ranging from Asian-inspired rice bowls to intricate charcuterie boards.
In September 2017, Matt was tapped by industry veterans, brothers Guy and Alon Ravid, to lead the Southern California expansion of their Mammoth Mountain-based Smokeyard BBQ & Chop Shop. As Executive Chef of Smokeyard, Matt has quickly become an inspiring culinary force within San Diego’s evolving La Jolla/UTC community. Bringing his passion for fresh, clean flavors to the steakhouse menu, Matt believes the best cuisine can only be crafted with the highest quality of ingredients, and finds pride in offering guests a menu featuring locally-sourced produce, hormone-free proteins and made-in-house accouterments.