In October 1946 the Smoke House in Burbank opened for business, which means this month they are celebrating 70 years! After living in Los Angeles for 15 years and wanting to try their famous garlic cheese bread, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit this popular restaurant. And the fact that the Smoke House is offering special anniversary deals this month sweetened the deal. So with reservations on Open Table, Matt and I set out for our monthly date night with his mom and step-father, Lynne and Howard.
The Smoke House opened in 1946 but moved to its present day location three years later, just outside the Warner Bros. studio property. Since then the Smoke House has become a favorite restaurant and hangout for local families, visitors, movie stars and studio workers. In fact the restaurant’s slogan is “Where every diner is treated like a star.” I saw a video clip in which Director Garry Marshall talked about how both he and George Clooney used to retreat to the Smoke House after a long work day at Warner Bros. studios. Garry Marshall said George Clooney sat in a darkened corner because he had a different date every evening, while Garry Marshall ate in the lighter portion of the restaurant because he was hungry! George Clooney went on to name his production company Smoke House Productions because of how much time he spent there during his ER days.
The restaurant is huge, increasing from 6,000 to 18,000 feet, and seems to have several cavernous rooms. I’m sure I didn’t even find them all. But yet the Smoke House in Burbank feels very intimate and cozy. The red leather tufted banquet seats and the dim lighting helps with the ambiance. And the service is stellar. Our server Allen brought Matt a “turkey knife” after I received a “steak knife” for my prime rib. It was a funny little touch that we all appreciated.
So the usual steakhouse fare is on the menu including BBQ specialties, steaks including prime rib, chicken pot pie, surf and turf, pastas, salads, soups and more. But it seems everyone knows to start off with an order of garlic cheese bread. We got a half order (8 pieces) but easily could have eaten a full order. The Smoke House anniversary specials included $19.46 pricing (get it, for the founding year of 1946) for Smoke House classics, which included the prime rib! All the classic dishes came with soup or salad, fresh vegetables and a side dish. Of course I had to order mashed potatoes as my side. For those not ordering a Smoke House classic, you’ll pay only 70% of your dinner tab. Oh and let’s not forget the $7.00 bottles of house Chardonnay or Cabernet with your meal.
Each of us got somethin a little different. In addition to my prime rib, Matt enjoyed the turkey dinner and Lynne & Howard shared a BBQ platter of chicken and baby back ribs. They gave special shout out to the baked beans and oversized onion ring. When the dessert platter came around, we couldn’t resist and had a hard time deciding. I opted for an ice cream sundae and we also got a slice of cheesecake for the table to share. It was among some of the best cheesecake I’ve had in Los Angeles. Since our dinner, I’ve heard on good authority that the Boston Cream Pie is not to be missed
I wandered through the darkened dining rooms taking pictures and just soaking in the ambiance, wondering which movie stars may have dined in which booths. I found this awesome painting of the four Warner Brothers, among the various headshots of movie stars. It was like a walk through memory lane. It made me nostalgic for the days of Hollywood when the stars and studio heads could dine with the regulars, and just enjoy a good meal among friends. It is gratifying that the Smoke House in Burbank is still going strong at 70 years. May they and their famous garlic cheese bread see many more years. Oh by the way, the Smoke House is now shipping their famous bread for any of you around the US who can’t make it to Burbank to celebrate in person. Happy Anniversary Smoke House!
By Trish Procetto