Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: Holy Smokes! An American Bar and Grill in Palm Beach Gardens Takes Shorty’s Place

October 15th, 2010 · 4 Comments

It’s the same owner, but a totally different restaurant at Holy Smokes! – a casual American on PGA Boulevard in the Marshall’s Plaza where Shorty’s BBQ was.

“We wanted to do something different,” owner Solomon Kedmi says. “It’s great for families and for late-night crowds – we’re very busy with the after-hours people in the (restaurant) business, and other people looking for a nice place to go for drinks and a bite after work.”

The interior has drastically changed from the former barbecue spot where Shorty’s, a Miami-based barbecue chain, served pulled pork and chicken. “I wanted to put in a full bar, and Shorty’s owners didn’t want that, so I broke off the relationship,” Kedmi said, explaining the switch.

BBQ remains on menu

Still on the menu, however, is pulled pork – this time, in a taco with cole slaw. “People are loving this,” he said. “Pulled pork was a favorite, and we still have the smokers, so we’re still doing barbecued pork – just this time, on a taco. It’s a perfect small plate food.”

The fried pickles that a local newspaper deemed best appetizer in the county also remain. “We couldn’t get rid of those – the diners go crazy for them.” The breaded dill pickle spears have an addictive quality, but because of the oddity,  “you have to taste them to get it,” Kedmi said.

Pizzas, made by a pizza maker who’s done this for 30 years at Portofino’s – the Singer Island restaurant Kedmi also owned – are here now. “People have followed me from Portofino’s and wanted the pizza since we closed down – so I put in pizza ovens here and brought the workers.

The inside-out bar is most popular, he said, with late-night crowds who come for $1 domestic beers. The lounge area outside is like a patio with comfy sofa-like seating and the extended bar.

The name, incidentally, is a suggestion from his daughter who won a trip to Paris, courtesy of dad, for suggesting it. “I had offered $500 to my employees to suggest a good name, but hers was the best. Holy Smokes it is – and so I took her to Paris.”

Holy Smokes!

2650 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens

(561) 624-7427

Open daily for lunch and dinner, and late night.

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Backyardavore // Oct 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I really enjoyed the food at Shorty’s but refused to go there anymore after I was treated horribly by a specific assistant manager on a number of occasions. A real bummer, too, because I love me some good BBQ. (Keller’s in Orlando if you get a chance.)

    In any case, I tried Holy Smokes! at the recommendation of this web site.

    The food was very good and even more interesting. I’m not sure exactly theme the restaurant is going for but I’m intrigued by the entire menu.

    The manager and owner stopped by my table to chat and were very friendly. The wait staff was nice, too.

    I’m not hooked on the indoor/outdoor bar. We were initially sat at a table near the opening and suffered cigarette smoke blowing in until we were able to get moved to another able. I do like that they upgraded to a full liquor license.

    The restaurant is a little more upscale than I would like as I have a squirmy six-year-old to entertain. The old place had a much more casual feel. On the plus side, even with the upscale touches, the prices were still reasonable.

    I look forward to eating at this restaurant again. There are so many interesting items I’d like to try.


  • 2 Nicole // Nov 1, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Holy Smoke’s has the best pizza in town!!!
    We also tried their Chicago Burger-DELICOUS!
    Gorgeous outdoor bar, really my style, because it accomodates my terrible smoking habits.
    Their staff is very good too.

  • 3 KittyKatz // Mar 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    If you want good bar service, don’t bother. They will walk right by several time with an empty glass sitting right in front of you or ignore you when you arrive. One night there was 4 or 5 people inside and 2 outside. Sat at the outside bar and Kat ignored us completely. Came close to us twice, even looked our way but never acknowledged us. Left from behind the bar and it was unattended for 5-8 minutes. When she came back, went right back to the people sitting inside and waited on them AGAIN, then procdeeded to socialize with them for another 2-3 minutes. We finally walked out. It is not just her either, there was only one bartender, Scotty, that gave true service to his customers, kudos to him for being as good as he is in such a terrible situation. The owner is a mean man and I would never work at a place where I would be treated so badly. Loved the food but will never go back again. Very sad situaton, could have been an excellent place to frequent but has been completly ruined for me.

  • 4 m // Sep 18, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Holy Smoke’s is now under new management with a whole new staff. The same great menu is still available just with the staffing to match the unbeatable food quality and pricing. If you have never come by try us out. If you have come by and unfortunately not had an enjoyable experience maybe it is time for another shot. We have worked very hard to correct all the kinks that come with opening a restaurant. We sincerely hope to see you all soon.

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