Mike Baran of Parky’s Smokehouse Dishes on Five-Plus Years of Delicious Ownership
Writer / Renee Larr
Photographer / Krystal Dailey
Parky’s Smokehouse has been attracting visitors with the scent of smoked meats and barbecue for the last 17 years. The locally owned business keeps guests coming back for more of their American-style menu, with a focus on barbecue in a relaxed environment. Melanie and Mike Baran have owned the restaurant since 2018.
“We purchased Parky’s because we like the concept, people and the food,” Mike Baran says. “We were looking to create a microbrew and barbecue chain concept, but COVID came in and slowed down this plan.”
Baran says Parky’s offers a wide variety of homemade sauces, rubs, dressings, sides and desserts. Parky’s award-winning Barbecue Chili is a unique spin on a classic, combining homemade barbecue chili with pulled pork. The chili took home the title at the Trinity Lutheran Church Chili Cook Off in 2005 and 2010. Another unique menu item is the Colorful Corn and Black Bean Salsa. Baran says guests can purchase this by the pint and quart. The Dippers and Beer Cheese is also popular, with bite-sized, fried potato scoops, creamy cheddar cheese, spices, and an American amber ale.
For those who aren’t fans of barbecue, Parky’s also offers signature steaks from a single-source supplier out of Greeley, Colorado. This provides consistency in quality and flavor. Additional steak enhancements include coffee crusted, cajun style, garlic butter or bourbon glazed. Baran says he knows not everyone is a meat eater, so the menu has several vegetarian options including a veggie quesadilla and Impossible burger.
Parky’s has four homemade barbecue sauces for guests to choose from to complement their meal – Spicy Chipotle, Honey Apple, Bourbon Sauce and Sweet Sauce. Baran says the honey apple is a Parky’s original concept. The Sugar Cream Pie was voted Best Sugar Cream Pie in Indy by the Indy A-List. The Comfort Bread Pudding With Praline Sauce will make guests want to share the love.
Baran says every meat is smoked in-house, including pulled pork, sliced brisket, pulled chicken, pork butt, baby back ribs or smoked turkey breast. Baran says the time it takes to smoke the meats results in a delicious meal for the guests. One unique spin on barbecue is the Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwich, which includes pineapple, provolone and hardwood smoked bacon on pulled pork, finished with Parky’s Sweet Sauce.
Parky’s also offers catering, delivery and private events. The catering menu includes smoked meats, wings, salads, drinks, breads, desserts and sides, including Barbecue Baked Beans, Creamy Coleslaw, Barbecue Chips, Smokehouse Potato Salad and more.
“We do have a patio out back for guests to enjoy,” Baran says. “We also offer semiprivate dining for corporate events, rehearsal dinners and large parties. With catering, guests can either have the food delivered or pick it up.”
During the shutdown of 2020, Baran decided to scale back hours and invest in virtual kitchens. A virtual kitchen is a food delivery or pickup service, and is a separate food vendor operating out of an existing kitchen. Baran created The Smoked Wing House.
“We sell smoked wings with nine different rubs and sauces including Buffalo, Honey Garlic, Bourbon, Honey Apple, Spicy Chipotle, Sweet, Mango Habanero, Gary’s Sweet Rub, and Six Pepper Dry Rub,” he says. “It’s all made from our kitchen, but is another added business venture.”
While Parky’s needed to scale back on hours due to staffing issues, the restaurant is open for select holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, providing a special menu.
Parky’s offers its most loyal fans a VIP rewards program where guests earn one point for every $1 they spend, and receive a $10 discount for every 200 points they redeem while dining in the restaurant.
Parky’s is located at 2479 North Lebanon Street in Lebanon. For more information, call 765-482-1646 or visit parkyssmokehouse.com.