Roadside Geneva Smokehouse

Don’t you love it when an unexpected stop becomes a great find? We were on our way home from a weekend trip, and needed some fuel. On the corner of the street was a large fifth-wheel converted into a roadside BBQ diner (not the kind that makes you want to step on the gas and get away, the kind that looks beckoning; like a moth to a flame.) As we walked up two guys were heavily engaged into their pulled pork sandwiches. “How is it?” I asked. “The best pulled pork I’ve ever eaten” one man replied. That’s a good sign!


It turns out that this little roadside treasure has a sister restaurant, Geneva Artisan Bakery & Bistro in West Branch, MI. The chef, Matthew Barnett, of this food truck preps during the week for the weekend crowd at this secondary location. And if it’s a hit, it might become permanent, something I bet the locals would appreciate!


The Geneva Smokehouse has a great menu including artisan meats and homemade breads. I opted for the pulled pork nacho, a specialty item chef Barnett created the week before. The pork was flavorful and tender, accompanied with grilled onions, red and green peppers, queso cheese and fresh cilantro on top of homemade pork rinds. (An Atkins, aka low carb dream, right?) It was decadent and loaded with flavor. It had all of the traditional barbecue essence you look for with an updated fresh herb zing. Owen ordered the pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw. The sandwich was outstanding. The homemade bread really set off the smoky barbecue flavor of the pulled pork. The coleslaw was cool and refreshing. It had a fresh dill twist that was new to me and surprisingly pleasant.


These are the kind of unexpected surprises that make you want to keep taking road trips and trying new places to eat. The Geneva Smokehouse can be found just south of Grayling at exit 251 where 127 meets I75. If you’re traveling through the area and want some good grub, it’s worth the stop. If you enjoy good barbecue and road trips, you should definitely add it to your list.


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